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The 40 man trumps all


So...what is the 40 man situation right now?

Here is the 40 man roster:

40-Man Roster
  Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB  
  53 Joaquin Benoit R/R 6-3 220 07/26/77
  * 61 Thomas Diamond R/R 6-3 230 04/06/83
  39 Scott Feldman L/R 6-5 210 02/07/83
  50 Frank Francisco R/R 6-3 230 09/11/79
  ** 13 Kason Gabbard L/L 6-3 200 04/08/82   60-day Disabled List
  54 Matt Harrison L/L 6-4 225 09/16/85
  * 35 Tommy Hunter R/R 6-3 255 07/03/86
  * 37 Eric Hurley R/R 6-4 195 09/17/85   15-day Disabled List
  ** 31 Jason Jennings L/R 6-2 235 07/17/78   60-day Disabled List
  * 58 Wes Littleton R/R 6-3 200 09/02/82
  43 Kameron Loe R/R 6-7 240 09/10/81
  60 Warner Madrigal R/R 6-0 200 03/21/84
  * 49 Doug Mathis R/R 6-3 220 06/07/83   15-day Disabled List
  20 Brandon McCarthy R/R 6-7 205 07/07/83
  46 Luis Mendoza R/R 6-3 210 10/31/83
  33 Kevin Millwood R/R 6-4 230 12/24/74
  ** 47 A.J. Murray S/L 6-3 220 03/17/82   60-day Disabled List
  57 Dustin Nippert R/R 6-8 225 05/06/81
  * 44 Vicente Padilla R/R 6-2 220 09/27/77   15-day Disabled List
  ** 48 John Rheinecker L/L 6-2 220 05/29/79   60-day Disabled List
  59 Josh Rupe R/R 6-2 210 08/18/82
  56 Bill White L/L 6-3 225 11/20/78
  * 36 C.J. Wilson L/L 6-1 210 11/18/80   15-day Disabled List
  45 Jamey Wright R/R 6-5 230 12/24/74
  Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB  
  15 Gerald Laird R/R 6-1 225 11/13/79
  * 51 Max Ramirez R/R 5-11 175 10/11/84
  25 Jarrod Saltalamacchia S/R 6-4 235 05/02/85
  2 Taylor Teagarden R/R 6-1 200 12/21/83
  Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB  
  4 Joaquin Arias R/R 6-1 165 09/21/84
  9 Hank Blalock L/R 6-1 200 11/21/80
  27 Frank Catalanotto L/R 6-0 205 04/27/74
  19 Chris Davis L/R 6-4 235 03/17/86
  6 German Duran R/R 5-10 185 08/03/84
  * 5 Ian Kinsler R/R 6-0 200 06/22/82   15-day Disabled List
  * 30 Travis Metcalf R/R 6-3 215 08/17/82
  12 Ramon Vazquez L/R 5-11 195 08/21/76
  10 Michael Young R/R 6-1 200 10/19/76
  Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB  
  41 Brandon Boggs S/R 5-11 205 01/09/83
  * 6 Julio Borbon L/L 6-1 180 02/20/86
  22 Marlon Byrd R/R 6-0 245 08/30/77
  17 Nelson Cruz R/R 6-3 230 07/01/80
  32 Josh Hamilton L/L 6-4 235 05/21/81
  * 7 David Murphy L/L 6-4 205 10/18/81   15-day Disabled List
  Designated Hitters B/T Ht Wt DOB  
  21 Milton Bradley S/R 6-0 225 04/15/78
  * Not on Active Roster
** Not on 40-Man Roster

That is 44 players.  Two players are pretty much locks to be added to the 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft -- Jose Vallejo and John Mayberry, Jr.  Michael Schlact and Omar Poveda are possible additions, but I think they are unlikely.

Now, of the guys on the 40 man roster right now, 4 players -- Jason Jennings, Milton Bradley, Ramon Vazquez, and Jamey Wright -- will be free agents after the season.  Those 4 becoming free agents gets the roster down to exactly 40, and the Rangers have until November 20 to add Vallejo and Mayberry to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, so the roster may well just sit at 40 for the time being.

