The Red Sox parted with a pair of utility depth options on Monday, as Carlos Rivero was claimed on waivers by the Mariners and Jonathan Herrera (who finished the year on the disabled list due to surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow) was outrighted off the 40-man roster, a move that will make him a free agent as of 5 p.m. on Monday.
Rivero, signed to a minor league deal last offseason, spent the final five weeks of the year in the big leagues. He stepped to the plate just eight times, going 4-for-7 with two doubles and a homer as well as a walk, giving him a career .571/.625/1.286 line with a 1.911 OPS — the highest career OPS in major league history by a player with at least six plate appearances. Though he played just third base in the big leagues, Rivero played shortstop, third and left field in the minors for the Sox with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket this year.
Herrera was acquired last winter in a deal with the Rockies for left-hander Franklin Morales. He was expected to serve as a utility backup, with the switch-hitter offering the team a left-handed alternative to spell Xander Bogaerts (short), Dustin Pedroia (second) and Will Middlebrooks (third). In sporadic playing time, Herrera hit .233/.307/.289 in 104 plate appearances. With the emergence of Brock Holt, Herrera was optioned to Pawtucket in the summer. He played well in Triple-A, hitting .309/.350/.382 in 13 games, but didn’t play after leaving a game on July 26 due to what proved to be bone chips in his elbow that required season-ending surgery in August.
With the moves, the Sox’ roster stands at 36. The team’s utility depth, most notably at shortstop, is most significantly impacted by the two roster moves. Xander Bogaerts and Holt are joined by Jemile Weeks (who is out of options) as the team’s only shortstops currently on the 40-man roster, though Deven Marrero could certainly be a consideration for the position if either player is injured next year.
Still, given the departures of Rivero and Herrera, the Sox would appear likely to pursue a minor league deal with a veteran who can offer utility depth in Triple-A in 2015 — a profile of a player that the team pursues perennially.