Ryan Sweeney not offered contract, seemingly paving way for Jackie Bradley to make Red Sox

Rob Bradford
March 28, 2013 - 6:36 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. '€“ After the Red Sox'€™ 6-1 win over the Twins Thursday night at JetBlue Park, Ryan Sweeney learned the Sox were not going to be offering him a major-league contract. Sweeney still has 24 hours to determine if he would accept a minor-league assignment with the Red Sox, although the outfielder told WEEI.com Wednesday he was not inclined to do so. The move would appear to lock up spots on the 25-man roster for outfielder Jackie Bradley and first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp, although neither player knew of their fate at the time Sweeney received his news Thursday night. Sweeney, who walked in his only at-bat in the win, initially hadn'€™t heard if the Red Sox'€™ intentions when approached by the media after the game. But at 10:10 p.m. '€“ 1-hour, 50 minutes before the player'€™s opt-out deadline '€“ Red Sox manager John Farrell called him into the back offices to inform Sweeney of the decision. "They didn't purchase my contract, so I'm the odd man out," Sweeney said. Along with the move to send reliever Daniel Bard to Double-A Portland earlier in the day, seemingly opening up a spot for Clayton Mortensen, the Red Sox appear to have their Opening Day roster set (barring a trade). While Carp was already on the 40-man roster, a spot would have to be cleared in order to make room for Bradley. Both players also participated in the Red Sox' victory, with Carp grounding out to second and Bradley scoring a pair of run while notching a single. Prior to Thursday night's game, Farrell did talk at length about Bradley'€™s situation, which has the 22-year-old on the verge of making the major league roster less than two years after being drafted. '€œYou always want to get the best feel you can for the makeup of the individual, looking at all sides,'€ Farrell said. '€œSo in the event of something that doesn'€™t turn out well, or as he'€™s challenged, how does he respond to those, that'€™s a projection. Until you get to that point you don'€™t fully know how strong mentally is. He if struggles occur at the major league level in that spotlight what would his response be. And then at the same time you look at the spring training he had, the talent that he is and you try to put together the best team with the best players that you can. '€œWe'€™ve allowed him to go this deep into camp so we'€™re not afraid and not unwilling to break with him. If that was the case we would have sent him out four weeks ago. But all those things are considered.'€ When asked how much the player'€™s service time clock is factored in (Bradley'€™s free agency eligibility jumps from after 2019 to after '€™18 if he is called up prior to April 12 and fails to spend 20 days in the minors at some point over the course of one of the subsequent six years), Farrell articulated that it is a factor. '€œI think it'€™s balancing the two,'€ he said. '€œWe can'€™t control tomorrow, let alone six years from now.'€ Farrell did say that the impression left by Bradley hasn'€™t been totally out of nowhere. '€œSimilar to what we'€™ve seen,'€ said the manager when asked what his scouting report was of Bradley prior to spring training. '€œA mature guy. Has always been in the center of the team which he played for, whether it'€™s in college or in the one-plus years of the minor leagues since he'€™s been here. From a scouting evaluation, it'€™s been accurate. A guy who is a well-above average defender right now. A complete understanding of the strike zone. Doesn'€™t play in any kind of panic mode. Everything we'€™ve thrown at him this spring has held true to form.'€