The minor-league season ended on Monday, so it was expected that the middle of this week would include some call-ups. Teams don’t necessarily have to call up everyone on their 40-man roster, though they are free to do so. At the very least, they can give themselves for depth everywhere on the roster. The Red Sox will be adding to their infield depth prior to Tuesday’s game with Rafael Devers being activated off the disabled list and Brandon Phillips being added to the roster.
#RedSox will activate Rafael Devers tomorrow and add Brandon Phillips to the roster. Sox were impressed that he stuck it out in AAA.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 3, 2018
Phillips is obviously the bigger news, but while the Devers activation was obviously going to happen it also has much more potential for impact down the stretch. The young third baseman has obviously spent close to every day at the hot corner this year, but that could change in September. It’s been an up-and-down year for Devers, and he showed his youth a lot in 2018 both at the plate and in the field. If we’re strictly looking at ceilings he is clearly the guy, but Eduardo Núñez is killing it lately and lengthening the lineup. Alex Cora has shown a propensity to play Núñez all year even when he wasn’t hitting. It’s hard to see that changing now. Devers will play, of course, but he’ll have to earn a more regular role, both for the rest of the year and in the postseason.
As for Phillips, I wouldn’t qualify it as a surprise because I think most of us expected this to happen after the minor-league season ended. Still, it wasn’t a guarantee since he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. The Red Sox had an open spot there so no one has to be exposed to waivers to bring Phillips ups. The veteran, three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner isn’t going to play much for Boston. Ian Kinsler will clearly handle the everyday second base duties, and Phillips will fill in when needed. That being said, he was a solid hitter as recently as last year when he posted a 92 wRC+ over 572 plate appearances and can still flash some leather at second base.
On top of that, he is one of the most-liked veterans in the league and should add some positive vibes to the clubhouse. The Red Sox locker room doesn’t appear to be lacking in positivity, but adding another leader to the group never hurts. Phillips has made it clear that he wanted to be a part of this team when he decided against opting out multiple times this summer, and now he gets his chance. If nothing else, it will be fun to watch him in the dugout during games.
Somewhat strangely, these could be the final call-ups of the month for the organization. More on that later this morning...