Mike Adams is gone via free agency, and so is Koji Uehara. Mark Lowe is gone via team decision and the Texas Rangers signed a rehabbiing former closer in Joakim Soria in December with Neftali Feliz also on the mend.
So as you can tell, aside from closer Joe Nathan returning, the Rangers' bullpen is most definitely in a transition period, but on Thursday, manager Ron Washington shed some light on what the bullpen might look like when they open the season on March 31 in Houston.
Washington laid out four people who are locks to open the season in the Rangers' bullpen, while all the other spots are up for grabs. The Rangers' manager said Nathan, free agent signee Jason Frasor, Michael Kirkman and former fifth-starter candidate Robbie Ross have all assured themselves of big-league roster spots.
Ross was, at one time, a strong candidate to get the No. 5 rotation spot that opened up when Martin Perez fractured the ulna bone in his left arm, but it was eventually determined Ross wasn't ready to be a big-league starter on top of the fact that he was such a valuable piece of the Rangers' bullpen in 2012 as a rookie surprise.
Other bullpen candidates that still have jobs to win include Josh Lindblom, Nate Robertson, Joe Ortiz and recently signed veteran starter/reliever Derek Lowe, who had a rough outing Thursday against the Angels just three days after pitching three innings on Monday.