February 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Since our last edition, the Sox have been content to make a few tweaks to the Triple-A roster. Here's the dish:
The Move: Red Sox sign 1B Mauro Gomez to a minor league deal
Believe it or not, the Sox were actually pretty thin at first base before the Gomez signing. In the majors, Adrian Gonzalez is locked in at first, with Kevin Youkilis probably sliding across the diamond should he get hurt, although that would necessitate a corresponding move at third. In Pawtucket, Lars Anderson was the only true first baseman, problematic both in case of injury and because, to be frank, he could be traded at any time, as evidenced by last year’s near-trade for Rich Harden.
Gomez does one thing – hit. Although he’s old at 27, he put up a .304/.356/.522 line for Gwinnett in the International League last season and has averaged 24 home runs over the last four years. For reference, 24 home runs would have put him third in the entire Red Sox system last season. Gomez should see a fair amount of time at DH as long as Anderson is around, and could easily slot in as the PawSox starting first baseman should Anderson be traded.
Nate Spears, Brad Emaus, Pedro Ciriaco, Tony Thomas – No, these guys aren’t first basemen, but with a true backup first baseman on the roster, it looks like there may only be room for two of these four in Pawtucket, at least on the active roster anyway, if everyone is healthy. One will likely come down with a fake injury at the end of spring training in order to join the Pawtucket taxi squad if such a situation occurs.
The Move: Red Sox outright RHP Scott Atchison to Triple-A Pawtucket, sign RHP Sean White to a minor league deal
I was not too surprised that Atchison did not elect for free agency. Considering that he came to the States after playing in Japan in order for his daughter to get better medical treatment, he seemed likely to be the type of player that would stick around rather than bolt for a marginally better chance at sticking in the majors.
As documented, Atchison no longer has options remaining. However, if he is going to clear waivers whenever he gets designated for assignment, as he did here, he might be able to remain the team’s top short-term I-95 shuttle reliever this year.
As for White, made his major league debut in 2007 and has bounced back and forth since, with his most extensive MLB time coming in 2009. He spent all of last season in Triple-A, and will likely do so again, trying to pitch his way into injury fill-in duty.
As written about in this space ad nauseum, the rest of the pitchers fighting for jobs in Triple-A. That said, the news of Charlie Haeger’s Tommy John surgery does relieve some of the pressure on those roster spots, as might the resolution of the Vicente Padilla child support situation and whether or not the Red Sox sign Roy Oswalt, which I am no longer quite as sure about given his apparent preference not to come to the Northeast.
The Move: Red Sox sign OF Jason Repko to a minor league deal
This one happened back in early January, but I somehow missed it and wanted to cover it here. Repko is your classic replacement-level outfielder, and has been bouncing between Triple-A and the majors since 2006. He has never really excelled in the majors in part due to injuries. A solid defender who plays all three outfield positions, Repko is outfield insurance for the Red Sox on two fronts: 1) early in the season, he could be the fifth outfielder in Boston if Carl Crawford will start the year on the DL, and 2) whether or not that happens, he will serve as outfield depth in Pawtucket until Ryan Kalish returns in June. In Repko, J.C. Linares, and Che-Hsuan Lin, Pawtucket will have three excellent defensive outfielders, along with left fielder Daniel Nava, to start the year.
If you’re wondering why it’s important to have minor league depth, check out this list of who played right field for Pawtucket last season:
Ronald Bermudez – 40 games (Should have been no higher than Double-A, and more appropriately in High A)
Nate Spears – 23 games (He’s an infielder, “utility” be damned. He's not out there this much if they have three legit Triple-A outfielders.)
Matt Sheely – 21 games (Great as classic org. guy who spells starters with great defense, poor offense. Bad as your starting right fielder, and that’s why Bermudez was playing ahead of him)
Brett Carroll – 20 games (Signed late in the season when it was clear the team could not keep waiting for Kalish to return)
Josh Reddick – 15 games (Fine option, but played mostly center field until Lin was promoted and then spent most of the season in Boston)
Che-Hsuan Lin – 10 games (Fine but, again, should be in center)
J.C. Linares – 8 games (Until injury ended his season)
Yamaico Navarro – 8 games (See Spears, Nate, although much of this was apparently to showcase him for a trade)
Daniel Nava – 4 games (He’s a left fielder and should not really stray from there)
Tony Thomas – 4 games (Not even a utility player, a true second baseman)
Darnell McDonald – 3 games (“Rehab” assignment)
Joey Gathright – 2 games (Brief stint before going to Boston to pinch run)
Drew Sutton – 2 games (See Spears, Nate and Navarro, Yamaico)
J.D. Drew – 1 game (Rehab)
Ryan Kalish – 1 game (That’s right, 13 players saw more time in Pawtucket’s right field than him. Go figure.)
None really - he takes the spot Kalish would have occupied.
Chris Hatfield is Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPChrisHatfield.