A pair of head-to-head roster battles were decided in Red Sox camp this morning, with Dennys Reyes beating out fellow left-hander Hideki Okajima and Matt Albers beating out fellow right-hander Alfredo Aceves.
Reyes and Albers have made the team as relievers, while Okajima and Aceves will head to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Okajima and Aceves both have a minor-league option remaining, while Reyes and Albers do not, which likely played a big part in the decisions. This way the Red Sox can keep all four pitchers, instead of having to risk losing Reyes or Albers had they kept Okajima or Aceves.
After a disappointing 2010 season Okajima took a pay cut to re-sign with the Red Sox for $1.75 million, which he’ll be earning in the minors. Aceves signed a “split” contract when he joined the Red Sox as a free agent last month, so he’ll make $200,000 at Pawtucket. Aceves looked good in camp and the Red Sox didn’t pay $1.75 million for Okajima to face International League hitters all year, so they’ll both likely get a shot in Boston soon enough.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.