The Boston Red Sox have locked in a a fair chunk of their AAA roster today, announcing their minor league signings this afternoon. Among these players there are a few names that could make a difference in the major league’s as well. The full list is: Carlos Silva, Brandon Duckworth, Charlie Haeger, Will Inman, Doug Mathis, Tony Pena Jr., Chorye Spoone, Jesse Carlson, Rich Hill, Justin Thomas, Pedro Ciriaco, and Nate Spears.
Carlos Silva is the first player that catches the eye. The heavy set right hander failed to make the majors last year with the New York Yankees but was surprisingly productive in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs. Silva will be an insurance arm for Boston and in that capacity he looks like a good fit. The veteran hurler doesn’t strikeout many hitters (career 4.02 K/9) but he gets by thanks to a super low walk rate (1.73) and a solid ground ball rate (48%). He will earn a pro-rate $1M at the major league level should he be needed there.
The other intriguing name here is Charlie Haeger. The former Los Angeles Dodger spent part of the 2011 season in the Sox system at AA level. As a knuckleballer who has never managed to control the pitch well enough to stick in the show, Heager is a project for the Boston system, which has hands-on knowledge in dealing with knuckleball pitchers thanks to Tim Wakefield. The Sox continued interest in Heager is not surprising, but does bring up a number of questions about where Tim Wakefield’s future might lie.
Rich Hill rejoins Boston after having Tommy John Surgery and should start 2012 with rehab work in AAA. If he is healthy though, hew will quickly rise up the depth charts as a left-handed reliever. Hill has shown excellent skills with a career 8.18 K/9 rate, but health and control have been issues for him.
Most of these players will not see major league action for the Red Sox this year, but you never know when the next Darnell MacDonald or Daniel Nava might rise up and help the big league club.