Non-roster invitee means you get a chance. This is the other side of camp. No $500,000 worth of bling. No Bentley. No five room luxury condo. No contract into the 100M range. An isolated locker and a number that resembles an area code. No ESPN spending time with you. But, hey, look at what happened to Daniel Nava. I could be next.
The group is traditionally broken into two segments. The first contains names like Brian Johnson, Henry Owens and Deven Marrero. This group is on the fast track to the Big Club or at least to get some exposure in hopes of swinging a deal elsewhere.They will eventually be on the 40 man roster. As a fan of Roald Dahl this group holds a “Golden Ticket” or at least a “Golden Promise.” They may, some day, have that Bentley, bling and condo.
Now comes group two.
Within this segment are players that at one time may have actually been part of the first group, but professional deficiencies, injuries or just bad baseball karma has placed them in a very tenuous employment position.
The résumé of some are rather intriguing. The idea is to impress and get employment with either Boston or another club. Most likely some will be released, others will be at Pawtucket and a few will find a slot elsewhere. Every at bat and pitch could be a career changing situation. A lasting positive or negative expression.
Three catchers with an extensive baseball travel log are with the Red Sox this spring. Luke Montz is a 31-year-old right-hand hitter with 23 MLB games and 49 at bats. Montz, as a DH, recently hit a home run. Humberto Quitero is three years older and with 12 years of MLB toil with several teams. A third catcher, Matt Spring, is also in camp. Spring has no MLB experience and is 30 years-old. Shades of Dan Butler?
The pitchers have some familiar names if you watch the transaction wires. Dana Eveland, Felipe Paulino and Mitchell Boggs all have experience in the majors with varying degrees of success and disappointment. Teams are constantly on the lookout for anyone with a pulse and a sturdy right or left arm.
Noe Ramirez, Miguel Celestino, Dalier Hinojosa and Keith Couch are all in camp and never have thrown a ball at the MLB level. This could well be the last opportunity for each unless they suddenly stand out. With no MLB experience and the baseball clock running up the years it may be scant hope to bag a 25 man slot.
A familiar name is roaming around – and rather fast – this spring. Quintin Berry has that perfect 25 for 25 in steals going over stays with three teams. If baseball actually had a designated runner – forget Herb Washington – Berry would have a job.
The rest of the roster has no chance with Boston, but a chance with Pawtucket or elsewhere. All are veterans who are attempting to secure a look here on elsewhere. Jemile Weeks has already impressed and will probably be offered a stay at Pawtucket unless another team steps in.
What is true is players on the cusp look at that transaction line. Who is injuries? Who is traded? Who is having “personal issues?” Whose arm may be a bit sore? Opportunities for the non-roster invitees often are based on the poor circumstances of others.