With the Rule V draft scheduled for Dec. 10, SoxProspects.com offered a detailed look today at the decisions the Red Sox face with their 40-man roster. The Red Sox have until Friday to add minor leaguers with four years of professional experience -- in most cases, anyway -- to their 40-man roster to protect them from being selected by other teams.
Most of the names on the list, of course, aren't players whose departure would devastate Red Sox fans. Most of the top prospects in the Red Sox system either already are on the 40-man roster -- i.e. Felix Doubront -- or will be by the time they have four full seasons of professional experience.
A handful of intriguing names, though, could be out there if the Red Sox don't deem them worthy of taking up a spot on their 40-man roster:
* Randor Bierd (SP): The righty had a 4.55 ERA in 25 appearances at Triple-A Pawtucket this season, his first in the Red Sox organization. He pitched mostly out of the bullpen with the PawSox but has made seven starts in the Arizona Fall League, compiling a 6.04 ERA for the Mesa Solar Sox. If the Red Sox sent him to Arizona to decide whether or not they'd be protecting him, well, they might do the same
* Bryce Cox (RP): A former third-round pick in 2006, Cox had a 2.88 ERA at Double-A Portland this season -- but, as a 24-year-old in Double-A, he's edging closer and closer to non-prospect territory. It seems unlikely that the Red Sox would use a spot on their 40-man roster for a 24-year-old relief pitcher who hasn't yet thrown a pitch in Triple-A.
* Zac Daeges (OF): An ankle injury all but ruined last season for Daeges, but he already was a 25-year-old playing in Triple-A for the first time. He's hit everywhere he's gone -- his career on-base percentage in the minor leagues is .411 -- and if the Red Sox see him as a late-blooming on-base machine in the mold of Kevin Youkilis, you'd better believe they'll hang onto him.
* Jorge Jimenez (3B): The 25-year-old corner infielder hit a career-best 13 home runs this season for Double-A Portland, but he doesn't seem to have the power you'd normally expect from a third baseman in the major leagues. That could work to the advantage of the Red Sox, as teams don't traditionally spend Rule V picks on corner infielders who don't yet hit for much power.
* Kris Johnson (SP): A former first-round draft pick, the righty went to spring training with the Red Sox last spring on the heels of a season in which he had a 3.63 ERA at Double-A Portland. But he endured a disastrous season this season. He had a 6.35 ERA in 25 starts split between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was little better than 1.5.
* Richie Lentz (RP): The Red Sox sent the 25-year-old Lentz to Arizona this fall to give him a chance to bounce back from a season in which he had a 6.75 ERA at Double-A Portland thanks in large part to an exceptionally high walk rate. So far in Arizona, Lentz has a 1.98 ERA and a 13-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 13 2/3 innings pitched, but that means the Red Sox have to decide whether his high walk numbers this season are any more or less fluky than his impressive numbers with the Mesa Solar Sox.
* Yamaico Navarro (SS): The most likely candidate to be protected, Navarro hit .319 and OBP'ed .373 as a 22-year-old at Single-A Salem last season and could be a factor in the team's future plans at either shortstop or third base. If the Red Sox add him to their roster, he could be a late-season promotion this season -- think Gil Velazquez in seasons past.