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The final roster taking shape

Okay, so today we've learned that Scott Feldman and Kam Loe will make the team in the bullpen, Jamey Wright will start the year at Frisco but will be added to the 40 man roster for his April 10 start, and Rick Bauer is getting released.

That leaves three roster spots on the 25 man Opening Day roster unaccounted for -- backup catcher, last man on the bench, and whomever will get sent down to make room for Wright.

Backup catcher is apparently down to Miguel Ojeda and Chris Stewart, while the last man on the bench job looks like it will go to Matt Kata.

The interesting question, though, is who will get the roster spot that would otherwise be filled by Wright.

The indications are that either Mike Wood or Bruce Chen will make the 25 man roster. Chen has to be on the 40 man roster by April 1 or else he can elect to become a free agent, which makes him the prime candidate for that slot, since it buys a few extra days for the Rangers to try to deal him. Wood, on the other hand, doesn't have any such opt-out, and thus can be sent to the minors now without any risk of losing him.

However, if Wood -- who has had a great camp, and obviously impressed someone in the organization enough in the first place to get claimed on waivers -- gets added to the 25 man roster, he'll have to clear waivers to get sent back down. Thus, adding Wood for the week or so before Wright will be called come could result in the Rangers losing him from the organization altogether, just so they can have an extra arm in the pen (at a time when the pen should be awfully fresh anyway).

There are a couple of other possibilities which would seem to be viable, besides Wood and Chen. One would be to keep Ezequiel Astacio on the 25 man roster...he's out of options, and is already on the 40 man roster, so whether he's sent out now or on April 10, he's got to clear waivers to go to the minors. The Rangers may feel they have a better chance of getting him through if they wait until after the first week of the season.

The other possibility would be to keep Marlon Byrd or Jason Botts on the roster for the first week, giving them a viable bat off the bench for pinch hitting purposes. Once Wright is ready to be recalled, Botts could be optioned, or Byrd run through waivers.