Tough roster decisions looming for Rangers

March 17th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Position battles?

The Rangers had a few of those left undecided when Spring Training was shut down.


That’s not exactly foremost on the Rangers' collective mind.

“We haven’t even talked about that,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Our eyes have been focused on the bigger picture, public health and taking care of our people. We’ll sit down and look at those things when we have time, but overall I would think that will be on hold. We’ll circle back to that one when we have a better time frame for when we will be making those decisions.”

Here is where it stood when Spring Training was suspended.

First base
Ronald Guzmán and Greg Bird, a pair of left-handed hitters, were going head-to-head since the beginning of Spring Training and neither has forged ahead. Guzmán was 7-for-33 with a home run. Bird was 3-for-29. Sam Travis, a right-handed hitter, was 7-for-15 after overcoming early hamstring issues and has become a factor at the position.

Travis offers a possible platoon partner with Guzmán or Bird and can also play the outfield if needed. Todd Frazier can play first if needed if the Rangers want to use Isiah Kiner-Falefa and/or Matt Duffy at third base. Both are right-handed hitters and could platoon with Guzmán or Bird, with Frazier switching between positions.

There are multiple possibilities, although nobody knows how the Rangers will be able to sort it out.

Left field
This position became open when Willie Calhoun suffered a fractured jaw and wasn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day. With the start of the regular season being pushed back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, maybe Calhoun will end up being ready once the rescheduled season begins.

The Rangers were planning to give Nick Solak a shot at left field with Scott Heineman and Adolis García in the mix, But if Calhoun is ready, what do the Rangers do with Solak?

Here is where the Rangers stand for an eight-man bullpen:

Locked in: RHPs Jose LeClerc and Rafael Montero, LHP Joely Rodriguez

Job to lose: LHP Brett Martin

Co-relievers of the spring: RHPs Nick Goody and Luke Farrell. Both have yet to allow a run.

Impressive young guys: LHP Taylor Hearn and RHPs Jonathan Hernández and Demarcus Evans

Right-handed vets on the bubble: Juan Nicasio, Jimmy Herget, Derek Law, Cody Allen, Luis Garcia

Ageless wonder: Edinson Vólquez. He still believes he can make the team.

Backup catcher
It is not the highest-profile competition but there is still plenty of intrigue. Jeff Mathis has a pulled hamstring of still unknown severity. Jose Trevino has a hairline fracture on his right index finger that will probably be healed before baseball resumes. Nick Ciuffo was having a good spring. So was Tim Federowicz. The Rangers also haven’t made a final call on switch-hitting catcher Blake Swihart.