With four days until opening day, the Rangers roster is getting closer to being set.
Yesterday the Rangers sent nineteen players to their training site. That, according to T.R. Sullivan of mlb.com, leaves them with 39 players.
That means nine players are playing the next four days for a roster spot.
Much of the competition is all in the bullpen. The rotation was set before spring training started in February. And, with Ronald Guzman hitting .125 and Greg Bird hitting .143, it appears neither player had risen to the challenge of taking the job, instead handing it to Todd Frazier.
Right now there are thirteen relievers fighting for what will probably be ten slots in the bullpen. We know who won’t be in the competition.
Not making the opening day bell are former All-Star closer Cody Allen, along with Derek Law, Juan Nicasia, Demarcus Evans, and Wei-Chieh Huang.
Brett Martin is now cleared to play after his run-in with COVID but won’t have the chance to get in enough work to make the opening day squad.
But with the Rangers rotation perhaps the best it’s ever been, this might be the one year where the bullpen isn’t as important. Managers can push starters more because they are only going to be asked to start about a dozen games. And this is the first time the Rangers have had so many starters they can push.
That’s not to say the bullpen isn’t important but this isn’t like years past when the Rangers go into the season with starters who realistically aren’t qualified to go more than four or five innings a game, putting a lot of burden on the bullpen.
This Rangers rotation should amass innings. Meaning, the key to the bullpen is going to be the closer. Jose Leclerc. Which one is showing up this year?
Four days until opening day. The boredom of inter-squad games in non-essential news is waring off. The sixty-day sprint is almost here.
Let’s hope this season the bullpen isn’t a story.