Spring training is almost over. The last game in Fort Myers will be this coming Thursday, which will be followed by a game in Washington and another contest against the Nationals in Annapolis on Saturday. Then, it’s time for real baseball again. The season being so close means time is running out for the Red Sox to decide on their Opening Day roster. On Sunday, the team took another step towards that goal with their next round of roster cuts.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Noe Ramirez is being optioned while the other names are being reassigned. There is really no difference there besides the fact that Ramirez is on the 40-man roster. The wording is a technicality, but they’re all going to the same place.
Besides that, there isn’t really any surprises in this round of cuts. Ramirez will probably play some sort of role on this team in 2017 — whether we like it or not — but in all likelihood it’ll be as an up-and-down, Quad-A reliever rather than as a major piece.
The team also cut some of its top outfield depth in Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. The latter, of course, is unlikely to see the majors because of the large price tag he carries with him. Remember, that salary only counts towards the luxury tax if he’s placed on the 40-man roster and the Red Sox are desperately trying to stay below that threshold this season to reset the penalties. Still, Castillo put together a solid spring with a .368/.385/.526 line. Bogusevic, meanwhile, has had mixed success in a major-league career that included sporadic playing time, but he missed his chance to make a name for himself this spring. He posted an OPS of just .432 this spring. Finally, there is Craig. He is in a similar boat as Castillo in terms of salary and luxury tax implications. The difference is that Craig posted an OPS of .684 this spring. That’s not going to cut it if he wants to earn playing time somewhere — whether it be in Boston or elsewhere. This, unsurprisingly, leaves Steve Selsky as the top outfield depth option in the organization.
Also getting reassigned was Hector Velazquez, who is something of a mystery man. The former Mexican League star has no major-league track record and is part of that big mess that is the Red Sox starting pitching depth. He didn’t have the best spring, but he’s basically been throwing nonstop since last year and experienced some dead arm. The best case scenario for Velazquez and the Red Sox would likely be the righty coming up to help if he’s needed in the second half.
Finally, there are Matt Dominguez and Jake DePew. Dominguez is a former top prospect who was brought in to serve as third base depth in case they need an emergency option. He’ll still serve that role in Triple-A, but Pablo Sandoval has looked good this spring, Josh Rutledge appears to be a depth option they trust and Marco Hernandez has tore the cover off the ball. It’s hard to see Dominguez find playing time. DePew is a catcher who has never played above Double-A and is likely fighting with Dan Butler for fourth on the major-league depth chart. That means if we do see him in the majors, there have been a couple of injuries or a trade.