Red Sox open roster spot by trading Easton McGee to Mariners for cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded right-hander Easton McGee to the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

McGee, who turns 25 next month, was claimed off waivers from the Rays on the final day of the regular season. The 24-year-old righty had just made his major-league debut against the Astros on October 2, but was designated for assignment the following day.

In his lone big-league relief appearance of the year, McGee allowed one unearned run on four hits and zero walks to go along with one strikeout over three innings of work in a losing effort at Minute Maid Park. He threw 46 pitches (31 strikes) while mixing in 19 sliders, 15 sinkers, six cutters, three changeups, two curveballs, and one 91.5 mph four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant.

The Rays originally selected McGee in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Hopkinsville High School in Kentucky. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound hurler posted a 5.43 ERA and 5.72 FIP with 82 strikeouts to 20 walks across 27 appearances (22 starts) and 107 2/3 innings pitched at Triple-A Durham this season. His 4.3 percent walk rate ranked second among International League pitchers who threw at least 100 innings this year and he was recognized by Triple-A managers for having the best control in that league as a result.

In McGee, the Mariners acquire a controllable pitcher who is not arbitration-eligible until 2026 and has three minor-league options remaining. By trading McGee away to Seattle, the Red Sox have cleared a spot on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 32 players officially.

Tommy Pham, who reportedly had his mutual option declined on Monday, still counts towards that total. If you take him away, Boston has 31 players on its 40-man roster. That does not include the five players (Tanner Houck, James Paxton, Chris Sale, Josh Taylor, and Franchy Cordero) who are currently listed on the 60-day injured list.

The Red Sox have until next Tuesday to activate these players, at which point they will count against the 40-man roster. November 15 is also the deadline for clubs to protect eligible minor-leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man.

In theory, the Sox could create additional space on their 40-man roster by exploring more trades. They also have the option of not tendering contracts to certain arbitration and pre-arbitration eligible players by next Friday’s non-tender deadline. Those players would then become free agents and would therefore not count against Boston’s big-league roster.

To put it simply, the Red Sox have some interesting decisions to make in the coming days and weeks. Dealing McGee to the Mariners could just be the tip of the iceberg in that regard.

(Picture of Easton McGee: Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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