The Boston Red Sox have traded infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later or cash.
The logjam of utility infielders on the Boston Red Sox bench just got a bit lighter.
The team announced on Saturday that they have traded away infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamond backs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
Marrero was locked in a spring roster battle with Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Tzu-Wei Lin. Boston also has Eduardo Nunez in the mix for utility players, although he’ll begin the season as the primary second baseman while Dustin Pedroia recovers from knee surgery.
Swihart has been raking all spring. While his batting average has dipped to .267 entering the day, he’s tallied three home runs and seven doubles through 22 games. He’s still learning how to play the infield but he’s also a capable corner outfielder and can serve as the team’s third catcher. Swihart is out of minor league options so his strong spring cemented his roster spot.
Lin still has minor league options. His struggles at the plate this spring made him an easy choice to be optioned to Pawtucket.
That left Marrero competing with Holt for the last bench spot. Marrero is out of options so he couldn’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. Holt does have a minor league option left, although sending the former All-Star to Pawtucket would be a tough sell.
Marrero essentially fell victim to a numbers game. He’s a career .208 hitter with very little pop in his bat. However, he possesses the best glove of the utility options the Red Sox brought to camp. With below-average defensive players in Nunez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers covering the infield, Boston could have used a steady glove off the bench to help protect a late lead.
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His pedestrian numbers at the plate limited Marrero’s trade value. A player to be named later is typically a low-level prospect. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement on that prospect then the Red Sox will settle for cash. They may as well have asked for a bag of balls. This deal is about Boston having no room left for Marrero, not about seeking value in the trade.
The trade also frees up a 40-man roster spot. This could be another factor for why Boston agreed to take back a PTBNL. Now they can add a non-roster invitee from camp, such as Bobby Poyner. If the Red Sox plan to carry a lefty in the bullpen to start the season, their recent moves point strongly at Poyner earning that role.
While the Red Sox may have been left with little choice but to move on from Marrero, it’s no surprise that Arizona jumped at the chance to steal him away for practically nothing. Assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye was the Red Sox’s amateur scouting director when Boston drafted Marrero in the first round of the 2012 draft. Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen was the Red Sox assistant GM at the time.
A fresh start in Arizona may be just what Marrero needs. He’ll have a clearer path to playing time and the National League style will be more forgiving of his limitations at he plate.