What the Adam Ottavino trade means for the Red Sox’ 40-man roster

After the Red Sox made their acquisition of right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees official on Monday, the club’s Opening Day roster took another step towards its completion.

That said, the reason the Sox were able to announce the addition of Ottavino so quickly is because they had an open 40-man roster spot for him following the trade that sent infielder C.J. Chatham to the Phillies last week.

Now that the 35-year-old hurler is officially a Red Sox, though, more questions arise pertaining to other players Boston has reportedly signed to major-league contracts recently. Those players would be none other than left-hander Martin Perez, utilityman Enrique Hernandez, and right-hander Garrett Richards, of course.

Perez agreed to a one-year deal with the Sox that includes a club option for 2022 on January 16, Hernandez agreed to a two-year deal on January 22, and Richards agreed to deal with a similar structure to Perez’s on Saturday.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, all three of these deals are still pending physicals and likely won’t be made official until later this week.

Between now and the time said deals are made official, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to trimming down the club’s 40-man roster in order to accommodate Perez, Hernandez, and Richards.

One way to make room for this trio would be designate three players currently on the 40-man for assignment. Right-handers Joel Payamps, Chris Mazza, and Marcus Walden, left-hander Jeffrey Springs, and outfield prospect Marcus Wilson were among the candidates Cotillo suggested could be DFA’d.

Another way to make room, or at least make room for one player, would be for the Red Sox to trade a DFA candidate to another club in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, as they did with Chatham. That way, a 40-man roster spot could be cleared to go along with some compensation in return.

Finally, there is the Dustin Pedroia conundrum that needs to be addressed. Again, this only creates a resolution for one spot but it seems pretty apparent that Pedroia, who has played in just nine total games the last three seasons, will not play out the final year of his contract.

The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported last week that the 37-year-old second baseman “is not planning a comeback and a resolution could come this month.”

Given the fact that Pedroia is somewhat of a franchise legend, Abraham noted that while the Sox “will want to do this correctly,” they are also running low on non-impact players on their 40-man roster.

Put another way, cutting Pedroia now as opposed to giving him a ceremonial sendoff in-season would not do the former American League MVP’s legacy justice.

So, the Red Sox have some roster-related decisions to make and they do not have much time to make them. What sort of moves will Bloom have in store? We will have to wait and see.

(Picture of Adam Ottavino: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade infield prospect CJ Chatham to Phillies in exchange for player to be named later or cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded infield prospect C.J. Chatham to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, per the club’s official Twitter account.

Chatham, who turned 26 last month, was regarded by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s No. 14 prospect.

The Sox originally selected Chatham in the second round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Florida Atlantic University.

The Fort Lauderdale native progressed at a modest pace in the minors to the point where he was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November 2019.

This past season, Chatham was included in the Red Sox’ 60-man player pool for the duration of the year, though he only saw playing time at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket as opposed to getting a call up to the majors.

In 266 career minor-league contests between the Gulf Coast League, Lowell, Greenville, Salem, Portland, and Pawtucket, the right-handed hitter posted a decent .298/.337/.402 slash line (.739 OPS) to go along with 14 home runs, 57 doubles, 124 RBI, and 18 stolen bases.

He also spent the fall of 2019 playing in the Arizona Fall League as well as for Team USA in the Premier12 tournament alongside now-former teammates Bobby Dalbec, Tanner Houck, and Noah Song.

By dealing Chatham to Philadelphia, the Red Sox have opened up a spot on their 40-man roster spot, as noted in the above tweet.

This was a necessity given the fact that the club has reportedly brought back left-hander Martin Perez on a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2022.

With Chatham now off the 40-man roster, the Perez signing could be made official as early as Monday evening.

On another note, this was former Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski’s first interaction with his former team since he took over the Phillies’ baseball operations department in December.

Perhaps he and Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom can build a solid relationship moving forward.

(Picture of C.J. Chatham: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox could target minor-leaguers with local connections in upcoming Rule 5 Draft

The 2020 Rule 5 Draft, which provides clubs without a full 40-man roster to add unprotected, non-40-man roster players from other clubs, is this coming Thursday.

The Red Sox, having traded left-hander Yoan Aybar to the Rockies and outrighted utilityman Yairo Munoz to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, have opened up two spots on their 40-man roster as the (virtual) Winter Meetings’ closing event draws ever closer.

