By Jeff Louderback
Scott Atchison, a right-handed reliever who will be 37 in March, will not be offered a contract by Friday night’s deadline, making him a free agent.
The move clears a coveted spot on Boston’s crowded 40-man roster as the MLB Winter Meetings take place next week. Atchison, who has a 3.48 ERA over six Major League seasons, was non-tendered last season, returned to the Red Sox on a minor league deal and logged a 1.58 ERA in 42 games and 51.1 innings.
Atchison suffered a torn elbow ligament that sent him to the disabled list, but instead of undergoing Tommy John surgery he chose to rehab the elbow and returned to throw 5.1 scoreless frames in September.
Atchison is free to sign with any team, but he could repeat last year’s decision and agree to a minor league contract with Boston. The Red Sox would likely want a deal that includes incentives considering that Atchison’s elbow can blow out since the elbow ligament in his pitching arm is torn and he will be 37 when opening day arrives.
The Red Sox are deep in relievers and it is likely the top prospect Alex Wilson, a 26-year-old right-hander who was recently placed on the 40-man roster, will get a chance to make the team in spring training. A second round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2009, Wilson was converted to a full-time reliever in 2012 and thrived in late-inning situations at Triple-A Pawtucket, especially in the postseason.