After six straight losses the Red Sox have made their first moves of the season, placing Matt Albers on the disabled list and designating Dennys Reyes for assignment while replacing them in the bullpen with Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront.
Reyes beat out Hideki Okajima for the left-handed specialist gig during spring training, but is now being cut loose after throwing all of 1.2 innings. He didn’t pitch well, allowing three runs while struggling to throw strikes, but if Reyes was good enough to make the Opening Day roster (and get $900,000) he’s seemingly good enough to stick with for longer than a week.
Instead of replacing him with Okajima the Red Sox are instead turning to Doubront, who began the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. He’s been exclusively a starter in the minors, but the 23-year-old lefty will try to stick around in the bullpen for now.
Aceves probably would have made the Opening Day roster if not for the fact that he had a minor-league option remaining and could be sent to Triple-A. The former Yankee has the potential be a setup-caliber reliever if healthy and also serves as rotation depth should the Red Sox need another starter. He had a 3.21 ERA and 87/30 K/BB ratio in 126 innings for the Yankees during the past three years.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.