When he signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox during spring training Alan Embree had the right to opt out of the deal if he wasn’t on the major-league roster by April 15. Once that date arrived and the Red Sox had no plans to promote him Embree extended the deadline to April 30, saying that he needed a bit more time to get ready anyway.
However, yesterday the 40-year-old reliever told Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal that he will not extend the opt-out deadline again and plans to become a free agent if not called up to Boston by Friday.
There’s not going to be any extending of the deadline anymore. I’ve been a good soldier, I did whatever’s asked, and I did what it took to get ready. If something hasn’t happened by the 30th, I think they know that I’m not going to consider staying. So it’s pretty much cut-and-dried. If I don’t hear anything, I get on a plane and head home until I have a new job.
I feel like I’m ready, I feel like I can help the team, but ultimately that’s not my decision. I can respect that. I’m a player, they’re in charge. The way I look at it is that they either take me, or I go somewhere else, or I go home. At this point in my career, I’m pretty comfortable with it. I’m sure there’ll be work out there for me, and I’m sure it’ll be good work. But that’s not what was intended when I signed over here. I wanted to be a Red Sox and retire a Red Sox.
Tim Wakefield getting bumped from the rotation makes the Red Sox’s bullpen even more crowded, but realistically Embree is simply competing with fellow southpaw Scott Schoeneweis for the situational left-hander role anyway. Hideki Okajimi clearly isn’t going anywhere as the left-handed setup man and it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would keep three lefties in the bullpen right now.
In other words, unless Boston feels like dumping Schoeneweis my guess is that Embree will indeed be getting on a plane and heading home at the end of this week.