Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The non-tender deadline is Friday, Boston's roster is full, and they have an unofficial signing to make room for
Today, November 29, the Red Sox 40-man roster is currently at capacity. The non-tender deadline is Friday, November 30. The Red Sox have a contract with Jonny Gomes agreed upon, but not yet official, in part because their 40-man roster is still full: finalizing the deal would mean making room for Gomes. All of these items point to one thing you can count on: Boston will be making a transaction very soon, possibly in the next 24 hours.
There are candidates to be non-tendered or traded on the roster right now, such as Alfredo Aceves, Ryan Sweeney, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Rich Hill. Boston seems to want to give Aceves another shot, but either Sweeney or Saltalamacchia could intrigue someone in a trade, and Hill is somewhat superfluous as a left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster, especially since he is out of options. They aren't the only pieces that could be moved -- Boston could repeat their three-time trick from Wednesday and trade away a fringe 40-man piece like Pedro Beato in order to clear a spot -- but given the way the roster is constructed, it's very likely one of those four are going to be moved, in some way or another, in the next day.
Boston isn't likely to make more room than they need at any time. For instance, to clear a spot for Gomes, it's likely only one of these players would be non-tendered. Were a trade to occur, where multiple players -- say Salty and Sweeney -- could be moved in one go, that would be different, as the Red Sox would be getting value back in terms of a return as well as the open spots. But if they clear the spot for Gomes with one move, it's unlikely you'll see a flurry of unrelated transactions follow. That is, until the next time the Red Sox sign someone and need to once again make room.
There's a reason behind that philosophy, one Boston holds to often. There's no reason to move any resource that might be later used in a trade or other transaction, not until you have to. Because of that, even if it seems obvious that someone like Ryan Sweeney might not have a place on the 2013 Red Sox, or any of the players they designated last week to clear room on the 40 were obvious cuts from the moment the off-season began, the move won't be made until it has to be made. This is how you end up with an unofficial Jonny Gomes contract for over a week, while Boston works to find a home for a player they might be non-tendering otherwise. That's not a bad thing, by the way, it's just careful, calculated management of resources.
The winter meetings -- one of baseball's busiest transaction periods -- are happening next week, so even if one, two, or all of these players end up still on the roster through Friday, it doesn't mean they'll all stay forever. While there are other players to move in the coming days, weeks, and months, it's tough to know who the players in question are until there's more sense of just who and what it is the Red Sox are buying this off-season.