The Texas Rangers announced today that infielders Phil Gosselin and Will Middlebrooks, outfielder Jared Hoying and pitcher Paolo Espino have cleared waivers and been assigned to AAA Round Rock, dropping the 40 man roster to 36. All four players have enough service time to become minor league free agents once the 2017 season officially ends.
Hoying, 28, was non-tendered last offseason and signed to a minor league contract. He ended up getting called up in the second half of the season and appeared in 36 games, logging 77 plate appearances. The Rangers will presumably have some interest in bringing him back on a minor league deal to give them some depth at center field in the upper minors.
Middlebrooks, 29, was signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, and had a solid year at AAA Round Rock before being called up to the majors in September, where he put up a .211/.231/.368 slash line while playing some third base while Adrian Beltre was injured.
Espino, 30, is a righthanded pitcher who the Rangers purchased from the Milwaukee Brewers in August. He appeared in six games for the Rangers, putting up a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 IP. He was kind of an odd pickup, and the Rangers apparently decided he wasn’t someone they wanted to keep on the 40 man roster all offseason.
Gosselin, 28, was claimed on waivers by the Rangers from the Pirates in August, and was basically around to give the Rangers a backup shortstop. He only had 8 plate appearances in 12 games for Texas.
I would say none of these moves are surprises, as the Rangers begin clearing out their 40 man roster in advance of the offseason.