Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox have officially announced the signing of right-handed reliever Koji Uehara, meaning their 40-man roster is now all full up at 40. That wouldn't be an issue, but the signings of Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, and Stephen Drew have yet to be official, meaning that the Red Sox still have to create room before their off-season is over in order to actually achieve what they have on paper at this point.
Most of the 40-man roster is set in stone at this point, now that the Rule 5 deadline has passed, the non-tender date is behind us, and every actual hole the Red Sox had on their roster has been filled, or is in the process of being filled when we're talking about those three unofficial deals. It's not without its movable pieces, though, thanks to a plethora of catchers and relievers.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: The Red Sox have been reportedly attempting to move Salty for a couple of months now, to no avail. This could mean a few things. Maybe the Sox aren't moving him because there isn't enough of a return being discussed, or maybe, in order to get Ryan Lavarnway another season in Triple-A -- much like with Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias -- Salty will remain in the majors for the last year of his contract. Or, maybe a trade just hasn't come to be yet, and now, with the Red Sox looking to open a few spots, some combination deal with relievers and Saltalamacchia could go down. This is a situation that's hard to predict at this point, but with David Ross, Christian Vazquez, Dan Butler, and Salty all on the 40-man, there's no shortage of catcher depth. Even if the list of those who can setup behind the plate in 2013 is shorter.
Mauro Gomez: Gomez is a little less necessary now that Jerry Sands is around. He'll be 28, and has all of 111 plate appearances in the majors to his credit. While he mashed in the International League, it's not as if he's the first guy in his late-20s to do so. He's a nice player to have around for depth, but if it comes down to making room for a superior player like Napoli, Gomez is someone who could end up vanishing.
Pedro Beato, Alfredo Aceves, and Clayton Mortensen comprise a group with potentials to be designated for assignment, as well as traded. Someone like Beato, given he has options remaining, could likely be designated, and even if he's claimed, should be able to bring back a non-roster minor-league player in return. Mortensen was useful in 2012, but part of that utility had to do with his ability to be shuttled back-and-forth between Pawtucket and Boston. Now, without options, and in a bullpen overflowing with right-handed relievers, Mortensen might need to be packaged in a trade to avoid losing him entirely. As for Aceves, the Red Sox seem to want to give him a chance to redeem himself -- understandable, given his excellent 2011 campaign -- but if it comes down to it, they might also prefer to move him before he hurts his value any further. The Red Sox might also want to trade Andrew Miller given his solid 2013 campaign, but should Franklin Morales need to move to the rotation because of injuries to others, that would leave the bullpen with just the one left-handed arm in Craig Breslow.
These are just the obvious options: someone of value could be moved in a trade, depending on what comes back, and then you're talking about far more players who are on the 40-man than you're not. The Red Sox will have to do something, and soon, as it's unlikely all three of those players are just going to sit around until February waiting to officially have a job.