Just like Domino’s Pizza had to completely change their pizza recipe a few years ago, the Red Sox had to completely reshape their 40-man roster.
As much of the roster news has revolved around some tasty trades (Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt) and the new fantastic free agent signings (Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, and Ryan Dempster), the Red Sox always bring in some extra complements to add a different flavor
Not that many though. Only 5 Non-roster Invitees are scheduled to come to Fort Meyers. Usually these invitees matter as much as adding salt on pepperoni, but sometimes, these toppings can pan out to make the whole pizza taste better.
What might have the biggest pungency is Lyle Overbay. The 36-year-old first baseman was more of a bench player last year with the Diamondbacks and the Braves. It’s been said before, but he is currently ticketed to be a back-up to Napoli. His deal, however, has an opt-out clause at the end of Spring Training, according to MLB.com, which provides security for both him and the Red Sox.
The less appetizing name is Mark Hamilton, a 28-year-old first baseman who is another luscious left-handed first baseman. His résumé is not too impressive (.231 average in AAA Memphis last year), but he does walk a lot (14.4 percent of the time) and has decent power (12 doubles, 15 home runs). He has an outside shot of making the 40-man, but odds are certainly not on his side.
Drew Sutton is the only complement the Red Sox are trying again. The 29-year-old utility player got 54 at bats with the Red Sox in 2011 before spending time with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, his chances of making the 40-man roster is as much of a chance that Dominoes will put peanut butter on their pizza instead of tomato sauce.
Jonathan Diaz, meanwhile, is a flavor nobody has tried before, as he has spent his entire career in the minors. Diaz, a 27-year old middle infielder who signed in December, has never made it past AAA Las Vegas for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is really caught in a depth game, with Pedro Ciriaco, Brock Holt, and Jose Iglesias keeping him off the 40-man. Considering he’s never hit for average (.226 in his Minor League Career), his only really contributions would be speed (career-high 18 steals last year) or on-base ability (.358 OBP for his career).
The only pitcher invited to the pizza party is Anthony Carter, someone who has also not made it to the majors. Converted to a reliever in 2010, Carter keeps the ball in the yard (.86 HR/9 at AAA), but gives up a lot of hits (.282 opponent batting average). Considering that the Red Sox just cut Chris Carpenter, reliever spots seem to be pretty full, so it is unlikely he’ll be put in this batch.
Also remember, the Red Sox are likely to give fresh ingredients a crack – Xander Bogaerts, Bryce Brentz, Blake Swihart, Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley – so that will be fun to watch. But who knows? Non-roster Invitees have become successes in the past (Al Reyes with the Tampa Bay Rays to name one), so maybe one of these guys will add a nice complement.