Sunday, March 9, 2014
After Saturday night's 15-9 demoralizing loss to the Yankees, the Red Sox made a few roster moves. More are sure to come.
As was speculated all day Saturday, Boston traded pitcher Michael Bowden and a player to be named to the Cubs for outfielder Marlon Byrd, who is batting .070 (3-for-43) so far.
To make room for Byrd on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder Nate Spears was designated for assignment.
Bowden had already been designated for assignment. He was either going to be traded, let go, or assigned to Pawtucket. Interestingly, Bowden showed a lot of improvement this spring training. His splitter was coming along, although still a work in progress.
In his two appearances, Bowden allowed one home run. He had a 3.00 ERA (bettered only by Junichi Tazawa and Scott Atchison) and a 1.00 WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched).
In time, Bowden may have developed into a very good reliever. But Boston could not wait ...
... because the Red Sox bullpen is so good right now (or not).
With Spears gone, the Red Sox have eight infielders on their 40-man roster, with Lars Anderson, Jose Iglesias and Will Middlebrooks in Pawtucket.
Boston has a surplus of outfielders - 10 on the 40-man roster. But three are on the DL (Crawford, Ellsbury and Kalish) and Jason Repko (separated shoulder) may join them.
There are two "40-man" outfielders in the minors - Che-Hsuan Lin in Pawtucket and Oscar Tejeda in Portland. This is Tejeda's second year on the 40-man. He will have minor league options through 2013. The clock is ticking on him.
So where does Boston go from here? The bullpen obviously needs help, and the Red Sox are going to have to bruise some egos to get it done.
With Aaron Cook ready to be called up from Pawtucket and Daisuke Matsuzaka a month away, the Red Sox have a surplus of starters.
Daniel Bard, for all the potential he shows as a starter, may have to go back to relieving for the sake of the team.
Felix Doubront does not like relieving, but Boston is not going to put Beckett, Lester or Buchholz in the pen. Doubront may have to join Bard when Matsuzaka is ready.
Rich Hill is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. He has to be a better left-handed option than Justin Thomas.
As for Andrew Miller? He's wild, but what does Boston have to lose by taking a chance on him?
With the bullpen bolstered, Alfredo Aceves can go back to a spot start/long relief role he shined in. Based on the small sample of this month, he is not a closer.
And there is the chance that Mark Melancon re-discovers his good stuff in Pawtucket.
Plus, Andrew Bailey could be back for the second half of the season.
So there is hope ... assuming the Red Sox don't dig too big a hole.
I'll be at Fenway later today, as the Red Sox and Yankees try to get in a night game between the raindrops.Tweet
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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