Opening up those two spots, which brings Boston’s 40-man roster down to 38 players ahead of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, would seem to indicate that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are going to be busy the rest of the week.

Bloom’s general manager, Weymouth native Brian O’Halloran, was rather coy when asked about the possibility of the Sox targeting someone in the Rule 5 Draft.

“I would not rule that out,” he said when speaking with reporters via Zoom on Monday.

Right around this time last year, the Red Sox selected then-infield prospect Jonathan Aruaz from the Astros organization in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. Arauz, 22, was able to remain on Boston’s active roster for the entirety of the 2020 season, meaning the club now has full control of him moving forward.

All things considered, it may have been easier for the Sox to keep Arauz on their major-league roster this past season considering how non-competitive they were. Given the team’s expectations for 2021, holding on to a Rule 5 player may be a tougher task for a club planning to contend for a World Series title.

“Generally speaking, it’s a little bit harder to carry a Rule 5 player when you have a team that’s built to compete for a championship and the postseason,” O’Halloran said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Circumstances matter, certainly the player matters. Who the player is and whether he can compete and how you think he can hold his own in the big-leagues, what he brings to the table. But it definitely can be more of a challenge for sure.”

Again, in Bloom’s first offseason as chief baseball officer, the Red Sox did not hesitate to add a Rule 5 player. Doing so this year may be more of a challenge initially, but as O’Halloran said, that possibility cannot be ruled out. Especially when you consider the fact that Boston will have the fourth-highest priority, or fourth overall pick, in this year’s Rule 5 Draft since they finished with the fourth-worst record in baseball in 2020.

Regarding who the Red Sox could target in the upcoming Rule 5, there are two players I would like to highlight here, both of whom hail from Massachusetts.

First off, there’s Malden native Paul Campbell, who was left off the Rays’ 40-man roster last month.

The 25-year-old right-handed pitching prospect was originally drafted by Tampa Bay out of Clemson University in the 21st round of the 2017 amateur draft.

Regarded by MLB Pipeline as the Rays’ No. 24 prospect at the moment, Campbell most recently posted a 3.67 ERA and .238 batting average against over 27 outings (20 starts) and 144 2/3 innings of work between High-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery in 2019.

A graduate of Salisbury High School in Connecticut, Campbell worked almost exclusively as a long reliever in college, which would likely be his role on a major-league roster in 2021.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, the 6-foot, 210 lb. righty’s pitch mix includes a 92-95 mph fastball with elite spin rate, an 89-90 mph cutter, a changeup, and a curveball.

Given the fact that he is still a member of the Rays organization, Campbell likely knows Bloom in some capacity, so there could be something there depending on the Sox’ level of interest.

Next, there’s West Roxbury native Packy Naughton, who was left off the Angels’ 40-man roster just months after being acquired from the Reds in exchange for outfielder Brian Goodwin.

Another pitcher, the 24-year-old left-handed pitching prospect was originally selected by Cincinnati in the ninth round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Virginia Tech.

Prior to getting dealt to the Halos, Naughton worked exclusively as a starter in 2019, posting a solid 3.32 ERA over 28 outings and 157 innings pitched between High-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga. He recorded 131 punchouts in those 157 frames of work.

An alumnus of Boston Latin School, the 6-foot-2, 195 lb. southpaw is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the Angels’ No. 12 prospect. Per his FanGraphs scouting report, Naughton, who has experience as a reliever in college, is “funky and deceptive, hides the ball well, creates tough angle in on righties’ hands, and then drops that changeup on them.”

His pitch mix — fastball, slider, changeup — may not be all that electric, but Naughton has shown the ability to record outs in crucial situations while also being quite athletic for a pitcher. At the major-league level, he could undertake “a multi-inning relief role a la Ryan Yarbrough.”

So, here we have just two candidates with local connections that the Red Sox could consider taking in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. There are other interesting unprotected prospects up for grabs as well, such as former first-round draft pick Riley Pint, but for the time being I simply wanted to highlight Campbell and Naughton.

Red Sox remove utilityman Yairo Muñoz from 40-man roster, outright him to Triple-A

The Red Sox have outrighted utilityman Yairo Munoz to Triple-A Pawtucket, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Munoz, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league pact with Boston back in late March following his release from the St. Louis Cardinals earlier that month.

After being added to the club’s 60-man player pool in July, the Dominican Republic native eventually had his contract purchased and was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on August 31 in the wake of the trade deadline.

