The offseason has yet to really get underway, with teams not still participating in postseason action (all but three at this point) remaining in preliminary planning stages before the movement begins in earnest. That said, smaller roster moves can still be made now and that includes releasing players. The Red Sox did just that on Friday, announcing they had released Steven Wright.
This is not really much of a surprise, as Wright’s last two years have been affected greatly by combinations of suspension and injury. In the offseason prior to the 2018 season, he was arrested on charges of domestic abuse and was subsequently suspended for 15 games by the league. Last year, he was suspended for 80 games after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. He’s also missed plenty of time with injury, and in total has pitched just 84 innings combined over the last three seasons.
Wright has certainly had his moments with the team, which he joined back in the summer of 2012 in the trade that sent Lars Anderson to the Indians. One of the longest-tenured players with the Red Sox — other than Dustin Pedroia, Wright, Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are the only players on the roster to have been in Boston since at least 2013 — there just wasn’t a place for him anymore. This is likely a move that will be met with praise or apathy from fans, many of whom have become restless with him given both the poor performances and the suspensions. The team, in turn, saves a 40-man roster as well as a projected $1.5 million in arbitration costs. That latter bit is likely the biggest motivating factor here.
In terms of any actual effect for the upcoming season, this move has essentially none. Wright was almost certainly going to be a non-tender candidate anyway, and this just allows them to avoid having him on the 40-man roster early in the offseason while they figure that out. Very few versions of the 2020 plans included Wright at this point, which I feel safe is saying for the better on a number of different levels.