Are the Texas Rangers preparing to trade Jose Leclerc?

The Texas Rangers are loading up with minor league free agents prior to spring training, but is that part of a bigger plan for one key bullpen piece?

With days until the beginning of spring training, the Texas Rangers are gearing up for a full, non-pandemic shortened season.

Is it possible that they continue onto this season without closer Jose Leclerc?

Possibly, and here’s why.

All MLB teams are in search of pitching depth, and the Rangers are no different.

The Texas Rangers are scheduled to bring in 13 non-roster pitchers this spring, with eight of those fighting for big league roster spots.

Spencer Patton, Nick Vincent, Hunter Wood, Jharel Cotton and Matt Bush are all potential candidates to make the Rangers Opening Day bullpen, but in order to do so, someone has got to go.

His name is Jose Leclerc.

Jose Leclerc could be out with the Texas Rangers

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve detailed before what kind of return that Leclerc could fetch for the Texas Rangers, and spring training would be an ideal time to deal him.

If he comes into camp and is healthy, pitches well and shows he can regain his elite 2018 form, Leclerc will be an intriguing option for all 29 teams.

If not in or by the end of spring training, then definitely by the trade deadline.

His departure will be difficult in the short-term, yes, but the Texas Rangers farm system is loaded with quality relief pitchers.

Alex Speas, Fernery Ozuna, Joe Barlow and Cole Uvila are just a few names that are not on the 40-man roster, but will be shortly.

Demarcus Evans, Brett de Geus, John King, Jimmy Herget and Jonathan Hernandez are all young, controllable guys that will be in the Texas bullpen this season and for years to come.

Not to mention the list of NRIs I had mentioned above, providing veteran bullpen presences that could fill the void that a Jose Leclerc trade would leave.

A controllable stud in the bullpen is always appealing for a Major League team, as well.

Jose Leclerc’s team-friendly deal is perfect for teams like the Yankees, Phillies, Braves and Cardinals because of their windows of contention.

Leclerc’s contract runs through 2022 with team options for the 2023-24 seasons.

He will be a staple in someone’s bullpen for a long time.

As the Texas Rangers have accrued relief pitching depth and have shifted the course of the franchise, Jose Leclerc’s role has become fluid.

He has essentially been replaced.

With the amount of depth the Rangers have in camp, it would not be surprising to see a Jose Leclerc trade in the very near future.