In a brief stint with Boston, Munoz impressed, going 15-for-45 (.333) at the plate with one home run, four RBI, and two stolen bases over 12 games played before hitting the injured list due to a lower back strain on September 19. The 5-foot-11 right-handed hitter also proved he could play both corner outfield positions to some degree in addition to his abilities as a versatile infielder.

With Munoz, who does have one minor-league option remaining, being outrighted, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players, which holds some significance as the 2020 Rule 5 Draft is this Thursday.

On another note, as indicated by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the reason why ‘Triple-A Pawtucket’ has not yet been updated to ‘Triple-A Worcester’ is likely because the team has not moved offices yet. So there’s that.

Red Sox trade: infield prospect Christian Koss acquired from Rockies in exchange for left-hander Yoan Aybar

The Red Sox have acquired infield prospect Christian Koss from the Rockies in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Yoan Aybar. The club made the trade official earlier Thursday evening.

Koss, who turns 23 in January, was selected by Colorado in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of California, Irvine.

In 53 games with rookie-level Grand Junction of the Pioneer League last year, the Riverside native posted an impressive .322/.447/.605 slash line (172 wRC+) to go along with 11 home runs and 51 RBI over 238 plate appearances.

Named a mid and post-season Pioneer League All-Star thanks to his efforts, Koss opened the 2020 campaign regarded by Baseball America as the Rockies’ No. 29 prospect.

Capable of playing every infield position besides first base at the moment, the right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Koss is listed at 6-foot-1 and 182 lbs.

Koss is Rule 5 eligible next winter, so the 2021 season will prove to be an important one for him regardless of where he begins the year, which will likely be High-A Salem.

As for Aybar, the now-former Sox prospect was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November, yet he was the only member of the 40-man roster to not be included in the club’s 60-man player pool this past season.

Originally signed as an outfielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, the stout southpaw converted into a pitcher full-time in 2018, most recently posting a 4.61 ERA over 44 relief appearances and 56 2/3 innings pitched between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem last year.

With Aybar being traded to another organization, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is currently down to 39 players, with plenty more moves to come as the offseason continues.

Red Sox sign Matt Barnes, 6 others to one-year deals, tender contract to Rafael Devers

UPDATE: As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox also signed right-hander Chris Mazza and outfielder Yairo Munoz to one-year deals on Wednesday.

The non-tender deadline came and went Wednesday night without the Red Sox cutting a single arbitration or pre-arbitration eligible player from its 40-man roster.

Per a team release, the Sox agreed to one-year contracts with the likes of right-handers Austin Brice, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Mazza, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, and catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Additionally, Boston will tender one-year contracts for the 2021 season to 25 players who remain unsigned, with third baseman Rafael Devers being the most notable of those individuals after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a deal.

The 24-year-old will have until January 15 to come to terms on a contract with the Sox or he will otherwise be headed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career come February.

As for the other players involved here, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo has the details on how much Barnes, Brasier, Brice, Mazza, Munoz, Plawecki, and Rodriguez will be earning next season:

Barnes: $4.5 million salary for 2021
Brasier: $1.25 million salary for 2021
Brice: $870,000 salary for 2021
Mazza: $576,000
Munoz: $582,500
Plawecki: $1.6 million salary for 2021
Rodriguez $8.3 million salary for 2021

All in all, the Red Sox owe this group listed above more than $17.5 million headed into the upcoming season.

Barnes, 30, and Rodriguez, 27, are the only two players who were entering their final year of arbitration eligibility, meaning they will become free agents for the first time in their respective careers next winter barring any extension talks.

On account of them not making any sort of cuts or subtractions on Wednesday, Boston’s 40-man roster is still at full capacity. That is likely to change now that this offseason’s free agency class has increased in size due to other clubs non-tendering a staggering amount of their eligible players in order to save money.

Red Sox add top pitching prospect Bryan Mata, 6 others to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 Draft

The Red Sox added seven minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster on Friday in order to protect them from being eligible for this December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Right-handers Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold, and Eduard Bazardo, left-hander Jay Groome, catcher Connor Wong, infielder Hudson Potts, and outfielder Jeisson Rosario were all added to Boston’s 40-man roster.

Going into Friday, the Sox’ 40-man roster was at 36 players, meaning three players had to be removed in order to make room for the seven names mentioned above.

