With the World Series over, the offseason has officially begun. Of course, most teams have been preparing for this for at least a few weeks, and the Red Sox are among them. They wasted no time on Thursday making some moves to get their roster ready for the offseason, and there was a flurry of activity by the front office to do so. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe has the full list in his tweet below, and we’ll go through them one-by-one.
We’ll start with Bryce Brentz being added to the 40-man roster, because I think this is the biggest surprise and also the most impactful part of this flurry of moves. Brentz, of course, had a huge year in Triple-A in which he showed off a ton of power that the Red Sox lineup desperately lacked all year. Obviously, we’ve seen Brentz in the majors before and he’s never been able to translate that power to the highest level, but this is also the best we’ve ever seen him. It was a bit shocking to see that they never decided to call him up in September, despite the fact that they had an easy road to do so. Instead, they decided that getting Ben Taylor, who was on the 60-day disabled list, a few more outings in Pawtucket at the end of the year was more important than Brentz helping the major-league squad. That they made that decision led me to believe they’d keep Brentz off their 40-man roster this winter as well, a move that would have led to him being a minor-league free agent. I’m still not entirely convinced he’ll be around next year, as they could very well be doing this so they can include him in a trade later this winter.
Joining him on the 40-man roster is Williams Jerez. This will be Jerez’ second time on the 40-man, as he was added prior to the 2015 Rule 5 draft, though he never made the majors. A former outfield prospect, the lefty has transitioned to the mound and has shown real potential, though hasn’t been able to harness his stuff. He’s a nice lottery ticket, but not much more.
The other side of this coin is that both Robbie Ross and Josh Rutledge have been outrighted off the 40-man and are now free agents. I’ve always been a big fan of Ross and think his time in Boston is underappreciated. He’s not a star reliever by any means, but he was solid whenever he was healthy, striking out plenty of batters while inducing ground balls. He was never healthy in 2017 and it’s unclear how much that will hurt him moving forward, but there’s a chance someone will get him for a steal in 2018. Rutledge, meanwhile, is a fine guy to have as your last guy off the bench, but the fact that a Red Sox team that is already down one veteran infielder is willing to let him go tells you all you need to know about his value.
In addition to the 40-man moves, the Red Sox also put Marco Hernandez, Tyler Thornburg and Steven Wright back on the roster from the disabled list, which is simply clerical work. Finally, they exercised the options of a couple star pitchers in Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. Dave Dombrowski is a genius for that, to be honest.