Possible Red Sox minor league strike casualties on the 40-Man roster
Red Sox 40-man roster minor league players may sit over the strike
Unless you have been residing on one of the moons of Saturn, the Red Sox season is on hold. Negotiations on a resolution are proceeding at a pace that would make the infamous Paris Peace Accords an inviting target. The Accords took five years to iron out. The labor issue will have ramifications for Red Sox players on the 40-man roster and minors. Players on the 40-man are all members of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association.
Baseball options exist at the professional level, with the most noteworthy being Triple-A. For Red Sox fans, that is Worcester and the WooSox. A new ballpark, reasonably priced food and beverage, parking within easy walking distance, and a smattering of former MLB players, hot to trot prospects, and other talents best described as the Peter Principle of baseball.
Buried within the WooSox roster is good and bad news for Red Sox fans. Players on the Red Sox 40-Man roster are expected to stand with their union brothers, and the projected roster for Worcester is demonstrating that potential good and bad news. It all begins as Earl Weaver would say at that little bump in the middle of the diamond.
Connor Seabold, Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, are all 40-Man players. All three of the righties are among the team’s top 30 prospects, and at this juncture of their careers, downtime is undoubtedly not advantageous to their development. Of the three, Crawford and Seabold are the lone recipients of a visit to “The Show.” Crawford was dismembered in a late-season start against Cleveland, and Seabold faired better in a three-inning stint against Chicago.
The bullpen has two additions on the 40-man with right-handers Phillips Valdez and Eduard Bazardo. Both have MLB experience, with Valdez producing surprisingly positive results in 2020 and 2021 going in the opposite direction. Neither is projected for 2022 except for depth – a term classified as baseball inconsequential.
Now an interlude between pitching and position players while others may sit – it is a choice – opportunity filters down the roster food chain. Players in the lower ranks can fast track as rosters shuffle, and a good week or two on the mound or with the stick can get a quick advancement. Others on the 40-man are protected on other rosters, such as Jay Groome. Now back to the WooSox.
Worcester’s ballpark is a launching pad, and for Red Sox fans, they will get to see the future as a left-hand slugger, and Non-40-man Triston Casas will take full advantage of the friendly hitter’s park. Casas is the second-ranked Red Sox prospect and the 18th in MLB. Casas hit .372 in the Arizona Fall League, hit .242 in a brief Worcester appearance, and has solid Olympic credentials.
Former Rule-5 pick Jonathan Arauz will be at second base, but he is on the 40-man and likely will sit out. Arauz’s infielder partner is Jeter Downs and also on the 40-man roster. Downs is at a crucial point in his development, and after a disastrous 2021 (.190), the number five prospect needs to rehabilitate his career.
Just how far can the Red Sox top-ranked prospect and ninth in baseball Marcelo Mayer go? Mayer could advance rapidly as the Rays Wander Franco did.
Catcher Connor Wong only played six games with the Red Sox in 2021 but hit .308 and was solid enough defensively. With the Red Sox catching duo in question after the 2022 season, if there is a 2022 season, then Wong has an opportunity that may languish.
Wong is not the only catcher with opportunities on the table. Ronaldo Hernandez may not display the footwork of Gene Kelly, but the power bat is enticing. Scheduled to back up Wong, one would expect the 23rd ranked Hernandez to get some at-bats somewhere.
That brings us to Jarren Duran. Duran arrived like a great steak that had to be sent back to the kitchen since it was undercooked. Duran had the fizzle and not the sizzle hitting just .215. Despite that embarrassing introduction, the 25-year-old is still ranked 25th in baseball. Sitting out will not help Duran’s cause.
All is not lost for fans going to Worcester as Franchy Cordero is on the team. With the 2021 Red Sox appearing in 48 games, Cordero got an extended look, and Cordero never got untracked and was departed to Worcester, where he killed it.
The Worcester team is also piled high with Non-Roster Invitees (NRI). Some have MLB experience, and just what will be their stance? Will a Cordero or a Zack Kelly choose to sit until the labor issue is settled? Either way, the rosters may start to resemble that strange mix seen during WWII.
No matter the outcome, I will be spending far more time in Worcester than in Boston. Our initial Red Sox road trip to Baltimore is now scrubbed, and other planned trips may follow with or without a settlement. A family gathering planned for Fenway Park in August is toast as far as I am concerned, and I will pick up a 15 person tab for Worcester instead.