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As '20 ends, here's how Texas' roster stands

@Sullivan_Ranger
September 27, 2020

ARLINGTON -- Since the Rangers fell out of postseason contention, manager Chris Woodward has fielded questions about the makeup of next year’s team. Here is a position-by-position look where Texas stands at the end of the 2020 season. Catcher Jose Trevino is the No. 1 catcher going into the offseason.

ARLINGTON -- Since the Rangers fell out of postseason contention, manager Chris Woodward has fielded questions about the makeup of next year’s team.

Here is a position-by-position look where Texas stands at the end of the 2020 season.

Catcher
Jose Trevino is the No. 1 catcher going into the offseason. The Rangers will likely sign multiple veteran catchers on Minor League contracts as potential backup and could potentially bring Jeff Mathis back.

Sam Huff? Yes, he has impressed in September. But unless he has a monster Spring Training, the plan is for him to get more time at Double-A Frisco. Texas can’t afford any missteps in his development.

First base
Ronald Guzmán is still clinging to the job and will get a chance to keep it in Spring Training. The Rangers will no doubt bring in veteran competition, as they did this year with Greg Bird and Sam Travis. Sherten Apostel is going to get a lot of playing time in the Minor Leagues at first base.

Guzmán is excellent defensively, but what the offense-deprived Rangers need is a big bat. The Astros' Yuli Gurriel, 36, should be the best among free agents. Texas has interest in re-signing Derek Dietrich under the right circumstances.

Second base
Woodward said this is Nick Solak’s best position. Woodward also said it might be easier on Anderson Tejeda to transition into the big leagues at second base. The obvious obstacle is Rougned Odor, who has two years remaining on his contract and possesses the offensive potential the Rangers need, but it remains tantalizingly elusive.

It’s not time to eat Odor's contract. He will be in Spring Training unless Texas can get creative in a trade. There are options if the Rangers' patience runs out.

Shortstop
Woodward wants Elvis Andrus to win the job. The possibility exists that Tejeda will be the shortstop of the future. But if the Rangers can get another year out of Andrus, then they won’t have to push Tejeda before he is ready.

Third base
Isiah Kiner-Falefa is an outstanding defensive player. The question is, how much more will the Rangers get out of him offensively? If Texas could find more offense at other positions, Kiner-Falefa and Solak wouldn’t be under so much pressure to produce offensively.

Left field
Solak has proven he can play here. Eli White has the defensive ability, but he is unproven offensively. Scott Heineman and Adolis García were lost in the shuffle at the alternate training site, but they are not forgotten.

Willie Calhoun? The Rangers are hoping he comes to camp healthy, in a better frame of mind and ready to display his offensive potential somewhere in the lineup. His defense remains a work in progress that did not get much work this year.

Center field
Leody Taveras is likely to win the job. Woodward has been impressed. The defense and speed is there, and the Rangers are hoping the bat will continue to improve.

By the way, Danny Santana, who was injured most of this season, will still be on the 40-man roster unless Texas non-tenders him this winter. Santana was the Rangers' MVP in 2019, and he can play multiple positions, so he is a wild card in the roster picture.

Right field
Nobody needs more help around him than Joey Gallo. Woodward admitted the pressure of being the Rangers' only power threat wore on Gallo as the season progressed. Upgrading the offense is Texas' No. 1 priority this winter, which would help Gallo immensely.

Designated hitter
This might be Calhoun’s best spot. Or Solak. The Rangers could also go get the big bat they need, either for here or left field. George Springer? Marcell Ozuna? How about Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Céspedes? Somebody is a must.

Yes, it may be hard for the Rangers to find a spot for Shin-Soo Choo. But if they aren’t willing to spend big money on others, he could remain an option here.

Rotation
No. 1: Will the Rangers trade Lance Lynn? They set a high price at the Trade Deadline and nobody met it. Maybe somebody will this winter, but Texas would need to get a young Major League-ready starting pitcher or a middle-of-the-lineup hitter in return. Those deals will be tough.

No. 2: The Rangers will not pick up Corey Kluber’s option, but they will try to re-sign him under a revised contract. That could ease the pressure of pushing some of the younger pitchers.

No. 3: Kolby Allard. Texas was high on him after the 2019 season. Now, he has fallen a bit after his struggles this year. It’s hard to imagine the Rangers will toss him on the discard pile, but he has been passed by Wes Benjamin.

No. 4: Kyle Cody. The Rangers see a young arm with top-of-the-rotation stuff. But pitching 22 2/3 innings after missing two seasons while recovering from elbow surgery? Texas could need to tread lightly here. It can not afford any missteps with Cody or other young pitchers who may not be ready.

The Rangers had Jerad Eickhoff at the alternate training site on a Minor League contract. Texas could use multiple veteran pitchers as candidates to fill the rotation behind Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles so it can make prudent decisions about Cody, Taylor Hearn, Joe Palumbo, John King and others. The Rangers have talented young arms, but they must use them wisely.

Bullpen
The Rangers need right-hander José Leclerc and left-hander Joely Rodríguez healthy again. If so, they can build a strong bullpen that includes Rafael Montero, Jonathan Hernández and Brett Martin. They also have Jimmy Herget, Demarcus Evans, Ian Gibaut and Luke Farrell as strong candidates.

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.