When the Rangers signed Andrew Heaney to a two year deal last offseason, the hope was that he would be a source of reliable innings at the back end of the Texas rotation. However, that hasn't been how things have worked out and he now faces the very real possibility that he won't be contributing at all in the playoffs.
Instead of being a rotation workhorse, the Rangers started utilizing Heaney out of the bullpen in September and the results have been decidedly mixed. However, with Martin Perez also making that same transition and being more effective in that role than Heaney combined with the fact that Max Scherzer MIGHT be able to return for the postseason, there just doesn't seem like there is much room for a decidedly meh arm like Heaney.
The Rangers' pitching staff has earned a certain amount of scorn and has several candidates to be culled from the playoff roster, but one name that may not make the cut is Josh Sborz. When Sborz is right, he can be a very valuable arm out of the Rangers bullpen. However, his is a case where an injury layoff could create enough uncertainty that other bullpen arms need to be considered.
Sborz has been recovering from a hamstring injury for the last month or so and only just got activated on Wednesday from the IL. Texas will likely want to see how he looks in his return because, well, they need all the quality arms they can get. However, all of that potential rust going into a playoff series when Jake Latz pitched well in Sborz's absence may mean that Josh ends up getting left off the roster especially if he struggles these last few games of the season.
The Rangers have a ton of lefties in their bullpen which makes losing righthanders a little more dubious. However, that shouldn't be an excuse to carry a subpar bullpen arm and that is where trying to carry Jonathan Hernandez on the playoff roster becomes problematic.
In 31 appearances for the Rangers this season, Hernandez has posted a 5.70 ERA and 4.76 FIP in 30 innings of work. For the second straight season, his walk rate has been too high and he has also seen a big jump in the number of home runs he gives up in 2023 as well. In the pressure cooker environment that is the postseason, Texas doesn't need a guy that is going to be giving opponents free baserunners and ample opportunities to change a game with one swing of a bat.