The Boston Red Sox are losing left-handed reliever Robby Scott after the Cincinnati Reds claimed him off waivers on Monday.
Robby Scott struggled to find a role with the Boston Red Sox this season. Now he’ll look to find a home in another team’s bullpen.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news that Scott would be leaving Boston, initially indicating that the Red Sox were trading him to the Cincinnati Reds for an uncertain return.
It was later clarified by ESPN’s Buster Olney that Scott was claimed off waivers by the Reds, therefore Boston will lose the lefty for nothing.
The Red Sox apparently tried to sneak Scott through waivers to clear a spot on the 40-man roster while leaving open the possibility that they could keep him in the organization. Those hopes were dashed when Cincinnati swooped in the claim him. The rebuilding Reds now get to take a flier on a lefty reliever with big league experience without having to give up anything in return.
Scott had a breakout year in 2017, tossing 35 2/3 innings out of the Red Sox bullpen while posting a 3.79 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The southpaw was particularly effective against lefties, holding them to a .121 batting average and .527 OPS that season.
Despite a lack of left-handed depth in their bullpen, the Red Sox weren’t able to find a consistent role for Scott this year. He pitched well for Triple-A Pawtucket, owning a 1.86 ERA and 11.7 K/9 in 48 1/3 innings with the Red Sox minor league affiliate. That wasn’t enough to give him much of a chance with the big league club.
When limited opportunities did come his way, Scott failed to translate his minor league success to the majors. He allowed six earned runs in 6 2/3 innings out of Boston’s bullpen. Four of those runs came in brief call-ups in June and July in which he made only one appearance each time before being sent down again. Scott performed slightly better in a September call-up, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings spread across seven appearances. That wasn’t nearly enough improvement to garner any consideration for a postseason roster spot.
The main takeaway from this news is that Boston’s 40-man roster is now down to 39 following the departure of Scott. That frees room for the Red Sox to sign a free agent, with a reliever being the presumed target. That could mean re-signing Craig Kimbrel or Joe Kelly, although the team is considering outside targets on the market. A trade is another conceivable path to bolstering the bullpen.
It’s a shame to lose Scott for nothing. A lefty with proven success at this level has some value which the Red Sox were forced to waste in order to free up a roster spot. He wasn’t likely to make the Opening Day roster and Boston has more pressing needs to fill the void at the back end of the bullpen, making Scott the victim of an unfortunate numbers crunch.