There was a discussion yesterday in some of the comments and on Twitter about the decisions the Rangers will have to make in regards to their 40 man roster, and whose roster spots might be at risk. Along those lines, and since there's not much to discuss other than the offseason at this point anyway, I thought it would be worthwhile to set out who is on the 40 man roster, and their status. There are currently 10 players on the 60 day d.l., bringing the total number of players on the 40 man roster to 50.
SAFE -- Not losing his 40 man roster spot except via trade
Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Nick Martinez, Corey Knebel, Martin Perez, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, Nick Tepesch, Robinson Chirinos, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar, Luis Sardinas, Michael Choice, Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin
The above list is pretty self-explanatory. Those guys may be traded, but they aren't going to be flat released or waived.
FREE AGENTS -- Players off the 40 man roster because their contract is up
Scott Baker, Neal Cotts, Colby Lewis, Kevin Kouzmanoff
Again, self-explanatory. The Rangers could bring some of these guys back, but when the season is up, they will be off the 40 man roster.
ALEX RIOS -- Alex Rios.
Alex Rios is in his own category. He could be traded between now and August 31. Or he could have his 2015 option picked up. Or he could have his 2015 option declined.
That is 23 players. There are 27 guys who aren't in the "no question" category...or 28, I guess, counting Rios.
ALMOST CERTAINLY GONE -- Players who will almost certainly be dropped from the 40 man roster this offseason
Nate Adcock, Phil Irwin
This list was shorter than I was anticipating. I don't expect Adcock or Irwin to be on the 40 man roster come Christmas.
YOUNG RELIEVERS WHO ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY SAFE -- Guys who pitch out of the bullpen who probably aren't going anywhere
Alex Claudio, Phil Klein, Roman Mendez, Joe Ortiz, Aaron Poreda, Ben Rowen, Shawn Tolleson, Matt West
Another pretty self-explanatory category. These are young bullpen arms who almost certainly wouldn't clear waivers, and who I think the Rangers are going to try to keep around until spring training. That being said, with the potential 40 man roster issues, I wouldn't be shocked if a couple of these guys ended up getting traded (or designated for assignment and then traded) to open up a 40 man roster spot at some point over the winter. And these are also the sorts of guys you could see included in a deal for a starting pitcher this offseason.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE RELIEVERS WHO ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY SAFE -- Relievers who are arbitration-eligible, and who are almost certainly returning in 2015
Alexi Ogando, Neftali Feliz
I was going to put these two in the "Safe" category -- and really, I'd be shocked if either was non-tendered -- but both are due raises in arbitration, Ogando has missed most of this season with elbow inflammation, and Neftali Feliz...well, you know about Neftali. Depending on what the medical folks say about these two, its conceivable that they could end up losing their roster spot, but it seems extremely unlikely.
INJURED AND/OR DISAPPOINTING PITCHERS -- Pitchers who have talent, but whose performance and/or injury situation has put their roster spots in jeopardy
Lisalverto Bonilla, Pedro Figueroa, Wilmer Font
Bonilla is a change-up artist who came over in the Michael Young trade. He's struggled with command issues and has a 5.69 ERA in AAA the past two seasons, in 106 IP. Pedro Figueroa was a waiver claim who looked like he might be a viable lefty relief option, then underwent Tommy John surgery. Wilmer Font, meanwhile, has been bad and hurt. Bonilla has options left, while Figueroa and Font are out of options. I'd be surprised if more than one of the three were still on the 40 man come spring training, and I think Bonilla is the most likely to stick.
MYSTERY PITCHERS -- Guys who I have no idea about
Miles Mikolas, Jon Edwards
The odd sock drawer of the pitchers. I have no idea about either of these two guys. Mikolas was acquired in the offseason in exchange for Chris McGuiness, was converted to starting in the middle of the minor league season, and got pressed into duty in the majors, where he's posted an ugly ERA. Jon Edwards is a converted outfielder who was in danger of being released from the minors earlier this season, but who had something click and who has put himself on the map as a relief candidate. Mikolas is out of options, so I'd think he'd be more likely than Edwards to be dropped, but really, I have no idea here.
FRINGY ARB-ELIGIBLE INFIELDERS -- Arbitration-eligible infielders who the Rangers might keep if they can cut a cheap deal without going to arbitration
J.P. Arencibia, Mike Carp, Mitch Moreland, Adam Rosales
Basically, all of these guys are potential bench options, they are all arbitration-eligible, and I suspect the Rangers would non-tender all four before they'd offer them arbitration. At the same time, they are guys who I think the Rangers have varying levels of interest in keeping around for 2015, assuming that they can get them on the cheap. I seem to remember the Cowboys signing Bucky Richardson one year for training camp as a ploy to get David Lang to accept a pay cut. Once Lang agreed to renegotiate his deal for a lower salary, Richardson was sent packing. I kind of wonder if that's not the case with Carp and Moreland...the Rangers clearly aren't going to keep both players around, and they may non-tender both, but I kind of wonder if Carp isn't here so Texas can try to pressure Moreland to take a cheaper deal than he would otherwise. Arencibia could be a righthanded bench bat/backup 1B/backup catcher, if he's willing to take a pay cut. Rosales could stick around as a utility guy. But all of these guys sticking would be contingent on signing a cheap deal early in the offseason.
FRINGY PRE-ARBITRATION OUTFIELDERS -- Outfielders who aren't arbitration-eligible yet, who may or may not be viable major leaguers
Jim Adduci, Engel Beltre, Daniel Robertson, Jake Smolinski
These guys, along with Michael Choice, are the pieces with which the Rangers could try to cobble together a serviceable COF platoon in 2015, if they let Alex Rios go. Adduci had a lot of buzz last year, made the team this year, broke his finger, and has been awful since returning, to the point that last year may have just been a really good season, and not a sign of things to come. Engel Beltre has tons of athleticism but has never been able to hit, and now has a broken leg that may have robbed him of his athleticism. To steal a line from "Get Fuzzy," Engel Beltre without athleticism is like an upside-down wedgebot on "Battlebots" -- he has nothing. Jake Smolinski is this year's Jim Adduci, a career minor leaguer who generated some buzz...but because it is 2014, he got injured once he got to the majors. Daniel Robertson has hung around most of the season, and has impressed with his energy and attitude. I think he's the most likely member of this group to stick all offseason...if I were to guess, I'd say Robertson and either Adduci or Engel stay, and Smolinski and the other lefty outfielder get dropped.
TOMAS TELIS -- Tomas Telis
Tomas Telis is a 23 year old switch-hitting catcher who is being added to the 40 man roster tomorrow. I suspect he'll stick on the 40 man roster, because he's a 23 year old switch-hitting catcher, and the Rangers will need a 3rd catcher they can keep in Round Rock next season.