The Red Sox have outrighted Carson Smith off of the 40-man roster, per a club announcement. He has elected free agency. Boston also announced that infielder Tony Renda and right-hander Justin Haley have been outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket. Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia, Austin Maddox and Marco Hernandez were reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and added back to the 40-man roster.
Smith’s time with the Sox was disappointing, to put things mildly. Acquired in the 2015-16 offseason in the trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners, Smith was one of the first major acquisitions for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. At the time, Boston looked to have secured a long-term, high-leverage weapon for the back of the ’pen. That, of course, was far from the case.
It’s easy to forget just how dominant Smith was as a rookie in Seattle, given the three injury-ruined seasons that have since elapsed, but the righty was legitimately overpowering with the 2015 Mariners. In 70 innings of work, he pitched to a minuscule 2.31 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.26 HR/9 and a whopping 64.8 percent ground-ball rate. That combination of whiffs, strong control and elite ground-ball tendencies is exceedingly rare, so it’s easy to see why Smith was viewed as an attractive option.
Unfortunately for the Sox, Smith’s arm simply couldn’t hold up. He underwent Tommy John surgery early in the 2016 season and was only able to make it back to the field for 6 2/3 innings in 2017. The 2018 season brought an embarrassing end to his Red Sox tenure. Smith hit the disabled list with a subluxation in his right shoulder back in May — an injury which he appeared to incur after throwing his glove in the dugout out of frustration. After the fact, he told reporters that he believed fatigue from being overworked might’ve contributed to the status of his balky shoulder — a suggestion which manager Alex Cora characterized as “surprising” and with which he flatly stated he “[didn’t] agree.” Smith ultimately went under the knife in June and didn’t return to the field after the fact.
Renda, 28 in January, appeared in one game as a pinch-runner for the Sox this season and split the remainder of the season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. In a combined 292 minor league plate appearances, the former Reds and Nationals prospect posted a quality .318/.373/.453 slash — adding five homers, 19 doubles, a triple and 10 steals along the way.
Haley, meanwhile, was Boston’s sixth-round pick back in 2012. The 27-year-old made his Red Sox debut this season, though it wasn’t his Major League debut, as Haley logged 18 innings as a Rule 5 pick of the Twins back in 2017. In four games and a total of 7 2/3 innings with Boston this season, he allowed four runs on 10 hits and three walks without a strikeout. Overall, he has a 5.61 ERA in 25 2/3 big league innings, though he’s worked to a considerably better 3.53 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 260 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level in his career to date.