In August, teams generally place most or all of their trade-able assets on revocable waivers simply to open up options. Once a player is placed on waivers, each team has a chance to place a claim on the player and if they do, they have two days to work out a trade with the team which placed them on waivers. If they cannot make an agreement then the players is pulled back from waivers and is ineligible to be traded. However, if the player is not claimed, then the team has the option to trade with any potentially interested parties.
With the Red Sox struggling like they have in 2014, it makes sense to have the option to trade a couple of pieces that are not likely to be part of the team’s future.
And that certainly represents Breslow and Johnson, neither of whom will likely even be on the team past this season. After a phenomenal 2013 season, in which he played a key role on Boston’s World Championship run with a 1.81 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched (61 appearances), Breslow has disappointed this season. His shaky peripherals (despite posting a 1.81 ERA last season, Breslow’s FIP was almost double that at 3.60) have caught up with him and his ERA has ballooned to 5.01 in 41.1 innings (43 appearances). Johnson, meanwhile, was just acquired from the Yankees in return for Stephen Drew and is yet to make his Red Sox debut. In 227 plate appearances (77 games) for the Yankees, however, he slashed only .219/.304/.373 and, with Brock Holt in the picture, does not look to be a part of Boston’s future.
Neither of these players is likely to be claimed off waivers; however, it does mean that the Red Sox have the option to pull off a minor trade later this month. They’re unlikely to get much in return, but it could be addition by subtraction, allowing the Red Sox to give that roster spot to a younger player. It’s not significant news, but hey, that’s August for you.