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Yesterday, the 20th of November, represented the deadline for Major League teams to finalize their 40-man rosters. For those who are not as familiar with the intricacy of baseball rosters, the 40-man roster represents the players who are eligible to play on the 25-man Major League roster. During the offseason however, the 40-man roster is used to protect players from the Rule 5 draft which takes place in December.
In the Rule 5 draft players who are not protected by the 40-man roster are eligible to be drafted by the other teams for a fee of $50,000. If the player that is selected does not stay on the 25-man roster for the entire season he must be offered back to his original team for $25,000. Notable Rule 5 draft picks in the past include Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, and Red Sox right-fielder Shane Victorino. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was also a Rule 5 draft pick, so clearly neither the draft nor the players the Red Sox placed on the 40-man roster be overlooked.
The Red Sox added three players to the 40-man roster Wednesday: third basemen Garin Cecchini, outfielder Bryce Brentz, and right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. Bryce Brentz is the closest to the Major Leagues as he spent all of last year in Triple-A Pawtucket. Due to a torn meniscus he was limited to 82 games, but was still able to hit .264 with 17 homeruns 56 RBIs. His career OBP (.312) is something to be desired to the Red Sox who value plate discipline, but he also brings value i n the field with strong arm and above-average range. With the Red Sox already full of outfielders, look for Brentz to make an appearance at Fenway sometime late next season. His power could be an assest of the bench and giving him Major League experience can help the Red Sox brass decide whether they want to hold onto him or trade him as part of a bigger package.
In just over two years between Class-A Salem and Double-A Portland, Garin Cecchini has proven to be an on-base machine compiling an OBP of over .400. While he has not shown much in the way of power, Cecchini has shown that he understands plate discipline and is a consistent line drive hitter. Cecchini is being groomed to play third base and should be Major League ready in about two years. Whether or not Cecchini sticks to third base depends almost entirely on Xander Bogaerts’ career path. If Bogaerts does prove he belongs at shortstop then Cecchini will be manning the bag to his right, if not expect Cecchini to learn the outfield or first base.
As was witnessed last season pitching wins championships, so the prize jewel of this bunch is Anthony Ranaudo. The 6-foot 7 right hander is a hard thrower and spent most of the season in Double-A Portland where he excelled with a 8-4 record and 2.95 in 19 starts. he made the jump to Tripe-A later in the year and produced similar numbers going 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in five starts. Ranaudo is expected to start the year in Triple-A, but do not be surprised if he plays a similar role to that of Brandon Workman this year. As the old adage goes, you can never have enough pitching, so there will almost certainly be a need for a young arm from the farm system next year and it could be Ranaudo.
With these three players added, the 40-man roster now stands at 39 players. If the Red Sox plan on adding players this offseason, which they certainly do, they will have to make some tough decision going forward. Players such as Andrew Bailey, Ryan Kalish, and Brock Holt could find their positions on the roster tenuous at best going forward as the Red Sox look to improve their team.