The Red Sox announced their roster for their American League Division Series showdown against the Rays this morning, revealing that they’ll have slugger J.D. Martinez available to them for the best-of-five set. Martinez was omitted from Boston’s Wild Card roster after he tripped over second base and sprained his ankle in the final game of the regular season, but he’s apparently healthy enough to return to DH duties after a few days of downtime.
Of greater surprise, however, is that the Red Sox opted to leave right-hander Matt Barnes off the roster for this particular series. Barnes, who signed a two-year extension in July after a dominant three-month start to the season, wilted down the stretch and lost his grip on the team’s closer role.
It was a true tale of two seasons for the 31-year-old Barnes, who posted a 2.25 ERA and a massive 42 percent strikeout rate through his first 44 innings this season before collapsing with a 10.13 ERA in his final 10 2/3 innings (over a span of 16 appearances). Barnes saw his strikeout rate plummet to 26.7 percent as his 6.8 walk rate jumped to 15 percent in that time. After allowing only four homers through his first 44 innings, he yielded four more in those final 10 2/3 innings. Given that context, it’s understandable that Barnes would miss the cut, but such a scenario never would’ve seemed fathomable less than two months ago, when he put pen to paper on a two-year, $18.75MM extension.
Here’s how Boston’s roster breaks down…
- Ryan Brasier
- Nathan Eovaldi
- Tanner Houck
- Adam Ottavino
- Nick Pivetta
- Garrett Richards
- Hansel Robles
- Garrett Whitlock
It’s also of note that Santana has been added to the roster. The switch-hitting speedster has been on the Covid-related injured list since Sept. 10, but the Red Sox opened a roster spot for him yesterday by outrighting shortstop Jose Iglesias (who wasn’t postseason-eligible because he signed mid-September). Santana will give the Sox some speed, a bit of pop and plenty of defensive versatility — but it wasn’t a productive 2021 season for him overall. In 127 plate appearances, Santana batted just .181/.252/.345 with five homers and four stolen bases.
Also dropped from the roster for this round were center fielder Jarren Duran, catcher Connor Wong and infielder Jonathan Arauz. Those subtractions help to pave the way for the addition of Chris Sale and Martin Perez, who weren’t on the Wild Card roster. Sale pitched in the season finale and wouldn’t have been an option in the Wild Card game, but he’ll be expected to start during the Division Series. That said, it’ll be Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Game 1 against the Rays and lefty Shane McClanahan.