The Texas Rangers’ 40 man roster is a subject of ongoing discussion around here, and with everyone being off today due to the All Star Break, and the season being a little halfway over, its a good time to take a look at how things stand now and what decisions the Rangers will need to make in November and December.
The entire 40 man roster can be reviewed here. It is worth noting that, including guys currently on the 60 day injured list, there are 45 players who are on the 40 man roster or will have to be returned to it (or waived, or allowed to become a free agent) at some point this year.
The players who are free agents after 2019, and thus automatically come off the 40 man at season’s end (barring an extension), are:
So that gets the Rangers down to 39. However, there are some obvious guys who are “bubble” guys — players who could be dropped from the 40 man roster either later this season, or once the season is over, or possibly during the offseason, to clear roster space. The guys on the bubble:
Locke St. John
That’s a combination of guys who are out of options after 2019, have underperformed, or who generally fall in the category of warm bodies for the time being.
That leaves us with the following 30 players:
There are seven players who are Rule 5 eligible who I tend to see as near-locks to be added to the 40 man roster:
There are a number of other Rule 5 eligible guys out there who folks are familiar with — Reed Garrett (again), Edgar Arredondo, Michael De Leon, Emerson Martinez, Yohel Pozo, Pedro Gonzalez, Sherten Apostel, Eric Jenkins, Charles Leblanc, Hever Bueno, Brendon Davis, Miguel Aparicio, Yonny Hernandez, Melvin Novoa, Blake Bass, Kyle Cody, Curtis Terry — but ultimately, at this point, I don’t see anyone else other than those on that list who seem likely to be added.
That said...adding 7 guys is a lot. Especially when, based on our list above, there’s only 10 spots available this offseason. And presumably you’ll be looking at potentially adding in the offseason a starting infielder, a starting pitcher or two, a relief pitcher or two...all that combines for a potential 40 man roster crunch.
So there are players on that list of 30 above who could end up being traded, non-tendered, or waived, who you wouldn’t normally expect. Danny Santana has been great in the first half, but if he slumps in the second half, will the Rangers want to go to arbitration with him? Adrian Sampson could be a roster casualty if he has a bad second half. Wei-Chieh Huang hasn’t been healthy and could find himself squeezed out.
And yes, the Rangers could potentially trade Mike Minor or Lance Lynn (or both) opening up a spot or two, but one would think that a trade involving one of them is going to likely bring back at least one player who is already on the 40 man roster, or who will need to be added to the 40 man roster this offseason.
So the Rangers are going to have to make some tough calls, and it could result in them making some trades that are motivated in large part by roster considerations. The Tampa Bay Rays did something similar when they got involved in the three-way deal with the Oakland A’s and the Rangers this offseason, sending Kyle Bird and Brock Burke — two players on the 40 man roster who weren’t likely to contribute right away — in a deal that got them a major league relief pitcher and a draft pick.
We could see Texas do something similar this offseason, potentially moving guys who they either aren’t going to be able to protect in the Rule 5 draft, or moving guys who they will protect but who are part of a glut, for an immediate contributor or someone farther away. Say, Pedro Gonzalez or Miguel Aparicio, paired with one of the hard-throwing minor league righty relievers, in a roster management move.
And of course, this is just July, and a lot can happen between now and the offseason. Some decisions may become clearer. But for now, things appear hazy and crowded.