To make room for Pablo Sandoval on the 40-man roster the Red Sox have designated for assignment Ryan Lavarnway.
Lavarnway was once a top-100 prospect and looked capable of grabbing hold of a sizable role as a catcher/first baseman/designated hitter in Boston based on his strong minor-league track record, but he hit just .201 with five homers and a .565 OPS in 97 games for the Red Sox.
He’s not much of a defender behind the plate, so the 27-year-old Lavarnway will definitely have to hit well to stick in the majors.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Mets are interested in free agent left-hander Craig Breslow, who spent the past three seasons with the Red Sox.
Their interest makes sense, because the Mets are said to be after left-handed bullpen options but probably aren’t looking to pay a big price tag for any of them. Breslow, who had a 5.96 ERA this season but previously posted an ERA under 4.00 every year from 2005-2013, is a good bounceback candidate.
Veteran infielder Chris Nelson has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Phillies, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
Nelson spent most of 2014 at Triple-A, playing for the Reds and Padres, but has played parts of five seasons in the majors for four different teams. He’s a career .265 hitter with a .699 OPS in 282 games, which is disappointing for a one-time top prospect and former No. 9 overall pick in the 2004 draft.
Nelson will try to snag a bench job in Philadelphia at age 29.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio, who was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week, has now been traded to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Colorado let Nicasio go early rather than simply non-tendering him before the December 2 deadline, choosing not to pay him a projected $2.4 million salary via arbitration following three straight seasons with an ERA above 5.00.
However, he’s always had good raw stuff and at age 28 he pitched well after shifting to the bullpen, throwing 21 innings with a 3.48 ERA and 17/5 K/BB ratio. For a team like the Dodgers that doesn’t really care about a couple million bucks he provides some nice bullpen depth.
Ed Lucas, who spent the last two seasons as a utility infielder for the Marlins, has signed with the Rangers for 2015 on a minor-league contract.
Lucas gets an invitation to spring training after hitting .255 with five homers and a .624 OPS in 163 games for the Marlins, for whom he debuted as a 31-year-old rookie in 2013.
Lucas has never hit much, even in the minors, but defensive versatility could get him a bench spot in Texas.