Major League Baseball’s calendar lists this occasion for Nov. 20:
“Last date to outright an injured player to the Minor Leagues, if permissible. Reserve lists for all major and minor league levels filed.”
That’s a fancy way of saying that teams have to set their 40-man roster. Eligible players not added would be exposed to the Rule 5 draft in December.
The Sox have 36 players on their 40-man roster at the moment. You can expect them to add outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder Garin Cecchini, and righthander Anthony Ranaudo.
Brentz was a supplemental first-round pick in 2010. He has hit 71 home runs in four seasons, displaying the kind of righthanded power that is hard to come by. He had a Josh Reddick-like .312 OBP last season and somehow shot himself in the leg last January. But Brentz has value.
Cecchini is one of the best hitters in the organization, posting a career .874 OPS. He’s being developed to play third but could end up elsewhere.
Ranaudo, a supplemental first-round pick in 2010, had a rough start to his career after leaving LSU. But he was 11-5 with a 2.96 over 140 innings for Portland and Pawtucket in 2013 and struck out 127. He’ll likely start 2014 in Pawtucket’s rotation.
The Red Sox protected catcher Dan Butler and outfielder Alex Hassan last season, which came as a surprise. So if they did the same with a player such as third baseman Michael Almanzar, it would not be totally unexpected.
Other notable players who figure to be left unprotected included former first-round pick Kolbrin Vitek, an infielder who hasn’t hit much in four seasons. Cuban outfielder J.C. Linares can hit but hasn’t been all that great at staying on the field.
Derrik Gibson is a former second-round pick who never developed. Jose Vinicio received a bonus of $1.95m to sign out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. He hit .192 last season and is still stick-figure skinny.
Pitchers Keith Couch, Aaron Kurcz, and Mathew Price have shown flashes of promise but nothing consistent enough to merit a roster spot.
Any team that selects one of these players in the Rule 5 Draft would have to keep him all season or offer him back to the Red Sox.
As the Red Sox sign free agents or obtain players via trade, how they manage their 40-man roster will be worth watching because there aren’t many players they would willingly shed.
Andrew Bailey is a non-tender candidate because of his shoulder surgery. Outfielder Ryan Kalish remains a 40-man player. He didn’t play in 2013 because of surgery. Brock Holt also seems to be on the fringes.
A few other notes:
• Dustin Pedroia won the “Heart and Hustle” award from the MLB Players Alumni Association.
• Free agent first baseman and outfielder Corey Hart told MLB Network Radio that the Red Sox had contacted his agent. He missed all of last season with double knee surgery.
Hart hit .279/.343/.514 from 2010-12 for Milwaukee with 87 home runs 248 RBIs. The righthanded hitter has mashed lefties in his career.
Hart said in his interview that he would be cleared for workouts early next month. Teams would probably want to see him work out a bit before offering a contract.