The Red Sox have had to make a lot of roster moves in recent weeks to bring back players from the injured list or call up help from Worcester, but it was always fairly straight forward to know how they’d make room on the roster. But with Tanner Houck needing to be re-called to make Tuesday’s start against the Twins, the countermove wasn’t as clear. To me, it came down to optioning either Jarren Duran or Austin Davis. They are going with option A, as the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
The #RedSox today recalled RHP Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester. To make room for Houck on the active roster, the club optioned OF Jarren Duran to Worcester.— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 24, 2021
It is unlikely Duran will be down for very long, as rosters expand by two spots on September 1. He will still have to stay down for 10 days before he can be re-called, but that only puts him a couple of days after the first of the month. I would expect him to come back up at that time. In the meantime, he can get a week or so worth of everyday at bats at Triple-A. Like most every prospect who has come up this year, Duran struggled in his first taste of the majors, striking out 37 percent of the time and posting a 56 wRC+.
Personally, I probably would have kept Duran up and optioned Davis. I’m not sure they still need a 14-man pitching staff when two of their relievers — Martín Pérez and Garrett Richards — are stretched out as starters. To me, what Duran can add with speed and hitting off the bench is more valuable than what they could get from Davis. That being said, it’s not a very big difference in either direction, and there isn’t much playing time to be had right now for Duran with Christian Arroyo back in the mix. It wasn’t a decision to get worked up over in either direction, in this writer’s opinion.
As for Houck, this should hopefully (for his sake) be the last time he has to deal with being optioned and immediately called back up only to be optioned again. The Red Sox have been making that work thanks to doubleheaders and days off, but there aren’t either of those on the horizon.