Texas Rangers transactions: The Rangers have dropped seven players from their 40 man roster today, according to John Blake on Twitter.
Outfielder Engel Beltre, infielders J.P. Arencibia, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Guilder Rodriguez, and pitchers Pedro Figueroa and Wilmer Font have been outrighted to AAA Round Rock. This is solely a procedural move, as each of those players has sufficient service time to become a minor league free agent, and thus will be eligible to sign with any team after the World Series.
In addition, lefthanded pitcher Joe Ortiz has been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Cubs.
The two most noteworthy names on that list are Beltre and Ortiz. Beltre was the prize of the Eric Gagne trade in 2007, a toolsy teenage outfielder who was seen as having star potential. Although his bat never developed, he was considered one of the best defensive outfielders in the organization, and it was thought that his speed and defense could give him a future in the majors. However, Beltre missed all of 2014 with a broken leg, which robbed him of his athleticism, and his future now is in doubt.
Ortiz made the team out of spring training as a reliever in 2013, but his stuff lost its crispness after being used heavily early in the season. An offseason accident, where he was run over by a motorcycle in Venezuela, put him on the d.l. for much of the season. Once he returned, he pitched only in the minors, and did not get good reviews for either his stuff or his attitude. He has an option remaining, so Chicago can spend the 2015 season determining whether he has a future in their organization.
According to Blake, this leaves the Rangers' 40 man roster standing at 37 players. There are addition players who will have to be activated from the 60 day disabled list, and the Rangers will need to clear room to add Luke Jackson and Jorge Alfaro, as well as any other player they wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft, so there are more cuts from the 40 man roster coming.
UPDATE -- By my count, there are still 9 players on the 60 day disabled list, as well as 4 players who will be free agents after the season (assuming the Rangers decline their option on Alex Rios). That means that the Rangers would still have to drop two more players from the 40 man roster once the 60 day d.l. guys are activated and the free agents removed, just to get down to 40 on the 40 man roster.
This is before adding Jackson or Alfaro, or signing any free agents.
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