The Texas Rangers announced today that Anderson Tejeda has been optioned to AAA Round Rock, and Andy Ibanez has been assigned to the Alternative Training Site. In addition, Drew Butera has been re-signed to a new minor league deal, and Nick Vincent, who was in camp on a minor league deal, has been released.
Finally, righthanded relief pitcher Josh Sborz has made the Opening Day roster. In addition, Nate Lowe will be the everyday first baseman, while Ronald Guzman will be in a bench role, backing up 1B and the corner outfield spots. I suspect, until Willie Calhoun is healthy, Guzman will be in the lineup against most righthanders.
None of the roster moves really qualify as a surprise. Tejeda was a possibility for a roster spot simply because he is on the 40 man roster and healthy, and they need a few bodies until Calhoun’s return, but he’s been sent down. Given the Rangers have no healthy position players on the roster who haven’t been announced as making the team and who haven’t been sent down, there will either be a three man bench or the additional bench player or players will need to be added to the 40 man.
Ibanez was in the mix for a roster spot, though his lack of defensive ability limits his utility. Adolis Garcia, who has had a strong spring after being outrighted from the 40 man roster, and Charlie Culberson are still in camp and are possibilities for a bench role. The Rangers could also sign someone who is released from a minor league deal or claim someone on waivers.
The pitching staff now seems close to set. Along with the seven pitchers expected to be in the rotation, Sborz, Kyle Cody, Brett de Geus and John King have been announced as making the team. The Rangers will likely have either two or three more spots in the bullpen to fill, depending on whether the team goes with a three or four man bench.
While Ian Kennedy hasn’t been announced as having made the team, it would be a major upset at this point if he isn’t on the Opening Day roster. That leaves two roster spots, and with everyone on the 40 man roster who is healthy having either been optioned or told their are making the team, that means the final two spots will be filled by players who will need to be added to the 40 man roster. With Demarcus Evans, Jonathan Hernandez, Brock Burke and Jose Leclerc all looking like 60 day injured list candidates, creating space at this point shouldn’t be an issue.
My guess is that we won’t know the final couple of roster spots until the final round of cuts league-wide, as I suspect the Rangers will be looking at who opts out, who is released from minor league deals, and who ends up on the waiver wire or available for trade.