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Projecting Rangers' 2020 Opening Day roster

@Sullivan_Ranger
January 22, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to finishing up their potential Opening Day roster. The final acquisition could be free agent Nicholas Castellanos, a right-handed power hitter who has played third base and outfield in his career. The Rangers have those spots filled, but the team sees Castellanos as a

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to finishing up their potential Opening Day roster. The final acquisition could be free agent Nicholas Castellanos, a right-handed power hitter who has played third base and outfield in his career. The Rangers have those spots filled, but the team sees Castellanos as a potential fit at first base.

He would give the Rangers a big right-handed bat in the middle of the order that leaned heavily to the left side last season. The Rangers have had discussions with agent Scott Boras but the wait continues.

Otherwise, the Rangers projected Opening Day roster should look something like this:

Rotation

Projected: LHP Mike Minor, RHP Lance Lynn, RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Kyle Gibson, RHP Jordan Lyles
The plan: The Rangers have a set rotation but they don’t have enough starting pitching. They have five starters but are short on depth if they plan on giving young left-handers Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke, Taylor Hearn and Kolby Allard extended development time in the Minor Leagues. Texas needs to sign at least a couple of veterans to Minor League invites to give it some depth at Triple-A. Ariel Jurado is still on the 40-man roster.
Prospects/non-roster: Right-handers Hans Crouse and Cole Winn are the Rangers’ top two pitching prospects, but they are probably two years away from being options.
Possible acquisitions: There are still some intriguing names on the free-agent market, but the Rangers are looking more at depth rather than serious rotation candidates. Right-handers Jerad Eickhoff and Taijuan Walker may be good candidates.

Bullpen

Projected: RHP José Leclerc, RHP Rafael Montero, RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Joely Rodríguez, LHP Brett Martin, LHP Jeffrey Springs, RHP Luke Farrell, RHP Nick Goody
The plan: The Rangers are planning to use right-hander Jonathan Hernandez as a starter, but he could force his way into the bullpen.
Prospects/non-roster: Right-hander Demarcus Evans will get a strong look in Spring Training. Left-handers Kyle Bird and Yohander Méndez are on the 40-man roster, and familiar right-handers Wei-Chieh Huang, Ian Gibaut and Tim Dillard are coming to camp. So are veterans Juan Nicasio, Edinson Vólquez and Brian Flynn.
Possible acquisitions: Plenty of options remain, such as Fernando Rodney, Pedro Strop, Tony Sipp, Arodys Vizcaíno, Cody Allen, Chad Bettis and many others.

Catchers

Projected: Robinson Chirinos, Jeff Mathis
The plan: The Rangers have an agreement with Chirinos on a one-year deal to be their No. 1 catcher. Mathis is also signed through this season and is the leading candidate to be the backup. Jose Trevino is still in the picture. He could either start at Triple A or beat out Mathis for the backup role. That is something that will likely be decided in Spring Training.
Prospects/non-roster: Coming to camp are top prospect Sam Huff and intriguing non-roster candidate Blake Swihart.
Possible acquisitions: With veterans Tim Federowicz and Nick Ciuffo coming to camp on non-roster invites, the Rangers should have enough catching depth to begin Spring Training.

First base

Projected: Ronald Guzmán
The plan: The Rangers see this as a possible spot for Castellanos. Otherwise, Guzmán is the incumbent. Texas would like a right-handed alternative, possibly a platoon partner with Guzman
Prospects/non-roster: Sam Travis was acquired from the Red Sox. He is a right-handed hitter who can play first base and outfield. He is not on the 40-man roster but is expected to be in big league camp. He has a career .919 OPS against lefties in the Minor Leagues, and that number is .721 against lefties in the Majors.
Possible acquisitions: Veteran Ryan Zimmerman is the best right-handed bat on the market. The left side is loaded. Mitch Moreland anybody?

Second base

Projected: Rougned Odor
The plan: Odor is not a lock. Nick Solak could push him. But it would be a shock if Odor loses his job given his contract situation.

Shortstop

Projected: Elvis Andrus
The plan: Andrus is the man. The Rangers need a utility infielder who can play shortstop.
Prospects/non-roster: Anderson Tejeda is the No. 11 prospect in Texas’ system, but he is not a candidate to make the Opening Day roster.

Third base

Projected: Todd Frazier
The plan: Frazier, who agreed to a one-year deal, can play first base so it is not out of the question that the Rangers could still trade for Nolan Arenado.
Prospects/non-roster: Josh Jung, Davis Wendzel and Sherten Apostel are all excellent prospects but not yet ready.
Possible acquisitions: Castellanos, Arenado

Outfield

Projected: Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana, Joey Gallo, Scott Heineman
The plan: Santana is the starting center fielder unless the Rangers acquire an alternative and use him in a utility role. They have been connected to free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna because of his right-handed bat, but that would push aside Calhoun.
Prospects/non-roster: Rangers No. 5 prospect Leody Taveras is coming to camp, but he is not a candidate to make the team. Corner outfielder Adolis García, a right-handed hitter with power, is intriguing.
Possible acquisitions: Kevin Pillar is the best free-agent center fielder still available.

Designated hitter

Projected: Shin-Soo Choo
The plan: Choo should get most of his at-bats here.

Utility

Projected: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Solak
The plan: Kiner-Falefa would really help his chances if he convinces the Rangers he can step in at shortstop when needed.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.