The latter portion of the Red Sox offseason has been fairly busy, even if none of the acquisitions were necessarily top-tier free agents. But along with the sheer number of transactions they’ve made, they’ve also made a habit of falling behind on actually making the deals official. Regularly deals have been reported to be done and then there’s been a multi-week gap before they are announced. To be clear, as long as the players don’t have an issue with this — and there’s no reason to believe they do — it’s all fine, but it’s been noticeable, at least to me. I bring that up because the last part of that backlog has now been cleared. That’s Marwin Gonzalez, whose signing became official on Wednesday.
To make room on the roster, Marcus Walden was designated for assignment.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club designated RHP Marcus Walden for assignment.— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 24, 2021
As far as Gonzalez goes, as I alluded to above this has been known about for a few weeks now so there’s not a whole lot new to share. He is still expected to make $3 million on his one-year deal. His exact role is not entirely clear as he is expected to move all around the diamond. At the plate, he is coming off a brutal season in which he finished with a 66 wRC+, but in the two years prior he had been more of a league-average hitter. We discussed his offense more specifically earlier this week. As far as where he plays, as I said it’s not clear but I will reiterate my belief that he should spend most of his time at second base to allow Enrique Hernández to roam center.
As far as new information goes, the more interesting news here is that Walden was designated for assignment. It’s not entirely a surprise, though, as it seemingly was down to him, the recently re-claimed Joel Payamps, and Marcus Wilson as the most likely players to lose their spot. With Walden, he had been an effective reliever as recently as 2019, and personally I was quite high on him in 2020. It was a really tough season for him, though, as he pitched to a 9.45 ERA in 13 1⁄3 innings with 10 strikeouts and nine walks.
Generally, I’ve been okay tossing bad 2020 seasons to the side because of all the extenuating circumstances associated with last year, but the eye test really made Walden look like a guy who just didn’t have it anymore. That said, the 32-year-old still is only one year removed from that 2019 when he pitched to a 3.81 ERA and 3.69 FIP over 78 innings, and he also has a minor-league option remaining. For those reasons I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he does get snatched up by someone on waivers. And even if he doesn’t, while I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it at this point I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he makes his way back up to the big-league roster for the Red Sox.
With the move, the Red Sox have a full 40-man roster. Although they have finally cleaned up their backlog as far as free agent signings go, that doesn’t mean the churning will end. Even beyond the possibility of another signing or two, they also have Kevin Plawecki and Franchy Cordero, both of whom are on the COVID list and will hopefully be back sooner than later. When that happens, they will need to be re-added to the roster.