Amid the disappointing (in the eyes many fans, anyway) trade deadline transactions on Friday, the Red Sox had to clear some 40-man space, and one of the ways they did that was by designating Marcus Wilson for assignment. It had long been assumed he would be a roster casualty in some form, as the Red Sox had a glut of outfielders on something around the same developmental timeline as him, and either with more experience or more upside when you talk about his former fellow Worcester outfielders Franchy Cordero and Jarren Duran. The thought from many was that they’d be able to work out some sort of small deal for something however, because Wilson is an intriguing player. Instead, he was just a straight waiver claim, with the Red Sox losing him for nothing. He’ll go to Seattle with the Mariners putting in a claim and winning the player.
Outfielder Marcus Wilson, designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Friday, was claimed off waivers by the Mariners. Wilson had been acquired from the Diamondbacks in 2019 for Blake Swihart. He was hitting .242 with an .822 OPS, 10 HRs, and 10 SBs this year in Worcester.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) August 2, 2021
Wilson, who as Speier notes was first acquired by Boston in exchange for Blake Swihart, has the kind of power and speed combination that can prove to be extremely valuable in the majors. And after being unable to crack the majors last season after being placed on the 40-man roster for Rule 5 protection the following offseason, his path to the majors this season was unclear and he seemed like the most forgotten player on Boston’s 40-man. But he quickly made himself known, or re-known, this season in Worcester. Prior to being claimed off waivers, he was hitting .242/.370/.452, on pace for nearly a 20/20 season over 500 plate appearances.
Personally, I do see it as a mistake that the Red Sox lost him for nothing rather than finding some sort of small trade or even adding him onto a package to do a little better than what they did before Friday’s trade deadline. Of course, I wasn’t in the rooms where these negotiations were taking place, so it’s hard to say for sure how much it was the Red Sox managing things poorly and how much it was other teams not liking Wilson as much as we’d think they might. It is worth pointing out that even in this strong season he’s striking out over 30 percent of the time, and with the gap between the majors and Triple-A being what it is a 30 percent strikeout rate against Triple-A pitching does not bode well for translating that success to the next level.
Ultimately, more likely than not the Red Sox did not lose a superstar here. Like I said, my feeling is that they mismanaged things a little bit here, but I want to be careful to not make it sound worse than it is. They lost an interesting player who didn’t really fit on the roster as it is, and now we can look to watch his career in Seattle, should he make it up to the bigs with them, and decide at a later date how much this one hurts, if at all.