The latest round of roster cuts out of Red Sox camp is a doozy: Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Sam Travis, Heath Hembree, Roman Mendez, and Ryan LaMarre are all headed to the minors, leaving the roster at 39.
The first three names are the big ones, with Johnson and Owens the two who actually seemed to have a shot of breaking camp with the team. With Eduardo Rodriguez sidelined, the Red Sox were in need of a fifth starter, and both Owens and Johnson were members of the (unusually long) first line of defense for Boston. Neither man did particularly well in their spring auditions though, combining to allow 14 runs in just 18 innings of work. If spring training statistics are notoriously unreliable, they certainly didn't help their cause any.
Sam Travis, on the other hand, did nothing but help his. In 28 at bats, Travis managed to produce 15 hits, including two home runs, becoming one of those minor spring training sensations that (arguably) make March bearable year-in and year-out. Still, if he helped his case, Travis was never really in the mix for a spot on the 25-man roster, having never played above Double-A Portland. If nothing else, though, he may have put himself on the fast track to Pawtucket, and John Farrell certainly will have him in mind should the team have need of a first baseman somewhere down the line.
Of the other cuts, Heath Hembree is the player who likely had the best shot at making the roster. Once the closer of the future in San Francisco, Hembree has struggled to make his way to the forefront of the bullpen conversation in Boston, managing just 25 decent innings with the team last year. He's on his last option, though, so we're getting to now-or-never territory for the 27-year-old who made his debut with the Giants back in 2013.
Roman Mendez, once traded to Texas in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal, might also find his way into that conversation after making his way back to Boston from Texas. He has a fastball that's been known to flirt with triple digits. So far, though, he's struggled to put it all together at the majors, and needs to find a way to get batters to swing even when he doesn't put it right down the pipe.