Organizations throughout Major League Baseball use their affiliated clubs to shuttle players up and down the system in order to keep rotations, bullpens, and benches stocked. With Andrew Benintendi exceeding all expectations in Greenville and Sean O’Sullivan imploding in Boston, the Red Sox made several changes throughout the organization earlier this week. Brandon Magee explains the Red Sox manic Monday moves like only he can.
On Monday, the Red Sox made a series of moves throughout all levels of the organization. A few were exciting. Some were tinged with disappointment. Others highlighted the loopholes that teams exploit in order to juggle the rosters in the minors. It was just another manic Monday, but how did it affect the teams and individual players?
Boston Red Sox designated RHP Sean O’Sullivan for assignment.
Boston Red Sox recalled IF Marco Hernandez from Pawtucket Red Sox.
Pawtucket Red Sox activated 3B Chris Dominguez from the 7-day disabled list.
Pawtucket Red Sox activated LF Allen Craig from the 7-day disabled list.
2B Sean Coyle assigned to Portland Sea Dogs from Pawtucket Red Sox.
Portland Sea Dogs placed C Tim Roberson on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to May 15, 2016.
OF Derek Miller assigned to Lowell Spinners from Portland Sea Dogs.
OF Andrew Benintendi assigned to Portland Sea Dogs from Salem Red Sox.
Salem Red Sox activated C Jordan Procyshen from the 7-day disabled list.
RHP Adam Lau assigned to Greenville Drive from Red Sox extended spring training.
RHP Dioscar Romero assigned to Red Sox extended spring training from Greenville Drive.
RHP Jose Almonte assigned to Greenville Drive from Lowell Spinners.
RHP Daniel Gonzalez assigned to Red Sox extended spring training from Greenville Drive
Boston Red Sox
Sean O’Sullivan was a temporary solution to the starting pitching problem for the Red Sox. However, with Joe Kelly ready to rejoin the rotation, the journeyman is no longer a necessity for Boston. Unfortunately for O’Sullivan, with all his options to the minor leagues having been used up, the only way for Boston to move him off the Red Sox roster was the DFA. For a player, that means he’s in a state of limbo for up to ten days. However, it is more than likely that the Red Sox placed him on waivers at the same time as they designated him for assignment, and so he will be with a new organization or back in Pawtucket on Thursday.
With the newly freed space on the 25-man roster, utilityman Marco Hernandez returns to Boston. However, with Kelly needing to come back onto the roster on Saturday, Hernandez’s stay may be temporary once again unless Boston decides to say eight is more than enough in the bullpen, in which case Heath Hembree may earn a return to the PawSox.
Pawtucket Red Sox
The PawSox said goodbye to a pair of infielders on Monday, with Sean Coyle joining Hernandez on his way out of McCoy. Coyle, however, was moving in reverse as he was demoted to AA Portland after starting the season with a line of .125/.192/.222 over his first 24 games in Pawtucket this season. Coyle, who is on the Boston 40-man roster, will be given every opportunity in Portland to reverse his struggles and show that he is worthy of that 40-man spot.
With the infield pair moving out, the PawSox welcomed back two players who had been on their disabled list since the middle of April. Chris Dominguez, who was placed on the DL with a right oblique strain, was slated to be the primary third baseman for the PawSox at the beginning of the season. However, Jantzen Witte has likely supplanted Dominguez as the primary third sacker after beginning his AAA career with a line of .270/.313/.444 in his first 18 games.
Allen Craig has been on the DL even longer with an undisclosed injury. Craig is clearly a man without a starting position with the PawSox, with Sam Travis having a hold on the first base job and Rusney Castillo, Ryan LaMarre, Justin Maxwell, Bryce Brentz, Chris Marrero, and Blake Swihart all serving time in the outfield. While Dominguez and Craig will likely not see much time in the field, they should each get some time in the designated hitter role.
Portland Sea Dogs
Besides greeting the struggling Coyle on Monday, the Sea Dogs also welcomed Andrew Benintendi to the fold.
Benintendi’s move came after only 88 total minor-league games, but had been widely anticipated. The 2015 first-rounder had blitzed Carolina League pitching in his one-month cameo, batting .341/.413/.563 with 21 extra-base hits, eight stolen bases and, in a continuing trend, more walks than strikeouts (15 vs. 9).
To make room for Coyle and Benintendi, Portland had to move two men off the roster. In a straightforward transaction, Tim Roberson was placed on the Sea Dogs disabled list. Roberson had largely been used as a first baseman, a position that will now be assumed by Nate Freiman.
The other transaction was to assign outfielder Derek Miller to Lowell, in what is often considered a paper move. As the Spinners do not begin play for another month, the addition of Miller is a temporary assignment until the Red Sox organization can make another move to place Miller on the roster of an active team. Given his slow start with the Sea Dogs, it is likely that Miller’s next move is back to high-A Salem.
What does Coyle’s demotion mean for the eventual promotion of Yoan Moncada? Likely, not much. Coyle, who had become a Brock Holt-esque utility man in Pawtucket this season, has continued that role in Portland in his first two games. When the Red Sox deem Moncada ready – which could be at any time – it is likely that the struggling Wendell Rijo will be sent down to Salem in a switch of 20-year-old second basemen.
Salem Red Sox
Of all the moves on Monday, Salem’s transactions were the least complicated. Replacing Benintendi on the roster was Jordan Procyshen, who came off the DL. Procyshen will be a welcome addition to the catching corps, as he had gone 6-for-13 this season before heading out with injury.
However, much like Pawtucket’s middle infield, the Salem outfield is now a little bare, with only Bryan Hudson, Danny Mars, and Mike Meyers on the active roster. There will need to be another move in the near future to give Salem some options in the outfield.
The Drive’s moves were restricted to the pitching staff and didn’t involve any other active team. Adam Lau came up from extended spring training to replace Dioscar Romero in the bullpen. Romero has struggled over 17 2/3 innings with Greenville, putting up a 4.08 ERA and a 1.528 WHIP.
Jose Almonte was assigned from the Spinners, where he had been on the roster since the end of last season, to start his first game of 2016 on Monday. Almonte, of course, was nowhere near Lowell during this year, having been plying his trade in extended spring training. Almonte replaces Daniel Gonzalez, who has struggled in his seven starts with the Drive.
The front office of any major-league team works hard on a daily basis. They not only need to make sure the big club is stocked in the best possible way, but also must keep tabs on the minor-league teams, making sure each team is fully staffed while prospects are evaluated and correctly placed to continue their ascensions or to address their struggles. The Red Sox showed the complexities inherent in the process with their 13-move Monday.
Brandon Magee is our minor league expert; he has written about minor league travel, ranking prospects, a first round draft pick, and the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Follow Brandon on Twitter @cuzittt.