This season, rosters are expanding to 26 players. In an effort to stem the tide of endless bullpenning, or prevent it from increasing, only thirteen players can be pitchers.

The Rangers still have a lot of work to be done with their position players if they want to be competitive with Houston and Oakland in the A.L. West. 

One decision is at catcher. It’s been suggested by the front office that the Rangers could take three catchers. 

That is just GM speak. It seems highly unlikely they would spend that valuable twenty-sixth slot on a third catcher. If so, it would mean they don’t have better alternatives for a bat off the bench. And that would mean an exceptionally long season ahead.

Of course, Robinson Chirinos is the primary catcher. So the backup role is a choice between Jose Trevino or Jeff Mathis. That seems like a choice between vacationing in Indiana or vacationing in Afghanistan.

One or the other. The Rangers don’t need both. 

For a team that is not in win-now mode, Mathis makes no sense. He is not the future and playing him only takes away from the valuable development of Trevino. It’s not like at third base where newly-signed Todd Frazier is all they have. 

Even if they were in a win-now mindset, Mathis makes no sense. He is an offensive embarrassment. And the intangibles aren’t there, either. The Rangers had a losing record in games Mathis started, going 36-39.

Mathis was, for the most part, Mike Minor’s personal catcher, behind the plate in 27 his 32 starts. Minor was 10-9 with 8 no decisions with Mathis catching him. He was 4-1 with Trevino (four games) and Kiner-Falefa (one) catching him.

Mathis started 23 of Lance Lynn’s 33 games. Lynn was 9-8 with 6 no decisions. He was 5-2 with Kiner-Falefa catching him and 2-1 with Trevino.

Overall, the Rangers were 16-13 in games Trevino started.

Trevino may not be the long-term solution at catcher but it makes sense to see what he can do for an entire season before you make that determination. And the Rangers don’t have anyone else near ready.

If they do indeed keep Mathis over Trevino, that will pretty much tell you everything about what they really think of Trevino. 

For now the Rangers have three catchers on their 40-man roster. What will matter is how many they take on their 26-man. This is one of the intriguing issues spring training will solve. Now, it just needs to get here.