Boston Red Sox: Three players out of minor league options

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 27: Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 27, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 27: Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 27, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

A look at the three Boston Red Sox players out of options

The Red Sox roster has three players with a common connection – they are all out of options. A player with less than five years of service time that has used up their three options must clear waivers to be sent to the minors. Each year teams pluck players from the waiver wire. Claiming a player off waivers can be costly since you absorb their contract – just think Rusney Castillo. A complete description of the process can be reviewed here.

"Players on a 40-man roster are given three Minor League “options.” An option allows that player to be sent to the Minor Leagues (“optioned”) without first being subjected to waivers. Players who are optioned to the Minors are removed from a team’s active 26-man roster but remain on the 40-man roster. – MLB Glossary"

Austin Brice is now 28-years-old and the righty is no stranger to waivers. Three times Brice has been through the process in his professional career with the Red Sox, Marlins, and Reds, a career that consists of a 4-4 record. Brice has tossed 148.1 innings over 126 games. A career 22.2 K% and 8.7 BB%.

Boston acquired Brice via a trade with the Marlins in January or 2020. He took the hill in 21 games, pitched to a 5.95 ERA/4.92 FIP, and finished the season with a 0.1 fWAR. Brice relies on two basic pitches – a fastball (93.7 MPH) and a slider (81.8 MPH).

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The Red Sox thought enough of Brice to not release him and reached a contract agreement to avoid arbitration. Brice will be paid $870,000 for 2021 and will be part of the roster scrum for the bullpen. If Brice is on the outside looking in he would be a 50/50 shot to clear waivers.

Fellow right-hander Nick Pivetta is considered part of the mix for a cherished position in the rotation. Pivetta came to Boston in a trade that saw Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree head south to Philadelphia.

Pivetta made two starts for the Red Sox and certainly impressed after a disastrous early-season flameout with the Phillies. He had a small sample of just ten innings, but captured two wins in those starts and created enough positive vibe that the former high-ranking prospect may have put it together.

Pivetta has a respectable assortment of pitches, a fastball, slider, curve, and change. His heater can reach the mid-90s. In 2017-2018, Pivetta took on a bottom of the rotation role for the Phillies making 58 starts with less than impressive results either in wins and losses or metrics.

Pivetta is pre-arbitration and is on the books for $575,000. A good season will be profitable for both the Red Sox and Pivetta. He will have to implode to be placed on waivers and if that happened with his MLB experience he would be plucked off waivers.

Christian Arroyo is a former first-round pick (2013) who is no stranger to being optioned to the minors. Regarding waivers, that is exactly how the 25-year-old right-hand-hitting infielder arrived in Boston. Boston selected Arroyo off the waiver wire when Cleveland posted him as such.

Arroyo then became a pleasant surprise, hitting .240 but also slammed three home runs in his 54 plate appearances with the good guys. Arroyo has never been considered a power hitter having nine as his season-best while deep in the minor league bushes (A+) while laboring for the Giants system.

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Arroyo’s late-season push with Boston has placed him in the mix for either second base or a utility infield spot. With Michael Chavis, Enrique Hernandez, and Marwin Gonzalez in the blender, Arroyo’s chances may be dependent on a strong spring or even injuries. At $575,000, Arroyo is certainly payroll manageable and a good spring could have him as a trade possibility. Little chance he would slide through waivers.