The Texas Rangers sent nineteen players to their “alternate camp,” where the members of the 60 man pool who are not on the active roster will be working out.
Those nineteen are:
Rivera had been mentioned as a possible utility infield option, and Allen as a potential reliever with the 30 man Opening Day roster, so those two are somewhat noteworthy. Realistically, though, there are no surprises in this group.
Ciuffo, Federowicz and Swihart all being sent out would seem to suggest that the Rangers feel comfortable with the health of Robinson Chirinos, who caught in today’s intrasquad game.
Brett Martin, who had been in the COVID-19 protocol, has been cleared to resume working out with the team, though he is still on the COVID injured list for now, meaning he does not count against the 40 man roster. He will likely be activated a week or two into the season, barring any setbacks, but he will likely not start the year on the active roster.
Rafael Montero is also an unknown for the Opening Day roster, as he has been dealing with a sore arm after getting a late start to summer camp. He appears likely to start the year on the injured list, though if they think he will be ready to go after missing only the first couple of games, he could start the year on the active roster, since the 30 man roster for the first two weeks provides the team with more leeway.
The Rangers appear to have eleven spots on the pitching staff set, with the rotation being Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles, and the bullpen having Jose Leclerc, Jesse Chavez, Edinson Volquez, Luke Farrell, Nick Goody and Jonathan Hernandez. Martin and Montero, barring setbacks, should join the bullpen at some point in the early part of the year, and Joely Rodriguez has apparently been making good progress in his return from a strained lat.
In the meantime, the Rangers still have in the main camp the following pitchers who are vying for spots on the 30 man active roster to start the season:
Gibaut has been impressive, but would need a 40 man roster spot — nevertheless, with an option available, he could be added to the 40 man and then optioned when someone comes back or when the roster drops to 28 after two weeks, or 26 after four weeks, easily enough. Allard, Hearn and Palumbo are all on the 40 man roster, which makes it easier to keep them until Montero or Martin are able to return. Herget and Benjamin have had nice camps, but my guess is they wouldn’t be added to the 40 man just to be on the roster a few days.
Yohander Mendez is still here, but I expect he will end up on waivers to open up a 40 man roster spot sooner or later.
On the position player side, the Rangers appear to be set to start the season behind the plate with Robinson Chirinos, Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino. The infield has Todd Frazier, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Isiah Kiner-Falefa with roster spots clinched. The outfield right now is Nick Solak, Danny Santana and Joey Gallo, with Shin-Soo Choo as the DH. Willie Calhoun seems likely to start the season on the injured list, which would seem to clinch a roster spot for Scott Heineman.
The leaves the following players vying for the final three bench spots:
With Rivera sent out and White injured, Refsnyder would seem to have a strong chance at landing a bench role as a utility player, though Logan Forsythe opted out of his deal yesterday with the Phillies, and Texas could look at him as a potential bench option. Regardless, I would assume Refsnyder or someone outside of the organization will end up on the 30 man roster as a utility guy.
Neither Greg Bird nor Ronald Guzman has been impressive, but Guzman is on the 40 man roster and can give you great defense at first base, so he would seem likely to start the year on the roster, though he would also be a likely roster casualty either when Calhoun returns, when the roster drops to 28, or the roster drops to 26.
The final spot would seem right now to be between Taveras and Garcia. Taveras is the team’s best defensive outfielder, is a good baserunner and has not been overmatched at the plate. Garcia is toolsy but doesn’t really offer the situational value Taveras does right now. Whoever sticks in the final bench spot may only be there a few days, since Calhoun is expected back quickly, but don’t be surprised if it ends up being Leody.
Interestingly, it appears that none of the nine players who had the right to opt out of their minor league deals with the Rangers yesterday actually did so.