Why the latest Noah Song news is good (not bad) for the Red Sox

Former Red Sox prospect Noah Song
Former Red Sox prospect Noah Song / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Update: The Philadelphia Phillies organization clarified that Noah Song has been moved to "Selective Reserves", meaning he can play professional baseball while still serving his country. This update was communicated by Scott Lauber on Twitter; it does not change the fact that the Phillies (or any other team besides the Red Sox) will be required to carry Song on the 26-man roster for the duration of the season (unless he is injured); if they don't, they will be forced to waive or trade him.

The day the Boston Red Sox had long-awaited for finally arrived; Noah Song has been discharged from his Naval service commitment, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber. The only problem is that he's not a member of the Red Sox organization anymore.

Noah Song's discharge from Naval service commitment is great news for the Red Sox

The team chose to not add him off the 40-man roster this off-season, leaving him unprotected entering the Rule 5 Draft; the Philadelphia Phillies made the decision to select him.

And now we fast-forward to today's news. The decision of Chaim Bloom and the rest of the Red Sox front office to leave Noah Song unprotected entering the Rule 5 draft was scrutinized at the time, and there's no doubt that the organization was disappointed when the Phillies selected him.

However, looking back on how this played out in-light of the news that Song has now been discharged from his military service commitment offers valuable perspective on the risk/reward decision the Red Sox made back in December.

If the Red Sox wanted to eliminate the chance for Noah Song to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, the team would have needed to use a 40-man roster spot. Song, who is regarded as a promising prospect, has only one season of professional experience to his name... and it was back in 2019.

Noah Song, who turns 26 this season, threw only 17 innings for the Lowell Spinners (the short-season A affiliate for the Red Sox) 4 years ago. Those innings were very good (1.06 ERA, 0.882 WHIP, 19 strikeouts, per Baseball Reference), but it's far from a robust sample size of pro ball.

The Red Sox apparently felt that Song was not a priority to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, especially since it was not known when/if he would ever be discharged from the Navy, but the news that he is now discharged may turn out to be a blessing (not a curse) for the Sox.

The Phillies will now be required to keep Noah Song on the active roster for the entire 2023 season (unless Song is injured). If he doesn't cut it at the big-league level, he will need to be waived to remove him from the roster. These rules and limitations are explained in-depth by Baseball America.

If Noah Song is waived/traded by the Phillies, he can be plucked by another team besides the Red Sox. However, that team will be faced with the same active roster requirement that the Phillies currently face now.

If no team claims him or trades for him - which would not be surprising, given that he hasn't pitched professionally in 4 years - the Red Sox would have the option to bring him back in-exchange for the Rule 5 Draft selection fee originally paid by the Phillies.

And the biggest advantage for the Red Sox in this situation is the team's ability to outright Noah Song to the minors when/if he clears waivers. All other teams would be required (as previously mentioned) to use an active roster spot for the entire season to keep Song, a pitcher who in all likelihood is not big-league ready (at least not yet). The Red Sox would not be held to this same requirement.

In closing, the day the Red Sox lost Noah Song to the Rule 5 draft was a disappointing one. Today, on the other hand, is not. Today's news makes it far more likely that Song will find his way back to the Red Sox organization at some point in the near future. We'll see how this plays out!