Boston Red Sox make some surprising spring training roster cuts
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox trimmed their spring training roster by assigning some players to minor league camp while several others were optioned to the minors.
A crowded clubhouse at JetBlue Park feels a bit emptier after the Boston Red Sox made their latest wave of spring roster cuts.
We’ve reached the point in camp where teams begin to whittle down their roster by cutting those who aren’t in consideration for a spot on the Opening Day roster. These players remain with the organization but aren’t a part of big league camp, creating a path to more playing time for the regular starters who will begin to ramp up their activity as we inch towards the start of the season.
The club announced on Sunday that they have reassigned eight players to minor league camp.
The pair of prospects acquired in the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers highlight this group. As bright as their futures may be, both are destined to begin the season in Double-A.
Jeter Downs appeared over-matched against more experienced pitching, striking out eight times in 17 at-bats. The 21-year-old was young for the Double-A level last year and isn’t quite ready to be facing big league-caliber pitchers.
Connor Wong displayed his raw power with a couple of home runs this spring but his success isn’t going to vault him from Double-A to the majors this quickly. Boston needs to give more playing time to Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy as they battle for the backup catcher role.
Tanner Houck is one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system. The thin pitching depth on the major league roster led to speculation that Houck would be a dark horse candidate to break camp with the team. That concept faded after he coughed up five earned runs and walked six batters in 6 1/3 innings this spring.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
The Red Sox optioned five other players to Triple-A Pawtucket. Outfielder Marcus Wilson was optioned to Double-A Portland and pitcher Yoan Aybar was optioned to High-A Salem.
The most surprising cut from this group is infielder Bobby Dalbec, who many believed had a legitimate chance at cracking the Opening Day roster. His chances took a hit when Boston re-signed Mitch Moreland but a platoon role at first base seamed feasible for Dalbec. Getting cut this early indicates the Red Sox don’t view him as being ready yet.
Dalbec hit a meager .227 with a .775 OPS this spring. The top power threat in the Red Sox farm system should make his major league debut at some point in 2020 but he won’t be with the team on Opening Day.
Mike Shawaryn did little to impress in his brief call up last year but he should get another chance to work out of the bullpen. He was expected to be in consideration with the Red Sox toying with the idea of using an opener. Instead, he gets cut after only being used for 2 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances.
The Red Sox now have 47 players in camp, including 33 on the 40-man roster and 14 non-roster invitees. More cuts will follow over the next couple of weeks as the Red Sox trim their roster down to the 26 players who will open the season with the major league club.