Red Sox Trade Sam Travis And DFA Bobby Poyner for Poyneresque Reliever

It has been an odd off-season for the Boston Red Sox, to say the least. Not just due to the numerous scandals but in terms of roster management.

On Wednesday Boston announced that they had acquired left-handed reliever Jeffery Springs from the Texas Rangers in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, Boston had to designate for assignment left-handed reliever Bobby Poyner.

It was clear when Boston DFA’d Travis a few weeks ago that his future with the organization was going to come to an end sooner rather than later. The 26-year-old ended up clearing waivers but flipping the former second-round pick for an asset makes sense if Chaim Bloom doesn’t plan on giving him another shot in the Majors.

My problem with this specific move is the need to DFA Poyner for a reliever in Springs that has a similar skill set.

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Big League StatsJeffery Springs Bobby Poyner2019 Innings32.111.22019 ERA6.406.942019 ERA Against Righties6.55 in 22.0 IP6.14 in 7.1 IPCareer Innings64.134.0Career ERA 4.904.50Career Strikeouts6335

It just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Trading an asset for an asset that is similar to an asset that you have to DFA to get said acquired asset on the roster.

Net-Net Moves At Best, Starting A Trend

These moves follow a Friday that had me also scratching my head. Boston traded an 18-year-old prospect in Anguedis Santos for an RHP in Austin Brice. Brice who owns a 4.90 career ERA in 128.2 IP seemed like a type of pitcher that could be netted in free agency. For example, RHP Trevor Rosenthal who owns a career ERA of 3.46 in 340.1 IP was available at the time of this move and he unlike Brice is a pitcher with playoff experience. Rosenthal ended up signing a minor league deal with Kansas City and is coming off a down year in 2019 but again, he was on the market. Does a 0.69 postseason ERA in 26.0 innings sound like something you might be interested in?

In order to get Brice on the roster, the Red Sox had to DFA infielder Marco Hernandez who is a career .265 hitter and plays and can play three positions with average to above-average defense.

Marco Hernandez

To be fair to Bloom and the Red Sox none of these moves will likely impact wins/losses on the 2020 team. Well, unless Brice and Springs get torched by major league hitters. Either way, small moves but doesn’t exactly bode confidence that he can manage the blockbuster type deals that will have to happen at some point in the future.

It just feels like a lot of these moves are net-net and then in order to make it there is some sort of concession like a DFA of a similar level of player. If you can find a tangible difference between Springs and Poyner let me know in the comments below.

Also as a side note, the reason why Poyner didn’t see more action in 2019 was due to the need for Boston to have inning eaters on the roster in Josh Smith, Ryan Weber, and Mike Shawaryn. Due to their poor starting pitching, there was a need for length out of Pawtucket rather than the one inning or one-batter action that Poyner provides.
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