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Teams eyeing Red Sox Steven Wright as a trade target this spring

The knuckler could be a popular man in trade rumors soon, but the Sox need him, too.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Red Sox have starting pitching depth, and as Eduardo Rodriguez's minor knee injury has already shown, that's a good thing. With Rodriguez not expected to miss much time, though, the Sox are still in a position where they might end up with more players than spots for them before too much of 2016 has gone by.

That's one reason that, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, there are a "few" teams keeping an eye on Steven Wright and his spring with "great anticipation." The Sox pitcher is out of options and needs to stick on the big-league roster, or else Boston will lose him on waivers or have to trade him after trying to stick him in the minors once more.

The Sox can begin the season with Wright in the rotation, at least until Rodriguez returns from ramping up for regular season action. Then, Wright can shift to relief, to serve as depth for the rotation as well as to be Boston's long reliever. In lieu of Rodriguez on the Opening Day roster, Boston can assign Edwin Escobar -- who is also out of options -- to the 25-man to begin the year, and then deal with freeing up a roster spot for Rodriguez when the time comes. All it would take is someone else getting hurt or a setback for Rodriguez to keep Escobar's (and Wright's) spot on the roster intact just a little longer.

You don't wish for those things, of course, but you do stockpile depth with the knowledge that they're likely to occur. And that's why, as much as teams might want Steven Wright, you probably won't see the Sox deal him. There is no guarantee that Henry Owens, Roenis Elias, or Brian Johnson are the answer the Sox will seek for any rotation questions that come up in-season. Those three, plus Wright, are depth for not only the currently recovering Rodriguez, but also for Joe Kelly should he not settle into a rotation spot, or for anyone else who gets injured in the starting five. Wright won't be more expendable when Rodriguez returns -- he'll just be serving in a different role.

Unlike Owens, Elias, and Johnson, that role can be on the big-league squad even when he isn't starting, mostly because it has to be thanks to the lack of options. Plus, whatever the Sox could get back for Wright at this stage, when he has just 108 innings of big-league work behind him over three years, won't match up with the value he serves as insurance. So, it's not a great idea from a team-planning nor a value point of view, and that's why Wright isn't likely to go anywhere.