Travis Shaw Elects Free Agency

TODAY: Shaw has elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A.  As noted by’s Rob Bradford, the Red Sox will only owe Shaw the prorated portion of his $1.5MM salary for the time spent on the active roster.  Because Shaw was let go within the season’s first 40 days, the Sox don’t owe the entire salary.

APRIL 29, 4:06pm: The Red Sox informed reporters (including Tara Sullivan of the Boston Globe) that Cordero has been selected and Shaw was DFA. Boston also reinstated right-handers Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford from the restricted list. To clear 40-man roster space for those two hurlers, the Sox returned COVID “substitutes” Rob Refsnyder and John Schreiber to Triple-A Worcester. They’ve also optioned righty Tyler Danish and recalled outfielder Jaylin Davis.

10:50am: The Sox indeed plan to select Cordero’s contract from Worcester, Cotillo tweets. Cordero struggled immensely through 136 plate appearances in Boston last season, hitting at just a .189/.237/.260 clip while fanning at a 37.5% rate. He’s out to a massive .296/.375/.535 start through 81 plate appearances in Triple-A, where he’s slugged three homers and eight doubles with a slightly lower (though still troubling) 28.3% strikeout rate.

10:23am: The Red Sox are designating struggling corner infielder Travis Shaw for assignment, Chris Cotillo of reports (via Twitter). The team has yet to formally announce the move or a corresponding transaction, though Cotillo suggests that outfielder Franchy Cordero could be brought up from Triple-A Worcester to take Shaw’s spot on the roster.

Shaw, 32, has a lengthy history with the Sox and has had plenty of success in prior stints with Boston, but his 2022 campaign has gotten out to a disastrous start. Through 19 plate appearances, he’s yet to collect a hit or even reach base, punching out seven times along the way. Were the Red Sox’ lineup performing better on the whole, perhaps the front office might have been more willing to give the veteran Shaw a bit more leash to right the ship. Boston, however, is batting just .229/.275/.344 as a team, translating to a 78 wRC+ that ranks 27th among baseball’s 30 teams. Their 72 runs scored this season rank 20th. The Sox have scored two or fewer runs in nine of their 20 games thus far.

Shaw returned to the Red Sox for a second stint late last season after the Brewers placed him on waivers, and his second stint with the Sox proved productive. In 48 plate appearances down the stretch, Shaw hit just .238 but got on base at a healthier .319 clip and slugged a robust .524. He smacked three homers and three doubles along the way, showing enough for Boston to bring him back to the organization on a minor league contract this winter. Shaw didn’t hit much in Spring Training (4-for-24), but management saw enough positives from him to carry him on the Opening Day roster.

Now designated for assignment, Shaw will be either traded, placed on outright waivers or released within a week’s time. Given his early struggles, it seems unlikely that another club would immediately place Shaw on its 40-man roster (via a small trade or waiver claim). If he goes unclaimed or is released, however, his track record ought to get him a look elsewhere on a minor league contract. Shaw has a pair of 30-homer campaigns on his resume and is a career .237/.319/.437 hitter in 2690 plate appearances.

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