The three players removed from Boston’s 40-man roster on Friday were left-handers Kyle Hart and Matt Hall, and right-hander Ryan Weber. Hart has been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, while Hall and Weber were designated for assignment.

Both Hart and Hall made their Red Sox debuts in 2020, and both struggled mightily in limited action.

In what was his first taste of the big-leagues, the soon-to-be 27-year-old Hart allowed 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits and 10 walks over just nine innings pitched through his first three starts after getting called up in mid-August.

A demotion to the bullpen did not do any wonders for the former 19th-round draft pick either, as he surrendered six earned runs over two innings of relief against the Braves on September 1 before his season came to an end a day later due to a left hip impingement.

Hall, meanwhile, was acquired by Boston in a trade that sent minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez to the Tigers back in January.

The 27-year-old looked impressive at summer camp, but that did not translate well to his first season with the Sox.

Making just four appearances (one start), the southpaw posted a dismal 18.69 ERA and 7.92 FIP in 8 2/3 innings of work.

As for Weber, this comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the notion that the Red Sox have always seemingly been high on him as well as the fact that he held opponents to a .656 OPS against over his last 14 outings (two starts) of the year.

Still, the 30-year-old hurler’s 2020 season had plenty of down moments as well, and it appears that Boston no longer deems him worthy of a 40-man roster spot.

Because they were designated for assignment, Hall and Weber will have to clear waivers if they are return to the Red Sox in a lesser capacity unless they opt for free agency instead.

So, the removals of Hart, Hall, and Weber decreased the Sox’ 40-man roster size to 33, thus opening the gateway for all seven of Bazardo, Groome, Mata, Potts, Rosario, Seabold, and Wong to be added Friday evening.

Groome, Mata, Potts, Rosario, Seabold, and Wong were all expected to be protected from this winter’s Rule 5 Draft, leaving Bazardo as the most interesting addition listed here.

The 25-year-old was actually eligible for last year’s Rule 5 Draft, too, but he did not get selected.

Despite not being added to the Sox’ 60-man player pool at any point in time this past season, Bazardo impressed enough at fall instructs to earn himself a spot on the 40-man.

The Venezuela native originally signed with Boston for just $8,000 as an international free agent in 2014.

Most recently, he posted a 2.21 ERA and .206 batting average against in 38 total relief appearances and 73 1/3 innings pitched between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in 2019.

Listed at 6-foot and 155 lbs., Bazardo could very well make his major-league debut out of the Red Sox bullpen at some point next season. He certainly will be one of the more fascinating hurlers to monitor during spring training once camp breaks in February.

With Friday’s round of transactions complete, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is now at full capacity at 40 players. That does not mean that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will continue to make moves, though, as this could make for an eventful winter depending on how the free agent and trade market plays out.

Long story short, Bloom and the Red Sox are not close to done in terms of 2021 roster construction. There will be plenty more to come.

Red Sox believe top pitching prospects Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold will be big-league ready by next July

By this time Friday night, the Red Sox will have added six or seven minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster in order to protect said minor-leaguers from this year’s Rule 5 Draft in December.

Among the handful of eligible prospects who will presumably be added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Friday are right-handers Bryan Mata and Connor Seabold.

Mata, 21, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the top pitching prospect and No. 4 overall prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Venezuela native spent the 2020 season at the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket, and he really impressed there, according to Worcester Red Sox pitching coach Paul Abbott.

“I can’t say enough on this kid,” Abbott said of Mata back in October. “He’s as exciting, I think, as anybody in baseball. Top-shelf fastball, top-shelf slider. Curveball is above average. The changeup, too. It’s hard to squeeze all those pitches in when the first two are so dynamic. Young kid, got a little taste of Double-A last year and in the Fall League he did well, but this, for him… he got a ton of value out of this situation. His command wasn’t consistent enough. But a small little tweak in a low-stress environment like we were in allowed him to make some adjustments.”

Following his summer in Pawtucket, Mata was one of 62 players who took part in the Red Sox’ fall instructional league down in Fort Myers, though he did not see any in-game action, per SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall.

Seabold, meanwhile, also spent part of his summer working out at McCoy Stadium, but only after being acquired from the Phillies along with Nick Pivetta back in August.

The 24-year-old was originally selected by Philadelphia in the third round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton.

