The Texas Rangers have purchased the contracts of infielder Ezequiel Duran and pitchers Ricky Vanasco and Ronny Henriquez, the team announced today. In addition, the team announced that pitchers Edwar Colina and Kyle Cody had cleared waivers and been assigned outright to AAA Round Rock. With these moves, the Rangers’ 40 man roster stands at 37.
Today was the deadline for adding players to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Duran, acquired from the Yankees in the Joey Gallo trade, and Vanasco, who has just returned from Tommy John surgery, were viewed as locks to be protected. Aside from those two, pitchers Jake Latz, Ronny Henriquez and Cole Ragans, along with outfielder Bubba Thompson, were seen as the most likely players to be protected.
Latz, Ragans and Thompson, as well as others such as Steele Walker and Daniel Robert, are now eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft...assuming there is one. Normally, the Rule 5 Draft would be held on the last day of the Winter Meetings, but with the CBA slated to expire on December 1, it appears increasingly likely that there will be a lockout at that time, which will mean no activity involving major league rosters or transactions. Which means, no Rule 5 Draft at that time.
If the lockout is relatively short, the Rule 5 Draft will presumably occur soon thereafter, but if the lockout lasts into 2022, we could end up in a scenario where there is an abbreviated offseason prior to spring training, and they may simply cancel the Rule 5 Draft. Who knows.
I expected that Colina and Yohel Pozo would be the likely 40 man roster casualties should they need roster spots, but Cody, who is out for the first half of 2022, ended up on the waiver wire instead. The two are now off the 40 man roster and on minor league deals for 2022.
I expect that there are going to be another three-four spots that will need to be opened up on the 40 man in the coming days for trade acquisitions, free agent signings, and the like, but the guys that are still here right now have a markedly greater chance of sticking around until February — particularly given the decision to add just three Rule 5 eligibles today.