Earlier this week, I looked at how the Red Sox would make room on their 40-man roster in the event they add another player without making a trade. I had the wrong player at the top of my list, as the team has already trimmed their roster down to 39 with a move on Wednesday afternoon. According to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the Red Sox have removed left-handed pitcher Henry Owens from their 40-man roster and placed him on outright waivers.
Source: Red Sox place Henry Owens on outright waivers, clearing 40-man roster space for potential acquisition. Roster was full. Unclear if another move imminent or if this was pre-emptive. https://t.co/ucAOwG7WBh— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 6, 2017
This is a bit of sad news, though it’s not entirely unexpected. As most remember, it wasn’t really all that long ago that Owens was one of the top prospects in the system and someone the Red Sox liked a whole lot. He has always flashed some impressive stuff, but his control never really came along as hoped. In fact, things have seemingly gone down in recent years. This past season was a new low for Owens, as the southpaw started the year by walking just under eight batters per nine innings in Triple-A. From there, he was demoted to Double-A where he walked over eight batters per nine before reducing that rate to 5.5 per nine in the Arizona Fall League. He was, to be fair, adjusting his arm slot over the course of the year, but it was discouraging to say the least.
Apparently, the Red Sox saw enough where he became the most expendable person on the roster. As Drellich mentions, it’s not clear if this was made with an imminent corresponding move in mind, but someone is going to join the roster at some point. If there isn’t an imminent move, the Red Sox likely just hope this is a time in the offseason in which they can sneak Owens through waivers and perhaps give him some extra time for a comeback without him taking up a spot on the 40-man roster. Given the stuff that Owens still possesses, the fact that he is still only going to be 25 in 2018 and that he’s a lefty, it’s my guess that someone will take a chance. Maybe Owens will harness everything and put it all together, but at this point that looks highly unlikely. With the current roster crunch and a move coming at some point, it makes sense that Boston chose now to potentially move on from Owens.