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Rangers 40 man roster situation update

Looking at the 40 man roster situation for the Rangers in advance of Opening Day

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

In the aftermath of yesterday’s news about a half-dozen players who have been informed that they have made the Opening Day roster, as well as a couple of players being optioned and a couple more being re-assigned, I figured it would be worthwhile to take a look at where the 40 roster stands for the Texas Rangers, and how many spots will be needed to add players who are currently on minor league deals.

Brock Holt was one of the players who was told he will make the team. We knew that at least one position player would likely have to be added to the 40 man roster as either the third baseman or utility infielder, and Holt will presumably fill one of those roles (likely utility infielder, as Rougned Odor has done enough this spring to play third base to start the year). With Joe Gatto, after an abysmal spring, was outrighted, there is now a 40 man roster spot open, so Holt will occupy that spot.

Either Delino DeShields or Charlie Culberson could also end up on the Opening Day roster, and if so, they would require a 40 man roster spot, though neither would seem likely to be here beyond the first few weeks of April, unless Leody Taveras were to get sent down (in DeShields’ case) or there’s an injury. Also, due to the 40 man roster logistics right now, and the need to add pitchers (see below), the inability to easily free a spot up for one of them would seem to be a factor.

Anderson Tejeda could end up making the team just by virtue of being both healthy and already on the 40 man roster. The plan has been for Tejeda to start the season in the minors, but only 14 of the 17 position players on the 40 man roster right now are currently healthy. Two of them — David Garcia and Sherten Apostel — have already been optioned. That least 12 position players on the 40 man roster, and keeping all of them and adding Holt would mean a 4 man bench. If the Rangers go with a 3 man bench or keep Culberson or DeShields, Tejeda then goes down, but otherwise he could be up as a warm body until Willie Calhoun is healthy.

I will also note that Adolis Garcia has been mentioned as a possible member of the Opening Day roster after a strong spring, and with Khris Davis starting the year on the injured list. Garcia is not on the 40 man roster, and I’m not sure if the Rangers would add him back just to be a platoon DH until Davis returns. Garcia has an option remaining so they could send him down without waiving him, but he would occupy a 40 man spot.

We know that the rotation will have Kyle Gibson, Mike Foltynewicz and Kohei Arihara as the three “traditional starters,” with Jordan Lyles, Dane Dunning, Wes Benjamin and Taylor Hearn presumably* in the tandem starter roles. All of them are on the 40 man roster already.

* Lyles has been announced as being one of the tandem starters, and the other three have been told they’ve made the team. I am guessing they will be in tandem starter roles, but they may be in the bullpen. For this analysis it doesn’t really matter, though.

There will probably be 7 relievers in the bullpen to start the season, which would mean a 4 man bench. I say probably — its possible there are 6 relievers, which would mean a 5 man bench, or 8 relievers, which would mean a 3 man bench. A 5 man bench seemed like more of a possibility before Calhoun and Davis got hurt, and now a 3 man bench for a short team seems like it might be possible...except for the fact that there’s not enough healthy pitchers on the 40 man roster to go around. UPDATE — I did the math here wrong. 7 relievers would mean a 14 man pitching staff and a 3 man bench, not a 4 man bench. The other numbers would also be adjusted accordingly. My apologies for the error.

There are 22 pitchers on the 40 man roster. Five — Kolby Allard, A.J. Alexy, Joe Palumbo, Tyler Phillips and Yerry Rodriguez — have already been sent down, leaving 17 pitchers on the 40 man.

Of those 17 pitchers, two of them — Brett Martin and Joely Rodriguez — have been indicated as being likely to start the year on the injured list, though both are expected back in the near future and Martin, who is ahead of Rodriguez, could possibly end up on the Opening Day roster if only because of the roster crunch.

Four more pitchers — Brock Burke, Demarcus Evans, Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc — are going to start the season on the injured list and are candidates to go the the 60 day i.l. If all four pitchers went on the 60 day, that would open up four roster spots.

That leaves 11 pitchers on the 40 man roster who are healthy and have not been sent down. A 7 man bullpen and a 7 man starting rotation requires 14 pitchers...and so we are going to have to see some guys added to the 40 man to be on the Opening Day roster.

Of the 11 pitchers who are healthy and haven’t been sent down, the only ones who have not been announced as being on the Opening Day roster are Josh Sborz, Kyle Cody and Brett de Geus. Cody’s roster spot is safe. de Geus is a Rule 5 pick who has to be waived and offered back to the Los Angeles Dodgers if he isn’t on the active roster (or the injured list), so if he’s not on the active roster that would open up a 40 man spot. Sborz has an option remaining, and so if he is not on the roster, he can be sent down, but he’d still occupy a roster spot.

If we assume Cody is on the team, that leaves 5 spots that still need to be filled on the pitching staff. If you move all four of your not-gonna-be-back-soon pitchers to the 60 day injured list, that creates 4 roster spots, which means you can send down Sborz and add four pitchers currently here on minor league deals — Ian Kennedy, Matt Bush and Hunter Wood being guys who seem to have an inside track there, plus one more — to the 40 man roster, and be back at 40. If you drop de Geus that frees up both a 26 man and a 40 man roster spot for whoever you were to add.

So things are tight...but you can make it work, though tough decisions will have to be made. If you want to add DeShields or Culberson, for example, you would probably need to either keep Sborz on the active roster or put him on waivers to open up a spot. That being said, with Calhoun due back soon and Davis not long after, there’s a question as to whether you want to dedicate a 40 man roster spot to DeShields or Culberson if you’re going to drop that player once Calhoun or Davis returns.