Drake Britton

With Craig Breslow physical scheduled, roster decision looms for Red Sox

Rob Bradford
January 01, 2015 - 5:14 pm

Even if the Red Sox didn't need a reminder, they got one Thursday thanks to the resurfacing of the name David Carpenter: Managing a 40-man roster isn't a piece of cake. It's a reality the Red Sox are going to be facing in the coming days. The Yankees traded for the 29-year-old Carpenter (along with pitcher Chasen Shreve) in exchange for young lefty hurler Manny Banuelos. Carpenter had briefly been a member of the Red Sox prior to the 2013 season, joining the organization when the Blue Jays sent him and John Farrell to the Sox for Mike Aviles. (The Blue Jays had to include a player in the deal, and Carpenter was that guy.) Just more than a month after joining the Red Sox, however, Carpenter was put on waivers in order to free up a spot on the 40-man roster. Also designated for assignment in the flurry of moves for the Sox were Sandy Rosario, Zach Stewart, Ivan De Jesus and Danny Valencia. Taking their places on the 40-man were Dan Butler, Alex Hassan, Christian Vazquez, Allen Webster and Alex Wilson. Few would have thought twice about it at the time, but they do now. Carpenter was claimed on waivers by the Braves, going on to pitch in 121 games over the past two seasons while totaling a combined 2.63 ERA. Now the Red Sox will be charged with trying not to repeat such a misstep. Craig Breslow, who has agreed to a one-year, $2 million with the Red Sox, is finally scheduled to take his physical Monday. That means that with the Sox currently maxed out on their 40-man, a decision will have to be made in order to get Breslow on the roster. Many times, finding a candidate to bump off the 40-man isn't difficult. But this go-round might be a little tricky. The chief candidates: Pitchers Drake Britton and Butler. There is always the possibility they could go down another route via a trade (a very real scenario), or DFA a veteran (not as likely). The really young guys have too much potential (Travis Shaw, Sean Coyle), and some of the pitchers showed enough in big league stints last season that value could still be had (Tommy Layne, Zeke Spruill, Stephen Wright, Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar). Of the candidates mentioned, the guy who might be the most vulnerable is Britton. Despite his brutal Triple-A season, Britton showed flashes of why he was so highly regarded last spring training when called up, not allowing a run in seven relief appearances. The problem for the lefty is that he is out of options, which isn't the case for any of the aforementioned players. The Red Sox certainly would love to see what they have in Britton this spring training, needing another lefty to step up with Andrew Miller having moved on. That's also the value of Layne, who acquitted himself well in his 30 appearances with the Red Sox, limiting lefty hitters to a .159 batting average. Butler is an organizational favorite, and the logical next man up if anything were to happen to Ryan Hanigan or Vazquez during the first half of the season. It's why these coming days will likely lead to yet another offseason shoe to drop for these Red Sox.