You also have to figure Bill White will end up being dropped, though, and at this point, I'd guess it is more likely than not that Hank Blalock has his option declined, making him a free agent.  So those two moves would get the roster back to an even 40 once Vallejo and Mayberry are removed.

Still, you have to imagine the Rangers are likely to add at least a couple of guys as free agents after the season, and while some players are good bets to be dealt this winter -- I can't imagine that the Rangers are going to go into the winter with all four of the catchers currently on the 40 man, for example -- you also have some guys who seem likely to be 40 man casualties this offseason.

One can only hope none of these decisions turn out as badly as the Armando Galarraga decision has turned out thusfar.

Something to keep in mind is that Scott Feldman, Dustin Nippert, Kam Loe, and Wes Littleton are all (I'm pretty sure) out of options.  Loe and Littleton have never been outrighted before, so there's the possibility the Rangers pull a Tejeda with them and just try to sneak them through waivers at the end of spring training if they don't make the 25 man roster, but I think there's a decent possibility that the Rangers may opt to move one of those guys this winter, either as a throw-in in a deal involving one of the catchers or some other move designed to bring a starting pitcher in, or in a minor deal to bring a non-40-man-roster prospect to Texas.

Nippert, though, if he doesn't make the 25 man roster out of spring training, can opt for free agency if he isn't claimed, and Feldman would be a slam-dunk to be claimed, so with both of those guys, you have to figure you aren't going to keep them around all winter occupying space on the 40 man if you aren't committed to having them on the team on Opening Day.  Feldman seems a near-lock to be in the rotation, of course, but the situation with Nippert is dicier.

A couple of other guys who are currently occupying 40 man slots, but who are candidates to get flipped, are Nelson Cruz and Joaquin Arias.  As I mentioned yesterday, I get the sense that Cruz is a guy the Rangers are showcasing and just want to get what they can from him via trade, rather than go into 2009 with him as their regular right fielder.  That could be wrong, of course, but Cruz is, like Nippert, out of options and can be a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment.  And you figure the outfield situation is going to be clearer than the pitching situation, so if the Rangers aren't going to make Cruz a starter next year, they'll probably just try to get what they can for him.

Arias's situation is complicated by his bum shoulder.  If he were throwing like the Arias of old, I'd say that he has a good chance of being at least the utility man next year for the Rangers, and quite possibly the starting shortstop.  But if he can't throw -- and right now, Ron Washington says his arm is sub-par for a second baseman -- he becomes a guy with only one position, second base.  The Rangers have German Duran and Vallejo as better second base prospects, not to mention a certain MVP candidate at the major league level, so if the feeling is that his arm isn't going to come back, he's another guy that Jon Daniels will probably look to just move and move on from.

Among the veterans hanging around, Frank Catalanotto and Marlon Byrd probably are both candidates to get dealt, although if Bradley doesn't stay, Cat could end up sticking around as insurance in the DH slot for Max Ramirez or whomever ends up in the DH spot for 2009.  If Cruz does stay, Byrd seems destined to be dealt, as you don't need Byrd, Cruz, David Murphy, and Brandon Boggs all hanging around (particularly with Julio Borbon on the fast track).

You've also got a couple of lefty pitchers I could see the Rangers trying to run through waivers in John Rheinecker and A.J. Murray.  The Rangers like both, but they both missed virtually all this season with injuries, and Murray has a very spotty injury history anyway.  And Rheinecker is, I believe, out of options, so he's another guy, like Nippert, Loe and Littleton, who has to stick next spring or be let go, which would definitely make him more likely to end up on the waiver wire.

So there you go.  The situation is very fluid, of course, given that the Rangers are likely to be active on the trade market this offseason, and the 40 man situation is going to be impacted on who might be moved and who might come back, and the possibility of Blalock being retained or Schlact and/or Povedo getting added to the roster could alter the dynamic as well. 

But this is, I think, at least a decent snapshot of where things stand.