The Rangers have made their final cuts, with the decision to send Brett Tomko to Round Rock being the key item of intrigue. The Rangers have until June to promote Tomko before he will have the ability to opt for free agency. Also sent out today were Chris Davis, Craig Gentry and Taylor Teagarden. Here's how the roster shakes out.
Rotation - C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando
Like the Oakland A's, the Rangers will feature a majority of lefties in their rotation. Wilson and Lewis look to repeat the success of each pitcher's first full season as a starter in the major leagues. Harrison and Holland both have a lot to prove, while Ogando figures to be a temporary solution unless he blows everyone's socks off. Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb will race for a return to active duty, while Michael Kirkman and Eric Hurley will try to establish themselves in AAA. Scott Feldman is also on his way back, though his return timetable still isn't clear.
Bullpen - Neftali Feliz, Arthur Rhodes, Darren O'Day, Darren Oliver, Mark Lowe, Pedro Strop, David Bush, Mason Tobin
The Rangers will look for reliable options here while Ogando and high upside (at least as relievers) Michael Kirkman and Tanner Scheppers get looks as starters early in the season. Feliz is back for one more year as a closer before his likely transition next season to a starting role. Veterans O'Day, Oliver, Rhodes and Bush will try to stabilize the pen while Lowe and the two intriguing rookies try to establish themselves as major leaguers. Tomko can be called on in a crunch, and there are a handful of interesting relief arms in AA/AAA. The Rangers would love to see Strop command his pitches and to end the season with three dominant righties in Feliz, Ogando and Strop.
Outfield - Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Julio Borbon
The intrigue here will be Borbon's continued development. His concentration lapses in the spring didn't help him solidify a starting spot, but the front office believes in his defensive ability. Cruz and Hamilton will look to stay healthy as they approach their huge paydays. Murphy or Borbon will have to play against lefties, and that's something that the Rangers may revisit at midseason. The organization lacks high end outfield prospects at the upper levels, with Engel Beltre likely starting in Frisco but still a ways away, but Gentry and Endy Chavez give them nice fill-ins as defense/speed guys if they need to dip down for depth.
Infield/Catcher - Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba, Andres Blanco
Observers will watch April lineups with great interest to see whether Michael Young does in fact play every day (and where) as Ron Washington promised, and what sort of time Moreland and Napoli get, particularly with Napoli's role as the backup catcher. Blanco is the only true "backup" player on the roster. Davis is now on his last option, meaning that after this season he can't be sent down without clearing waivers. He'll likely mash in the minors, but the positional depth created by Young and Napoli could mean that his next big chance doesn't come in Arlington in 2011.