The Texas Rangers have optioned outfielder Leody Taveras and infielder Ezequiel Duran to AAA Round Rock and AA Frisco, respectively, it was announced today. The Rangers also re-assigned seven players on minor league deals from the major league camp to the minor league camp.
Sending down Taveras and Duran isn’t exactly surprising — Taveras had a shot to make the Opening Day roster, though he was expected to likely start the year at Round Rock, while Duran started the year at Frisco was a given. However, its worth noting that Chris Woodward expressed displeasure with the pair combining for a play where Leody made a poor throw into the infield and Duran did a poor job fielding the throw, allowing what would turn out to be the winning run in yesterday’s game to score. The timing of the move leads me to wonder whether there is a message being sent with the decision.
Or it could just be that they were going to send them out today anyway.
The seven players who were announced as being re-assigned to the minor league camp are Josh Smith, Davis Wendzel, Bubba Thompson, Daniel Robert, Chase Lee, Matt “Dr. Tim” Whatley, and Jesus Tinoco.
Woodward mentioned yesterday (in that same link above) that Smith had had a strong enough camp to make the Rangers at least think about him as a possible Opening Day roster option. Smith and Wendzel will reportedly be sharing shortstop and third base duties at Round Rock to start the season, and given the uncertainty surrounding the third base job, both Wendzel and Smith will potentially have the opportunity to play in the big leagues sooner than expected with a strong start in AAA.
Bubba Thompson has also impressed in camp, earning praise for his improved approach at the plate. He would seem likely to also start the year in AAA, and given the current state of the Rangers outfield, if he plays well in AAA, there will be opportunities for him in the big leagues this year, most likely.
Daniel Robert is a righthanded reliever who impressed in spring training, and was apparently a player the team was concerned about potentially losing in the Rule 5 Draft before the Rule 5 Draft this year was canceled. I’m guessing he starts the year at Frisco, but he could be at Round Rock.
Chase Lee — the Viper — I think y’all all know about. Funky righty reliever, could move quickly. Like Robert, I’d guess he starts at Frisco, but there’s a possibility he’s at Round Rock.
John Blake says that there are now 48 active players in the major league camp, and he would be in a position to know.
UPDATE — Zach Reks has also been optioned today, it was announced.