10 Out of Options Players Who Could Help the Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have only opened camp this week and already that have had three minor pitching injuries occur.
Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Craig Breslow have all started camp with minor injuries, meaning the Red Sox always need to be on the lookout for building pitching and bench depth as the season approaches. The fact that the injuries involve two of the five pitchers slated to be in the opening day rotation just compounds the issue.
The 28-year-old Buchholz has continued to have durability issues since coming to the majors in 2007. His starting spring training with what is being called a minor hamstring issue is a troubling sign. When healthy, Buchholz can be a near top of the rotation starter as his career record of 46-32 indicates.
Doubront was one of the few bright spots in the Boston rotation in 2012. Tom Verducchi has already tabbed the 25-year-old lefty as a young pitcher at risk to arm problems due to the increase in his workload. Doubront pitched 77.1 innings pitched in 2011 and 161.0 innings in 2012.
The fact that Doubront has already come to camp with what is being termed as a weak shoulder is not a good sign that the Red Sox are going to get 30 starts from him this season.
Breslow was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks and will likely be used late in games situations against left-handed batters. The Red Sox do have some depth with Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales, but it is important for Boston to get off to a good start this season.
What does this all mean? The Red Sox will likely be on the lookout for pitching depth this spring to help solidify the rotation and the bullpen. The team might also be looking for another outfielder who can cover all three positions and a utility player who can handle different positions.
Tim Dierkes recently compiled a list of out of option players around the major leagues. Here is a list of ten players that are out of options, meaning they can’t be sent directly to the minor leagues without passing through waivers, who could help the Red Sox.
If these players find themselves in danger of not making their respective teams, the Red Sox might look to acquire them to fill a need.
Lack of depth has really hurt the Red Sox at the major league level the last two seasons.
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10. Xavier Paul-Outfielder
Xavier Paul is currently a backup outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds. The 27-year-old Paul would provide a solid bat off of the bench while also providing the Red Sox insurance at all three outfield positions in 2013. Given how the thin the Red Sox are after the outfield starters, looking for another backup seems like a logical decision.
9. Adam Rosales-Utility Player
Adam Rosales isn't a great player by any means, but he does have the ability to play multiple roles for any major league team, making him a strong utility player for the Oakland A's. Given the durability issues that Stephen Drew has had, the Red Sox might be forced to get some insurance for their infield.
8. Brett Cecil-Starting Pitcher
Brett Cecil has fallen off of the radar since winning 15 games for the struggling Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. He looked like he was on the road to stardom and instead has pitched in obscurity the past two seasons. Cecil faces an uphill task to make the Blue Jays out of spring training, meaning he will be a prime candidate to be moved before the start of the season. The Red Sox could acquire Cecil as a potential insurance policy against injuries to their starting rotation. Cecil is only 26-years-old, making him a prime change-of-scenery candidate.
7. Charlie Morton-Starting Pitcher
Charlie Morton has never lived up to the potential that he has flashed with the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates. The 28-year-old Morton is in the process of recovering from Tommy John surgery, putting him on track for a mid-summer return this season. The Pirates will likely keep Morton on the DL until he is ready, but he is someone the Red Sox could acquire this summer to beef-up the rotation at the Triple AAA level or in the majors.
6. Jordan Schafer-Outfielder
Jordan Schafer has bounced between the Braves and Houston Astros, ending up back with the Braves this past November. The 26-year-old Schafer has never really hit at the major league level, but given how thin the Red Sox are after the three starting outfielders, they will likely be on the lookout for a backup outfielder. The Braves will have other options in the outfielder, meaning he could be available by the end of the spring.
5. Justin Ruggiano-Outfielder
Justin Ruggiano is older than the typical player who finds success at the major league level, finally hitting his stride with the Miami Marlins last season to the tune of a .313/.374/.535 slash line. The 30-year-old Ruggiano is hardly a prospect given his age, meaning the Marlins might be inclined to move him in order to get a younger prospect or two. He could be a backup for the Red Sox at all three outfield positions in an area where the Sox are thin right now.
4. Sam Fuld-Outfielder
Sam Fuld is another interesting outfielder who might be available come the end of the spring. Currently under contract the to Tampa Bay Rays, the 31-year-old Fuld is hardly a prospect, but he would cover the Red Sox at all three outfield positions. Given the Red Sox desire to play Jonny Gomes everyday, having a potential platoon partner for Gomes, one that can pinch-run and go into games late as a defensive replacement seems like a good idea.
3. Chris Carter-First Base
It is highly unlikely the Astros will cut the 26-year-old Chris Carter loose after trading for him from the A's, but stranger things have happened. The Astros are in a complete rebuilding mode, meaning that when the are finally positioned to be better, Carter will likely be on the door to free agency. Carter finally started to show the potential that everyone had projected with him as a prospect. This would be a move with an eye towards the long-term for the Red Sox and the one-year contract given to current first baseman Mike Napoli.
2. James McDonald-Starting Pitcher
James McDonald finally looked like he was on the road to realizing all of his promise with the Pirates last season. His first half of the 2012 season mirrored Pittsburgh's unexpected contention in the NL Central. The second half? The wheels came off and McDonald wasn't even the same pitcher. The 28-year-old struggled to finish the year, just like the Pirates. McDonald will have to come to camp in 2013 and show that he is ready to reach his potential or he might find himself out of the Pirates rotation for good. Given the injury history of the Red Sox rotation, having another quality arm around would be a good insurance policy for the team.
1. Brandon Moss-Outfielder and First Base
Nick Cafardo has speculated that this would be the ideal move for the Red Sox, bringing back former-farmhand Brandon Moss to support Gomes in left field, David Ortiz at DH and Mike Napoli at first base. The 29-year-old Moss had his breakout season in 2012 for the division winning A's. It might seem unlikely for the A's to trade Moss, but Oakland general manager Billy Beane has made a habit of selling high on prospects and players in the past.