Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal made an astute point on Twitter earlier today, after pointing out that the Red Sox' 40-man roster is currently full. It's why Cody Ross's deal remains unofficial, even though it's done:
Signing Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson isn't impossible, but Boston will have to designate two players for assignment in order to get to the point where both Cody Ross and the new free agent pitcher could be on the roster. As MacPherson suggests, a trade might be the simplest way to do this, assuming someone else is willing to deal. Gavin Floyd, anyone?
Felix Doubront is on the 40-man and out of options. He could plug Floyd's spot in the rotation for the White Sox, who are in a position to see if he could start. Maybe the White Sox would also be willing to take a chance on someone like Che-Hsuan Lin, or Michael Bowden, or even Lars Anderson -- not so much for their value, in terms of the latter two, but because the White Sox are not going to be very good in 2012 and can roll the dice on former prospects.
The real value of any Floyd deal is going to come from the lower minors. Drake Britton and Stolmy Pimentel, both on the 40-man and in the lower minors, likely won't appeal to Chicago given their recent struggles, but you never know: this is the team that just dealt for the struggling Simon Castro (5.63 ERA and a demotion to Double-A in 2011) in the Carlos Quentin deal. The White Sox have four open spots on their 40-man, so they have the room to take low-cost risks in bulk in addition to a real prospect or two, someone like Brandon Jacobs.
Floyd might end up being the deal that makes the most sense, as at least Boston can feel as if they are getting something in exchange for fixing this roster crunch, and Chicago is in a position to take chances with the former prospects and high-ceiling, low minors types that Boston seems flush with.