Potential Red Sox minor-league deals

Joe Robbins

The Red Sox major-league roster could very well be set right now, but that doesn't mean they have all the depth they need.

With just 36 more days until pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers and the Red Sox begin their preparation to repeat their World Series winning season, Boston's roster is pretty much set. Aside from the possibility of Stephen Drew coming back to join the infield, there aren't many more moves that have been rumored to happen before camp starts. There is the possibility they trade Will Middlebrooks or one of their starting pitchers, but it's entirely possible - almost probable- that the roster looks exactly as it does now on February 15th. That doesn't mean the offseason is entirely over, though, since they still have some depth pieces to add in the form of minor-league contracts. They have a few options in that regard.

Grady Sizemore

If you followed baseball in the mid-to-late 2000's, the possibility of adding Grady Sizemore is probably very exciting, as the memories of him being one of baseball's best players is tough to forget. From 2005 through 2008, he never played less than 157 games in a season, and put up a .281/.372/.496 (128 OPS+) batting line over that span while playing stellar defense in center field and providing positive value on the basepaths. By fWAR, he was the fourth most valuable player in the game during that span. Unfortunately, his career since then has been derailed by injuries. He's now attempting to make a comeback, and would make a lot of sense for Boston. While they feel comfortable going into the season with Mike Carp, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, Jackie Bradley, and Shane Victorino as their outfielders, they don't have a good option if one of Bradley or Victorino is injured for a significant period of time. Sizemore would fill that role in the best possible way. He clearly has the natural abilities, as his prior experience shows. He isn't all that old - at 31, he's just one year older than Jacoby Ellsbury. Finally, he'd give the Red Sox the insurance in the outfield they desire without having to trade one of Carp, Nava or Gomes.

Alex Gonzalez

The last move for Boston this offseason was moving Franklin Morales back to Colorado in exchange for a glove-first utility player in Jonathan Herrera. They still have a void in Pawtucket at shortstop, and adding another defensive-minded veteran to camp to be around Xander Bogaerts certainly couldn't hurt. Gonzalez is getting up there in age at this point, about to enter his age-37 season, and he has just played sparingly for Milwaukee the past couple of seasons. After putting up an abysmal .177/.203/.230 (13 wRC+) line last season, he isn't likely to receive a major-league offer anywhere. That being the case, coming to camp with Boston and acting first as a defensive mentor for Bogaerts in Spring Training, then as insurance in Pawtucket in the regular season seems like a good situation for both sides.

Photo Courtesy of Stephen Dunn

Rich Hill/Joel Hanrahan

These two guys get grouped together because the Red Sox probably don't need to add more than one more insurance policy for the bullpen before Spring Training starts. (Not that they necessarily have to add anything). Rich Hill didn't pitch much in his time in Boston due to injury, but when he was able to take the mound, he pitched very well. He's only one year removed from a 1.83 ERA and 2.64 FIP in Boston. He struggled a bit in his time in Cleveland in 2013 with a 6.28 ERA, but his 3.82 FIP suggests at least part of that was bad luck. He's never going to anchor a bullpen, but you can never have enough left-handed arms for your bullpen.

Hill has all the potential to catch fire for a few weeks in the middle of the summer. Hanrahan is another interesting option, considering how the trade for him is viewed as the lone failure of Ben Cherington from last winter. However, despite his flaws, he's still a high upside arm whose injury means he could be had on a cheap minor-league deal. This is a guy who has high-leverage experience, and an All-Star pedigree. Given how futile bullpen arms can be, Hanrahan could wind up being the most valuable minor-league deal of the offseason if he fails to get a major-league deal from anyone.

Last season, one of the biggest reasons the Red Sox were able to go on such an incredible run was their depth. While the roster as it's currently constructed still has that depth, it could be greater. The way to add to that without messing with the active roster would be minor-league deals with Spring Training invites. Guys like Sizemore, Gonzalez, Hill and Hanrahan would be nice depth pieces, and could fill valuable roles down the road.

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