The news of the day just keeps coming in. After tendering a deal to Jackie Bradley Jr. and trading Sandy León and having Trevor Kelley claimed off waivers by the Phillies, there were still a few hours remaining until the deadline for teams to tender deals to their arbitration-eligible players. Anyone not tendered a contract would be come a free agent. The Red Sox have lost two more players off the roster at this deadline, as they decided not to tender contracts to Marco Hernández and Josh Osich.
Red Sox non-tender Marco Hernandez and LHP Josh Osich— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 3, 2019
So, uh, yeah. I will readily admit I did not see this coming. The only possible non-tender I saw on the roster was Heath Hembree, but he did remain. Instead, they have cut bait with both Hernández and Osich. We’ll start with the former, because that’s the real shocker. The 2019 season was a monumental one for Hernández after fighting his way back from brutal shoulder injuries and spending most of the year in the majors. He got consistent playing time in September, but he struggled pretty mightily. Still, he was out of the game for a couple of years, plays a position (second base) where the Red Sox lack depth right now and was projected to earn just $700,000 in arbitration. Giving up on him never even crossed my mind. I am not Chaim Bloom, though.
Without Hernández, the right side of the infield becomes even more unclear than it already was. Michael Chavis is probably the internal favorite for second base now, but then that leaves first base open. Bobby Dalbec would be the most logical in-house option there, but that would be an aggressive push. Of course, they don’t have to stay in-house. Second base is a very crowded in free agency and only became more crowded with all of the non-tenders today. My guess — which is only just that and there is no inside information here — is that they are going to wait this market out and get whoever falls for cheap.
Meanwhile, Osich was projected to earn $1 million in arbitration this year. The lefty was claimed by the Red Sox very early in the winter, but they decided they didn’t want to keep him after all. It seems strange to claim a player only to non-tender them, but then waivers in the winter are always weird.
The Red Sox tendered contracts to all other players who were eligible. With the dust settled, their 40-man roster now stands at 34.