|Source: Red Sox ‘exploring everything’ to create roster spot for Cody Ross||01.25.12 at 2:18 pm ET|
As first pointed out by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (via twitter), the Red Sox face a bit of a roster crunch at the moment. The team’s 40-man roster is currently fully occupied, meaning that in order to finalize the recent one-year, $3 million deal with outfielder Cody Ross, the Sox will have to create space for the 31-year-old.
According to a team source, the Sox are in the process of “exploring everything” with regards to freeing that spot, though at the moment, there’s no sense that the team will contemplate anything “significant” with regards to its roster. While there are still some available starting pitchers on the market, the most straightforward way in which the Sox might clear space on the 40-man would be either a deal involving one of the team’s many out-of-options pitchers (Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller or Franklin Morales), since the Sox will be in a position where — barring a significant string of injuries — they will not be able to carry all of them on the major league roster. Indeed, it was with an eye towards that fact that the Sox spent time early in the offseason gauging trade interest in that group of pitchers, knowing that at some point, one or more would have to be removed from the roster.
The team could also consider a trade of one of its six outfielders who is currently on the 40-man roster. If they did so, Darnell McDonald (who is out-of-options) and Che-Hsuan Lin (who was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, but who (after hitting .235 with a .325 OBP, .293 slugging mark and .618 OPS in 85 Triple-A games as a 22-year-old last year) represents more of a depth option than a player whose skills (excellent defense, speed, a good command of the strike zone but limited offensive skills and no discernible power to this point in his career) create a clear big league role with the Sox.
And, if the team cannot deal one of those players for a minor league prospect (someone not on the 40-man roster) to clear a spot, it could always designate a player for assignment and hope to sneak him through waivers to the minors.
The 40-man roster bottleneck will ease somewhat late in spring training, when the Sox can put John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 60-day disabled list. But, until then, the Sox will need to create an opening for Ross in order to make his deal official.
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