The Red Sox today designated Chris Carter for assignment to make room for reliever Dustin Richardson on the active roster. With Michael Bowden making an emergency start in place of Josh Beckett on Monday, the Red Sox needed an extra arm -- and Richardson was it.
The rise of Richardson already has been detailed in this space here. What's not quite so clear is how the Red Sox can release Carter if he's supposed to be headed to the Mets as part of the Billy Wagner trade.
(The Yankees claimed him when the Red Sox tried to pass him through waivers, forcing the Red Sox to keep him on the 40-man roster through most of the month of September.)
The trick is that he hasn't technically been released. He's been designated for assignment, which means he's off the 40-man roster and the Red Sox have 10 days to trade him or release him outright.
With only a week left in the regular season, the 10-day window becomes irrelevant. The Red Sox can remove Carter from the roster for the season's final seven days -- and once the season ends, Carter can be traded to the Mets without clearing waivers.
(Carter, as you can imagine, was the one really screwed by this deal. The Yankees' waiver claim only cost the Red Sox a roster spot for a few weeks, and it's not as though the Mets needed him to make an impact right away. All the claim did was cost Carter a chance to play for the Mets in September -- and, more importantly, to draw a major-league salary for a month.)