With last night being the non-tender deadline across major league baseball, there were bound to be a few strange moves around the league. In desire to free up space on their 40-man roster, some teams may non-tender a surprising candidate. No such luck with the Red Sox. Last night, they non-tendered contracts to three players– Scott Atchison, Rich Hill, and Ryan Sweeney– none of whom are terribly surprising. Despite not being surprise non-tenders, however, these players can most certainly bring some value to a ball club, possibly right back in Boston.
Scott Atchison, for example, was a dominant reliever for the early part of the 2012 season. He posted a 2-1 record and a 1.58 ERA in 42 games before tearing a ligament in his elbow which essentially caused him to miss the rest of the year. Atchison isn’t as great as those numbers look, but he is a very solid middle reliever. However, the Red Sox have a glut of solid middle relievers and if they bring him back, I can’t see it being a major league deal despite his marvelous 2012 statistics.
Rich Hill’s story is similar to that of Atchison’s. In limited time with the Red Sox this year, he was very good– putting up a 1.83 ERA in 25 games and 19.2 innings. Considering that he’s a lefty too, he has plenty of value if he can just stay healthy. However, the Red Sox have a good number of players like that, so why would they spend their payroll on another one? Like Atchison, I can only see them bringing him back if it’s a minor league deal.
Ryan Sweeney is a more interesting case than either Atchison or Hill, however. On the outside, it appears that he doesn’t have as much value as either pitcher. He only hit .260/.303/.373 in 2012, but he is a good outfielder and an established major leaguer. Every coach has thought they could coax some power out of his 6’4″ 225 lb frame, but every one has failed as Sweeney has 14 career home runs and had none in 2012. I think someone will pick him up, as the Red Sox also have a glut of mediocre outfielders, but it shouldn’t be the Sox.
None of those players were true surprises, so the Red Sox should turn their focus to the surprises who were non-tendered. Guys like Mark Reynolds, Jair Jurrjens, and Nate Schierholtz were all non-tendered and could play nice roles with a 2013 Red Sox club. Overall, however, there weren’t any real surprises last night, especially with the Red Sox.