Boston dealt veteran relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree in order to obtain both Seabold and Pivetta’s services, but that trade already looks like a win for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom considering the fact that the pair of former Red Sox righties are currently free agents.

While working with Mata and the other pitchers present at the alternate training site for the latter half of the 2020 campaign, Seabold, too, drew attention from the likes of Abbott.

“His stuff across the board is probably middle of the road, or slightly above average,” Abbott said of the California native. “His changeup is not; his changeup is a top-of-the-food-chain type pitch. His fastball grades out, carries better and looks better than the velo. He’s got a little deception to him. He’s a grinder out there in the short time I saw him. Competes really well. We started developing a curveball with him, something a little slower and a little deeper than the slider. Another kid that needs to season a little bit, face some better hitters. He hasn’t been above Double-A. But I like his makeup and I like his pitchability. He’s a guy who can eat up some innings and give you some quality starts down the road.”

With Mata and Seabold both putting in quality efforts over the summer, the Red Sox obviously have high hopes for the pair of young hurlers. Combine that optimism with the notion that the two pitchers will be added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Friday, and they could very well be ready to make their major-league debuts sooner rather than later.

As a matter of fact, The Athletic’s Peter Gammons wrote Wednesday that, “the Red Sox believe that Byan Mata — who is 21 and was up to 99 [mph] in Pawtucket — will be up by July, as will Connor Seabold.”

What transpires in the spring — as well as how the Red Sox perform from a pitching perspective out of the gate next season — will likely serve as better indicators for what Mata and Seabold’s estimated time of arrival to the majors will look like.

Still, with all the uncertainties surrounding the Sox’ pitching staff moving forward, the emergences of Mata and Seabold will definitely provide some encouragement, and maybe even reassurance, for Bloom and Co. going into 2021.

Red Sox decline to pick up Martín Pérez’s 2021 option, making left-hander a free agent

The Red Sox have declined left-hander Martin Perez’s team option for the 2021 season, therefore making him a free agent, the club announced earlier Sunday evening.

Perez, who would have been in line to earn $6.85 million next season if his club option had been picked up, now hits the open market as one of the more intriguing southpaws available.

The 29-year-old posted a 4.50 ERA and .744 OPS against over 12 starts and 62 innings pitched in his first season with Boston after a signing a one-year deal last December.

Outside of a poor 2020 finale in which he yielded six runs to the Orioles on September 24, Perez proved to be one of, if not the most consistent starter on the Sox’ pitching staff.

Despite receiving that level of consistency when the team’s pitching was, for the most part, dismal all year, Boston did not reward the Venezuelan hurler by picking up his option.

Instead, as previously mentioned, Perez is now a free agent for the second time in 12 months.

Perhaps chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will look to bring the lefty back on a cheaper deal, but even if they do not, rotation additions and/or upgrades are still likely to happen regardless.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Perez becoming a free agent lowers the Red Sox’ current projected 2021 payroll down to $167.175 million, which as of now is well below the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold.

Additionally, Perez hitting the open market now means that the Sox have 36 players on their 40-man roster, so there is plenty of space to work with on both of those fronts.

Red Sox 40-man roster crunch: Chris Sale, Dustin Pedroia among six players reinstated from injured list

As the month of October comes to a close, the Red Sox made another series of roster moves earlier Saturday afternoon, this time reinstating six players from the injured list and therefore adding them back to the club’s 40-man roster.

Those six players? Left-handers Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Kyle Hart, right-hander Colten Brewer, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

All three of Sale (Tommy John surgery), Rodriguez (Myocarditis), and Pedroia (left knee), missed the 2020 season for their own respective reasons, while Brewer (strained right middle finger), Hart (left hip impingement), and Benintendi (right rib cage strain) all had their seasons cut short due to injury.

By reinstating this group of players, the Sox have bumped up the size of their 40-man roster to 37, which is significant seeing how the deadline to add Rule 5 eligible minor-leaguers to the 40-man is just under three weeks away.

Based off the list of those who are eligible, Boston seems keen on adding at least six prospects — Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold, Connor Wong, Jeisson Rosario, Hudson Potts — to its 40-man roster before the November 20 deadline.

With that in mind, expect chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. to keep busy as the calendars flip to November. There is much to do, like deciding on whether to pick up Martin Perez’s $6.5 million option for 2021 or reaching some sort of settlement with Pedroia, in a relatively short period of time.