Daniel Nava had a rough start to 2014, and while it appeared he shook it off, his 2015 has gone exponentially worse. He's run out of chances with the Red Sox because of it, as, according to Alex Speier, the team designated him for assignment on Thursday to make room on the roster for reliever Jonathan Aro.
Nava has hit just .152/.260/.182 in 29 games, and his 10 contests at Triple-A Pawtucket weren't awe-inspiring, either. The 32-year-old outfielder and first baseman might not be finished, but he might also be struggling too much for anyone to take a shot at him given he would take up a 40-man roster spot.
That's likely what the Red Sox are banking on: if Nava clears waivers, he can be sent to Triple-A and try to work out his issues there. If he doesn't clear waivers, and he's claimed by someone else, well, it might be a shame to lose his last two years of arbitration. But given he has an 88 OPS+ over the last two seasons, that chance is only slightly larger than that of his being claimed in the next few days.
No trade market forming for Mike Napoli
Mike Napoli is hot at the plate, and there's a few teams that have been named as potential suitors. But that doesn't mean there's an actual market for the first baseman.
Nava has been a useful and versatile player for the Red Sox for much of this decade, as he debuted in 2010 as a 27-year-old and and has an above-average OPS+ for his career even with the recent downturn. He was part of the 2013 World Championship Red Sox team, in which he was one of their most productive batters thanks to a platoon with Jonny Gomes, and was immediately embraced by fans thanks to his life story of beating the odds and thriving in the game no one else seemed to want him to play.
Let's not get all weepy yet, though: Nava isn't out of the organization, he's just not in the majors, so he might still exist as a depth piece with a chance to redeem himself once more.
As for Aro, he's an up-and-down reliever, but that's what the Red Sox need after seeing the White Sox hit them hard the last few games. Aro can come in, throw innings if necessary, then head back down once the Red Sox no longer need the insurance of his presence around. Or, depending on if the Sox make deadline moves, he could be back in Triple-A as soon as this weekend to make room for someone else.
In addition to this move, the Red Sox also optioned lefty Tommy Layne to Pawtucket, and brought up Jean Machi to take his spot. Boston recently claimed Machi on waivers from the Giants, and while he's not the most exciting arm, he has succeeded in the past, and it makes sense for the Sox to take a shot on him at this point in the season.
Layne has his uses, but he should be facing lefties only, as he's been a disaster against right-handed batters in his career. He was also never meant to be up as long as he has been, but the bullpen, as with much of the Red Sox this year, has not exactly gone according to plan.