Coming into this week, the Red Sox had some roster trimming to do. They had reportedly signed three free agents in the month of January — Martín Pérez, Enrique Hernández, and Garrett Richards — but they hadn’t officially added any of them to the roster as they were waiting to make room on the 40-man. Dustin Pedroia’s retirement to start the week opened one spot, which was subsequently filled by making the Hernández signing official. On Wednesday, the Richards signing was made official.
In order to make room for Richards on the 40-man, it was Joel Payamps who was designated for assignment.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club designated RHP Joel Payamps for assignment.— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 3, 2021
There’s not a whole lot to say about Richards that we haven’t already covered back when the signing was first reported. The veteran righty has had some injury issues in the past that have kept him off the field a lot over the last few seasons, but he has shown plenty of upside throughout his career and his something of a high(ish) ceiling rotation option. He should slide in the third spot to start the year after Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi. As the Red Sox tweet above states, there is a team option for 2022 as well, which makes the potential payoff here even higher.
The more interesting thing we learned today was designating Joel Payamps for assignment. We knew coming into this offseason there was going to be a lot of churn on the bottom of the roster, but the easy decisions had been made already to this point, and now there was more question about which direction they’d go. To me, Payamps always made the most sense. He was just claimed by the team in November so it may seem counterintuitive, but presumably the hope here is that he gets through waivers unclaimed and thus can remain in the organization without taking up a 40-man spot. It’s the same process they went through with Yairo Muñoz earlier this winter.
If they can keep him, they get a solid depth option even if there’s no huge ceiling here. The righty, who turns 27 shortly after Opening Day, had been in the Diamondbacks organization prior to this season and has had two brief stints in the majors over the last two seasons. He can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen or can be an emergency rotation depth option, though he’s likely 10th at the highest in terms of his spot on the depth chart. My guess is Payamps will go through unclaimed, but there’s always a risk in trying this maneuver. That said, if he does get claimed it shouldn’t be any major blow to the pitching depth.
With this move, the Red Sox still have to make one more move to make as of now in terms of 40-man management. That would be to make room for Martín Pérez, who has still yet to be officially signed.