Boston Red Sox call up first wave of September reinforcements
By Sean Penney
The Next Wave
The Red Sox roster currently has 30 active players in the big leagues, but more could be on the way. While they won’t necessarily add everyone from the 40-man roster, another wave of call-ups can be expected when the minor league season ends next week.
Christian Vazquez should be considered at the top of the list for the next batch up call-ups. He has shown a little improvement at the plate since his demotion to Pawtucket, hitting .270 with a .719 OPS in 41 games. Even if that offensive production doesn’t carry over to the majors, he remains a valuable asset for his elite defensive work behind the plate.
The Red Sox have held off on calling Vazquez back to Boston because they didn’t want him to spend most of his time sitting on the bench behind the hot-hitting Leon, but once Pawtucket’s season is over then there is no harm in bringing him up. He could quickly surpass Hanigan and Holaday as the backup to Leon and could steal more playing time if he proves he can hit at this level.
The Red Sox remain hopeful that Andrew Benintendi will make a September return, so the roster expansion will allow the team to activate him without a corresponding move. In the meantime, they may bolster their outfield depth with Bryce Brentz, who hit .279 in 25 games with the Red Sox earlier this season.
The bullpen will need more reinforcements, so Heath Hembree and Noe Ramirez are both candidates to return. Roenis Elias has experience as a reliever, while the Red Sox could consider shifting Henry Owens or Brian Johnson to the bullpen if they find themselves in need of more lefties. It would be a good way to allow them to gain more big league experience, while also managing their workloads.
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Koji Uehara should be back soon after a couple of successful bullpen sessions. If he can return to anything resembling his previous form then he provides the Red Sox with a tremendous late-inning upgrade.
William Cuevas and Williams Jerez are the other two members on the 40-man roster, but seem less likely to make an impact.