When Craig Breslow was not tendered a contract this off-season, many Red Sox fans with short memories (forgetting his 1.81 ERA in 2013 and 2.45 in that postseason) probably wished he was gone. Sports are a “what have you done for me lately” profession and Breslow’s miserable 2014 made the decision to decline his $4.5 million 2015 option an easy one. According to reports, Breslow had a serious offer from the Cubs. The Mets were also interested. By bringing back Breslow, the Red Sox will need to clear a 40 man roster spot for him. The Red Sox have ten days to trade a player, put him through waivers, or release him outright.
Let’s take a look at the prime candidates to be DFA’d (designated for assignment).
1. Dan Butler might be the most likely candidate for DFA. With Christian Vazquez, newly acquired Ryan Hanigan and prime prospect Blake Swihart waiting in the wings, the team probably sees Butler as expendable. An indication of what the team thinks of Butler is that he was on the roster for 45 days last year, and only managed to get into seven games, with five of them starts. He was four for 19 with three doubles. If the Red Sox want to keep him, he would be the most likely to get through waivers given that he is 28, which is an advanced age to still be considered a “prospect”.
2. Steven Wright would be a little more difficult to DFA at this point. After a rocky first taste of the majors in 2013 (5.40 ERA and 10 walks in 13.1 innings), Wright settled in more in 2014, posting a 2.57 over 21 innings, walking only four and striking out 22. It is possible teams might be scared away at the fact that he is a knuckleballer primarily, which is an unpredictable pitch. The Red Sox have a built-in knuckleball mentor in 200 game winner Tim Wakefield who has worked with Wright extensively. Wright’s success last year would likely make the Red Sox very reluctant to try and sneak him through waivers to get Breslow on the 40 man roster.
3. Port-sider Drake Britton seemed on the cusp of staying in the major leagues after extensive time with the Red Sox at the major league level. After his call up on July 20, 2013, Britton spent the rest of the season at the majors, posting a 3.86 ERA (3.05 FIP) in 21 innings with 17 strikeouts. The 2014 season was a step back for Britton as he did not make the major league club out of Spring Training, languishing in Pawtucket, posting a 5.86 ERA and an abysmal 1.97 WHIP in 58 innings walking 38 and striking out 37, until his call-up in September. Britton did not allow a run in his 6.2 innings in September with Boston, perhaps pitching with the idea that his spot in the organization could be on the line. As a left-hander with success at the major league level, it is hard to believe the Red Sox would try to get him through waivers, but it’s possible they value someone like Wright more as a swingman, now that the lefty Breslow is coming back.
It would seem an obvious decision that Butler would be the one to lose his 40 man spot due to the Red Sox depth at catcher.
Which player off the 40 man roster do you think should lose his spot? Leave me a comment below to voice your opinion.