With the official start to free agency just a few days away, teams are required to tie up the loose ends of their roster. This mostly just means players cannot be on the 60-day disabled list once the offseason begins. This led to a chain reaction from the Red Sox that included a few players rejoining the 40-man roster, a couple leaving the 40-man but staying with the organization, and one leaving both the 40-man roster and the Red Sox organization.
It’s the middle bit of Austin’s tweet that merits the most discussion, and came as the biggest surprise. The simple version: Carson Smith is no longer a member of the Red Sox organization. The right-handed reliever came here with a lot of promise, and there was realistic hope that he would come in and form a dominant one-two punch with Craig Kimbrel. Instead, he got hurt in his first spring training with the team, and that caused him to miss essentially all of 2016 and most of 2017. He was ready for 2018, though, and there was some hope that his past success would still be able to carry over after the two years off. That didn’t work out so well.
Smith was inconsistent to start this year, and after one particularly bad outing he threw his glove in anger. This led to a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery and it kept him out for the entire season. It was....not great. Now, after 23 2⁄3 innings with the Red Sox over three seasons, the team outrighted him off the 40-man roster on Thursday and the righty elected free agency. It’s a little surprising since his arbitration salary was unlikely to be much more than $900,000 and there is theoretically still some upside in that arm. That being said, the nature of Smith’s injury and his comments after — he was vocally upset with his usage early in the year — probably left a bad taste in the organization’s mouth. Smith will get some interest from someone this winter, but it’s probably best for everyone that this marriage is over.
The rest of this is fairly straight-forward. Dustin Pedroia is hoping to be in the leadoff spot on Opening Day. Austin Maddox is sort of forgotten, but could compete to be a key bullpen piece at some point in 2019. Marco Hernandez is an unknown after missing two years with shoulder injuries, but there’s at least some chance he provides solid infield depth. On the other end, Tony Renda and Justin Haley will both remain in the high minors as fine, but unspectacular depth options.
As it stands now, taking out the Red Sox players about to hit free agency, the Red Sox 40-man roster stands at 34.