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Red Sox sign Ryan Roberts

The Red Sox have signed Ryan Roberts to a major league contract,

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

UPDATE: Brock Holt to Triple-A, Steven Wright to the 60-day disabled list it is.


The Red Sox have agreed to a major league deal with infielder Ryan Roberts according to his representation.

The move comes right on the tail of Will Middlebrooks landing on the disabled list with a calf injury, which leaves two ways to look at this. Either the Red Sox are in the position to splurge on a depth signing like Roberts given how much financial flexibility they have after the departure of Ryan Dempster, or Middlebrooks is likely to miss quite a bit more than the minimum 15 days.

Even given their financial flexibility, this signing is not without consequence for the Red Sox. With a full 40-man roster, the Sox need to find someone to drop or place on the 60-day disabled list just to fit Roberts in.

There are a few obvious candidates to take that hit. First and foremost is probably Alex Wilson. The second-round pick from the 2009 draft is in limbo, unable to establish himself as part of the major league bullpen. At 27 years old, Wilson is at the point where he has to find his way to a big league team, and the Red Sox have better bullpen depth options.

Beyond Wilson, there's Ryan Lavarnway and Steven Wright. The former has fallen from a catching prospect with a big bat to a designated hitter with none. All questions of his offense translating to the majors aside, he's following in the footsteps of so many other interesting prospects who produce insane offensive numbers in the minors, can't make the jump, and then after struggling in the majors, can't even hit Triple-A pitching anymore. The chances the Sox see any real value from him is pretty minuscule at this point.

But the Red Sox can likely put off such a decision for the moment thanks to Steven Wright. The knuckleballer is out until at least May, meaning a move to the 60-day disabled list seems reasonable.

As for Roberts himself, he's at least likely an upgrade on Brock Holt. He provides some decent numbers against left-handed pitchers, and provides defensive flexibility with his ability to handle multiple positions. He isn't an impact player by any means, but right now the Red Sox need to weather an early injury storm, and Roberts can help cover their deficiencies in the infield, and potentially the outfield as well. Given the low cost, this move makes sense, even if it's necessitated by a situation Red Sox fans wish they weren't in to begin with.