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Why the Red Sox made the moves they did Tuesday

Rob Bradford
November 21, 2018 - 11:33 am

Other than getting a chance to soak in another "Red Sox trade for Padres reliever" three years after the Craig Kimbrel deal, the moves made by the Sox Tuesday probably didn't come close to putting a dent in analyzing the pros and cons of the team's offseason.

But there were some interesting aspects of the Red Sox' transactions, which included assigning new names to the 40-man roster, leaving some noteworthy minor leaguers exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, along with most likely putting William Cuevas in the rearview mirror.

Let's go through the names of interest:

Cuevas: The righty appeared in nine big league games in 2018, highlighted by a 5 1/3-inning relief outing against Cleveland which he only allowed one run. He was a depth guy who was taking up a spot on the 40-man roster. Now he probably will be pitching overseas.

Colten Brewer: At 26 years old the righty is a reliever whose 11 appearances with the Padres last season wasn't going to blow anybody away, but he does have some potential which is all you want. He also has two more years of being sent up and down from the minors to the majors and back. He enters 2019 a modern-day Noe Ramirez, the guy who is going to likely be needed by the big league club at various times throughout the season.

Esteban Quiroz: The diminutive 26-year-old infielder -- who was sent to San Diego for Brewer -- was a nice story in spring training, and held his own in his first year outside the Mexican League while playing for Double-A Portland. But despite an ability to control the strike zone, he was never going to leapfrog the likes of Tzu-Wei Lin or even Marco Hernandez.

Michael Chavis, Travis Lakins, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Denyi Reyes: All five were added to the 40-man roster so there wouldn't be a chance another team might pluck them in the Rule 5 Draft (putting the Red Sox' roster at 39). Chavis, Lakins and Hernandez were no-brainers. All three could legitimately make an impact on the major league team in the coming season. Taylor is a guy who offers enough intrigue as a left-hander who throws in the upper-90's that hanging on to the 25-year-old reliever was worth it. Then there is Reyes. Why would the Red Sox be worried a team might pluck this 22-year-old who didn't pitch above Single-A? Because of the command and potential he displayed in 2018, walking just 19 in 115 2/3 innings.

Josh Ockimey: This was the guy most were surprised the Red Sox are exposing to the Rule 5 Draft. He did, after all, hit 20 home runs with an .811 OPS in 117 minor league games last season projects to a possible corner infield power option. But between the amount of time the lefty hitter swings and misses (149 strkeouts between Double- and Triple-A last season) and his defensive limitations the organization was willing to take the chance Ockimey won't be selected by a team thinking he could be a major-league option in 2019.

Yoan Aybar: It is odd to think that the Red Sox might have any concern team would select Aybar in the Rule 5 Draft. He pitched for the first time in his life this past season and is just 21 years old, not pitching above short-season Single-A Lowell. But when you have the kind of live arm Aybar possesses (upper 90's fastball) there is some intrigue). But when you expose a kid with this type of talent to the Rule 5 Draft there is always some uneasiness. The guess is that the Red Sox shouldn't worry about losing Aybar.

Trey Ball: The seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft is a name teams will certainly be interested with. But the lefty reliever simply hasn't gotten the job done as a pitcher, finishing his 34 appearances with Double-A Portland with a 7.58 ERA. He is heading into 2019 with the idea of playing both the outfield and pitching. Perhaps the new role will take root, but don't expect another team to make a commitment in the Rule 5 Draft to find out.