The Rangers, like every team in baseball, have had the luxury of an expanded roster for the past month with September call-ups, and when the season ended, they had 38 players on the active roster.
But before Thursday's postseason opener in Toronto, the Rangers and everyone else must cut their roster back to the 25 they play the first five months of the season with.
After a lot of guesswork and some spitballin', here's a pretty viable roster that I came up with if Jeff Banister and Jon Daniels would like to take notes:
C: Robinson Chirinos/Chris Gimenez (2)
1B: Mitch Moreland/Mike Napoli (2)
2B: Rougned Odor/Hanser Alberto (2)
SS: Elvis Andrus (1)
3B: Adrian Beltre (1)
Thoughts: Two catchers, with Gimenez catching Cole Hamels and Chirinos the rest. Mike Napoli starts against lefties, Moreland against righties, and Hanser Alberto is the utility infielder in case of injury.
OF: Josh Hamilton/Delino DeShields/Shin-Soo Choo/Drew Stubbs/Will Venable (5)
DH: Prince Fielder (1)
Thoughts: Fielder is a no-brainer at DH, as he's settled into that role well this year. I'm carrying Venable and Stubbs here as defensive replacements in left and center field for late in the game if there's a Rangers lead. Hamilton has to be an everyday starter in left field after he showed in the last seven games that his knee is well enough, and his timing at the plate has been improving.
SP: Cole Hamels/Yovani Gallardo/Derek Holland/Colby Lewis (4)
Thoughts: Perez is the odd man out here, partly because of his unpredictability coming off Tommy John surgery and partly because the Blue Jays kill lefties, so you don't need three of them. Perez has pitched well his last two times out, but you never know what you're going to get next.
Long relief: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (1)
LHP Relief: Jake Diekman/Andrew Faulkner (2)
RHP Relief: Sam Dyson/Keone Kela/Shawn Tolleson/Luke Jackson (4)
Thoughts:Perez would be the long man if not for the Blue Jays' tendency to kill left-handers, so the righty Gonzalez gets the nod, and he's been good in his role for the past month or so. Sam Freeman also takes a seat, and Faulkner is a Wild Card because of the fact the Rangers shouldn't need many lefties with the Jays' righty-heavy lineup. For that reason, Luke Jackson is in the fold because he has swing-and-miss stuff when he's on and he throws from the right side. It'd be throwing the youngster into the fire, sure, but if he's on, he's tough.
Final Wild Card: Leonys Martin. The veteran has a great tool in his defense and his arm in center field, but he's not going to contribute at the plate and his baserunning is a question mark given his long layoff. But, if the Rangers wanted to carry him for defensive purposes, Faulkner could be left off and you ride with Diekman as your only lefty out of the bullpen, but that's a risky proposition.