Teams all around the league have until noon ET on Thursday to cut their rosters down from 30 to 28 players. Originally, the plan for this season had been for teams to start at 30 players, then cut down to 28 after two weeks and cut down to 26 two weeks after that before staying at that size for the final month or so of the season. This season has, of course, been ever-evolving, though, and the league and players agreed to keep with this scheduled cut to 28 players but keep that roster size the rest of the year. Furthermore, taxi squads for road games have been increased from three players to five.
The Red Sox made their decision on who to cut from the roster immediately after their series-ending victory in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, as they announced both Matt Hall and Chris Mazza would be optioned to Pawtucket.
Red Sox optioned Chris Mazza and Matt Hall to Pawtucket.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 6, 2020
This was a little bit surprising to me, not that either of these pitchers are of the quality that you absolutely have to have them on your major-league roster. Hall has gotten off to a very tough start, for example. The lefty was given the first chance to take the fifth starter spot, but it has not worked out. He has appeared in two games so far this year, allowing eight runs over 4 2⁄3 innings with five strikeouts and four walks. Mazza, meanwhile, only got into one game and pitched fairly well, tossing 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings in Yankee Stadium with three strikeouts and two walks.
These are both, frankly, up-and-down swingman-type pitchers, so their being optioned from that lens isn’t surprising. The reason I was initially surprised, though, was that they were the two long men in the bullpen. The Red Sox have Ryan Weber and Zack Godley scheduled to make their next two starts and don’t have a fifth starter, so one would imagine they’d want a little more length.
However, after thinking a bit more about it they do have plenty of arms who can go multiple innings even if they’re not quite as stretched out as Hall and Mazza. Each of Colten Brewer, Marcus Walden, Phillips Valdez, and Jeffrey Springs can go multiple innings. On top of that, thanks to Thursday’s off-day they can push that next scheduled start from Sunday to Tuesday, with Nathan Eovaldi and Martín Pérez pitching Sunday and Monday, respectively. I’d imagine there will be a move prior to that Tuesday game against the Rays, but the longer you can push that kind of decision back the better.