Rangers debating several pitching scenarios

25-man roster mostly set, but number in rotation, bullpen still being determined

March 14th, 2018

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The composition of the Rangers' Opening Day roster depends on two things: How many pitchers will they take, and what will their roles be? 
Texas could go with ...
• The normal 12-man staff that consists of five starters and seven relievers.
• A 13-man staff that includes a six-man rotation and a seven-man bullpen. The six-man rotation is not getting a lot of love in camp.
• A 13-man staff that includes five starters, seven relievers and one "swing" pitcher who could do both.
The Rangers keep toying with all three scenarios.
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"Yeah, we've talked about, initially, 13," manager Jeff Banister said. "Again, we play out all scenarios. We're not at that point yet to where we say; we may not even be there until the very end. I'd love to be able to say that this is how we're going, and we can't. There's still, like I said, somebody could be on the field right now down on their back. So to say this is how we're going …
"I think our best thought process is to play out all those scenarios. I could see us going with 13, I could see us going with 12, I could see us going with a short bench or the extra guy on the bench. Ultimately, what is the best construct of the roster that is going to give us the best manageable set of players for winning baseball games? And that may be how we start, and two weeks later, it could change on us."
So projecting the 25-man roster with two weeks of Spring Training left is more difficult than normal. Some things are still obvious; others, not so much. Here is what the roster projects to be with the regular season just a fortnight away:
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Catcher (2): ,
Chirinos is locked in as the starter, but the backup position is open. Centeno is a left-handed hitter, on the 40-man roster and out of options. Curt Casali and Mike Ohlman also have Major League experience, and is back in camp after clearing waivers. and have been returned to the Minor Leagues to continue their development.
First base (1): Joey Gallo
The biggest news is that there is no news here. Gallo is locked in at the position.
Second base (1):
The Rangers have alternatives in and . But Odor's long-term contract is the overriding consideration at this position.
Shortstop (1):
The biggest mystery here is if Andrus will opt out of his contract at the end of the year and become a free agent..
Third base (1):
The Rangers have been careful with Beltre this spring, and so far, everything has been smooth.

Outfield (5): , , , ,
The left-field situation is still to be determined after was optioned to Triple-A. But it appears that a platoon of Rua and Robinson is the most likely scenario. The Rangers could keep Rule 5 Draft outfielder , but only if they go with 12 pitchers.
Utility (1): Profar
Barney and could also fit here. Plouffe appears to be in camp mainly to be ready in case something happens to Beltre.
Rotation (5): Cole Hamels, , Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor
is still in the mix. He could conceivably win a spot in the rotation if the Rangers need Minor to reinforce the bullpen. Still to be determined is if Perez will be ready for Opening Day. He insists he will be.

Bullpen (8): , Matt Bush, , Jake Diekman, Tony Barnette, Chris Martin, ,
These are the logical guys to make the bullpen, although the Rangers are still evaluating Lincecum. Chavez fits here if Texas goes with an eight-man bullpen and needs a swing starter. The caveat is if Colon makes the rotation and Minor is moved into the bullpen. There are other relievers having good springs, including , Jose Leclerc and . They could be options if Lincecum is not ready.