Pat Kivlehan, Connor Sadzeck, Jose Leclerc and Yohander Mendez have all been optioned to the minors, per the beat guys on Twitter. In addition, pitcher Steve Johnson has been released.
No big surprises among the guys optioned. Of those four, only Kivlehan was seen as being a potential contender for a roster spot heading into the spring, and his chances of making the squad dimmed once Ian Desmond was signed. Kivlehan will likely start the season in AAA Round Rock.
Similarly, the three pitchers optioned were all new additions to the 40 man roster who weren't going to be considered for a 25 man roster spot barring an extraordinary series of events involving multiples injuries and off-the-charts outstanding camps. Mendez spent last season in low-A, and will likely be in the rotation in either high-A High Desert or AA Frisco to start the season. Leclerc was converted to starting last year, and supposedly will be a starter again this year, likely at AA Frisco, but he appears destined for the pen. Sadzeck is a reliever who throws 100 mph, but who spent last season working his way back from Tommy John Surgery. He could move quickly, but with a lot of bullpen options currently available, there's no need to rush him, and he'll probably be at Frisco to start the year.
Johnson was signed as a free agent to provide the Rangers with some depth, but he's not pitched well this spring, and the team appears to have enough arms that his presence in Round Rock is unnecessary.