Texas Rangers projected Opening Day roster: Opening Day is just 10 days away, and yet, things are still a bit fuzzy in regards to what the Rangers' 25 man roster will look like when the season starts.
Since others have been making their guesses, I figure, what the hell, I'll throw my projection out there as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments where you think I'm wrong.
Rotation -- Holland, Gallardo, Lewis, Detwiler, Martinez
I've been picking Tepesch in the #5 spot since Yu went down, but Martinez has had the better camp, seems to be better regarded by the organization overall, and just threw 6 shutout innings yesterday. Detwiler, meanwhile, has won a spot, per Banister. That said, the back-end guys shouldn't get too comfortable, because Chi Chi Gonzalez is coming in a hurry, and Martin Perez is supposed to be back around the All Star Break.
Bullpen -- Feliz, Scheppers, Kela, Fujikawa, Klein, Claudio, Hand
I think three guys have spots nailed down -- Feliz, Scheppers and Kela -- and the others are still in flux. Fujikawa has come on strong of late after a weak start to camp, and he's a 34 year old on a major league deal, so I think he sticks. Instead of Klein, it could be Mendez or Edwards, but regardless, I think that spot will be someone with options who will be sent down when Shawn Tolleson is ready to go. If Ross Ohlendorf were healthy, I think he'd make the team as the long man, but since he's not, I'll guess the Rangers get Brad Hand from the Marlins for cash considerations, and stick him in the pen as the long man/2nd lefty.
Catchers/Infield -- Chirinos, Corporan, Fielder, Odor, Elvis, Beltre, Rosales
Not much to see here. Ed Lucas or a waiver claim could stick as the UIF instead of Rosales, but otherwise, this group is pretty well locked in.
Outfield/DH -- Rua, Leonys, Choo, Moreland, Smolinski, Peguero
This is where the real question marks are, among position players. Ryan Ludwick has been informed he's not making the team, Kyle Blanks hasn't been fully healthy and will be stashed in AAA to start the year, most likely, and Nate Schierholtz is hanging around but doesn't really look like a fit. I think Rua, the favorite coming into camp, has probably won the left field job with solid play of late after a slow start, which would mean three players -- Peguero, Smolinski and DeShields -- fighting for two spots. Peguero doesn't have an opt out, so he can be sent to the minors without a risk of losing him, but he's also been one of the sensations of camp, with Tepid quoting a scout as saying he looks like a different player than in previous years. My gut feeling is that Smolinski makes the team as a RH bench bat/platoon mate at DH for Moreland, which leaves one spot for DeShields and Peguero to fight over. If the Rangers thinks Peguero and/or Smolinski can play center field once a week to give Leonys a day off, then DeShields may be put on waivers, where the Rangers will have to try to work out a deal with Houston to keep him if he clears (spoiler alert: I think he clears, and Houston will give him up for cheap). Otherwise, Peguero may be a victim of a numbers game, and may be sent down to AAA to show his improvement is for real while the Rangers see what DeShields, et al can do.