With Friday being the deadline for protecting players from the Rule 5 draft, the Red Sox have added three prospects to their 40-man roster, leaving just one space empty. The lucky additions are catcher Luis Exposito, pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, and infielder Oscar Tejeda.
Exposito is about the closest thing the Red Sox have to a catcher-of-the-future at the moment, logging a solid if unimpressive season in Double-A Portland. Stolmy Pimentel, too, was unimpressive statistically in his High-A Salem debut, but is a well regarded high-ceiling prospect. Of the three, only Oscar Tejeda had a surprisingly good season, batting .307/.344/.455 with 11 home runs and 17 stolen bases--albeit feuled by a high BABIP.
The Red Sox have some notable names still available, but most will likely be passed over due to their age and development. Some of the standouts include breakout pitchers Manny Rivera and Cesar Cabral, Eastern League All-Star infielder Nate Spears, and former first round pick Jason Place. Perhaps the two players most likely to be selected are relief pitchers Jason Rice, who has put up strong numbers between Double-A and the AFL, and Dan Turpen, who came over from San Francisco in the Ramon Ramirez trade and has been rather less impressive on the same teams.
While the Sox do have only one empty slot left on their 40-man roster, there's plenty of space that could be freed up. Candidates for removal include Hideki Okajima, Eric Patterson, Matt Fox, Mark Wagner, and Brent Dlugach--so likely no great losses even if they are picked up off of waivers. I'd definitely rather have Jason Rice safe than Matt Fox, and Nate Spears would probably be an improvement over Eric Patterson, too. But by now it's too late.
The Rule 5 draft will be held on December 9th.