Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/29/12
Friday yields yet another quirk in baseball’s offseason schedule, as the teams begin the slow process, culminating in March, of paring their rosters down to 25 and 40 men, respectively. By 11:59 p.m. the Red Sox, like all Major League Baseball teams, must decide which players to tender contracts to for the 2013 season — anyone who isn’t extended an offer becomes a free agent. Unlike some other teams, however, Boston has some very tough choices on who to tender an offer to and who to let walk away. Perhaps the player most on the bubble is right fielder Ryan Sweeney, who may be expendable as the Red Sox have just signed Jonny Gomes, want to bring Cody Ross back and have options like Daniel Nava available for the bench. Another very interesting case is Alfredo Aceves. The swingman’s indiscretions were well documented last year, but before his late-season meltdowns he was an excellent fill-in at closer for Andrew Bailey, and the Red Sox reportedly value his versatility. Aceves wants to start and he is a character risk, but the Sox may yet bring him back. Other bullpen decisions include Scott Atchison, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Rich Hill. Lastly, there’s another group of players who don’t figures to get non-tendered, but haven’t been extended a contract offer yet. That list includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Bailey and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. They’ll absolutely have contracts by Saturday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be used as trade bait this offseason.
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