Sam Travis, first baseman of the Pawtucket Red Sox and one of Boston's top-10 prospects, has suffered a torn ACL, ending his 2016 season.
Much like with Christian Vazquez, Travis has found himself on the shelf at a really unfortunate moment. With David Ortiz finally calling it quits at the end of 2016, the Red Sox were going to have an opening at a corner infield position, with Hanley Ramirez likely moving to DH (at least part-time) and Travis Shaw able to cover either position.
While that doesn't promise a spot to Travis, it does leave him with a pretty good chance to earn one. Thus far this season, he was at least staying within range of that. His .272/.332/.434 line to start the year wasn't exactly the stuff of his monster spring training, but with a good second half, maybe a brief call-up to give Hanley Ramirez a rest, and then a strong showing as a September call-up, he very much had an opportunity open to him.
That opportunity is gone now. Even if he's ready shortly into 2017, the Red Sox are not going to be keeping that seat warm for him. They're very likely to go out and find a free agent to fill that slot, perhaps keeping Hanley at first base, perhaps not. Travis will have to head back to Triple-A for 2017, but even if he performs well, it's going to be a hard time finding that opening on the roster for him.
On a less depressing note, if Travis does perform, that would just suggest the door is perhaps closed to him in Boston. And that's assuming that things go well with Hanley, Shaw, and whoever else they add. There might even be a short-term fill-in of sufficient quality to be found, with Travis as a backup option. One way or another, though, talented players will find their way to the majors, be it with the Red Sox, or one of the other 29 teams. This is obviously a setback for Travis, but this is far more likely to be a full-on tragedy in the story of the Red Sox and Sam Travis together than in the stories of either party separately.