The Texas Rangers 40 man roster was pruned somewhat yesterday, with the Rangers announcing that seven players had been either outrighted or lost on waivers.
This leaves the Rangers with 46 players on their 40 man roster (including players on the 60 day d.l.). Those players are:
There are four players who will be free agents once the World Series ends -- Colby Lewis, Scott Baker, Alex Rios, and Neal Cotts. The Rangers have some interest in bringing Lewis and Cotts back, and its possible one of those guys could be re-signed before they hit the market. Its also possible, I guess, that Alex Rios could have his option picked up, although his collapse in the second half of the season has turned that from a likelihood to a long shot.
But I think it is safe to assume that those guys will be off the 40 man roster, meaning that the Rangers will then have to drop two more players to make room for the guys on the 60 day d.l.
The two players who seem like the most obvious choices at this point are Nate Adcock and Michael Kirkman. Adcock got a brief call-up this summer, and had a decent year in the minors, but didn't get a promotion in September, and seems like the type of player who would clear waivers and could be brought back on a minor league deal, if you really wanted him. Kirkman, meanwhile, has re-invented himself as a lefty specialist, but he's out of options and can decline an outright assignment, which means you either keep him on the 25 man roster or he's gone. The Rangers have been very patient with Kirkman, and have always loved the arm, but this seems like a situation where it doesn't make sense to lock up a 40 man roster spot on him over the winter.
Of course, even once you get down to 40 after the World Series, that's not going to be enough. Luke Jackson and Jorge Alfaro will have to be added to the 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft, and the Rangers may opt to protect Odubel Herrera and Jerad Eickhoff, and possibly someone like Will Lamb. And the Rangers are going to add veterans in the offseason, either via trade or through free agency.
So you're probably looking at another half-dozen players currently on the 40 man roster being dropped at some point in the offseason.
Part of what complicates matters is that there is uncertainty surrounding what the future holds for several of the non-prospect/major league types on the 40 man roster. For example, I don't see the Rangers keeping both Mitch Moreland and Jim Adduci on the 40 man roster all offseason. Now, Adduci had a lost season in 2014, after putting himself on the map in 2013, and it may be that he's gone regardless of what happens with Moreland. But the Rangers need a lefthanded-swinging compliment to guys like Ryan Rua and Michael Choice currently on the roster. If Texas opts to stay with Moreland as part of a DH or COF platoon, that would seem to make Adduci superfluous, and he could end up getting dropped. Conversely, if the Rangers decide to move on from Moreland, they would probably be more likely to keep Adduci around as insurance, at least until they acquired another lefthanded hitting outfield/DH option.
Similarly, Adam Rosales played well in a utility role down the stretch. However, he's also arbitration-eligible, he'll be 32 next year, and if the Rangers opt to keep Rua on the 25 man roster, Rosales' role would be limited to backup shortstop. The Rangers have frequently opted to sift through minor league NRIs in spring training to find a UIF, and they could do it again this year, meaning that Rosales could be cut loose. Or they could decide that Rosales did enough, and is cheap enough, that it makes sense to bring him back for 2015.
Then there are the various mystery arms on the 40 man roster right now. Alfredo Figaro was claimed on waivers, but it appears he can be outrighted without being able to reject the assignment, which means the Rangers just have to get a little ways into November, and then they can waive him and try to outright him. The alternative is bringing him to camp knowing that he is out of options, which seems unlikely.
Miles Mikolas is also out of options, and ended the year with a shoulder issue. Like Figaro, he's someone who the Rangers might try to sneak through waivers at some point in the offseason, when they need to free up a spot, in the hopes that he clears and they can bring him to camp as an NRI.
Matt West and Ben Rowen are question marks...they both turn 26 in November (they were born 6 days apart, strangely), both have qualities that make you want to keep them around, but both have enough question marks that they might not survive the Fortypocalypse. Both have options remaining, so it is pretty much a given that some team would claim them, and I'd guess that if the Rangers were to cut bait with one of these guys, they'd at least designate them for assignment in the hopes of getting some sort of fringe prospect back from another team via trade, rather than just losing them on a waiver claim.
Jon Edwards sort of goes in the above category as well...an outfielder who converted to pitching a few years ago, Edwards was supposedly close to being released from Frisco early in 2014. But something click, he earned a promotion to AAA, pitched well, and made it to the majors. He throws hard and throws options remaining, so even though he turns 27 in January, he's got the type of profile that is going to make it hard to run him through waivers.
And then there is mystery lefty Aaron Poreda...signed as a minor league free agent, he found some velocity, pitched well in the minors, earned a promotion to the big leagues, showed flashes, spent some more time in the minors, and then didn't pitch over the final month of the season for reasons I couldn't quite figure out. He appears to be out of options, and so he'd seem a candidate to be dropped, but on the other hand, he's a hard-throwing lefty, and those don't grow on trees.
Another possibility is that you could see the Rangers trade a pitcher who isn't exactly a core piece, and who is expendable, but who is too good to just lose on waivers, in exchange for someone who isn't on a 40 man roster. Roman Mendez, for example, might be a candidate to get moved that way...he showed promise in his major league look this year, but he's out of options and the Rangers bullpen is crowded. It wouldn't be shocking if he were shipped to, say, San Diego (the destination of choice for all my hypothetical minor prospect trades) in exchange for a lottery-ticket type who doesn't have to be protected yet.
There's a lot of moving pieces here, and I expect the 40 man purge will take place not just in early November, but throughout the offseason, as the Rangers wait to make decisions on fringe 40 man guys until they have to open up a spot for a free agent. The 40 man future is murky right now, but in about four weeks, when the 60 day d.l. guys have to be put back on the roster, we should have at least a little more clarity.
- Texas Rangers transactions: Seven players dropped from 40 man roster
- Texas Rangers prospects: Jake Thompson ranked #13 in Florida State League by Baseball America
- Texas Rangers rumors: Joe McEwing, Alex Cora among six managerial candidates to be interviewed by Rangers
- Texas Rangers rumors: Tim Bogar to interview for Diamondbacks manager job
- Friday Afternoon Video -- Bugs Bunny, "Figaro"