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Red Sox begin process of remaking roster

First baseman Allen Craig has hit just .139 in 65 games for the Red Sox.
First baseman Allen Craig has hit just .139 in 65 games for the Red Sox.(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/File 2015)

The Red Sox started the process of remaking their roster by removing an assortment of underachieving players on Friday.

Righthanded relievers Ryan Cook, Jean Machi, and Alexi Ogando are gone. Cook was placed on waivers and claimed by the Chicago Cubs. Machi and Ogando elected free agency after being sent outright to Triple A Pawtucket.

First baseman Allen Craig was outrighted to Pawtucket and accepted his assignment. The Red Sox also took catcher Sandy Leon off the 40-man roster but signed him to a major league deal after he accepted an assignment to Pawtucket.

The Red Sox activated five players off the 60-day disabled list: righthanders Clay Buchholz (right elbow strain), Koji Uehara (broken right wrist), Anthony Varvaro (right elbow surgery), and Brandon Workman (right elbow surgery), and catcher Christian Vazquez (right elbow surgery).

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The Red Sox have 38 players on their 40-man roster. More moves will be required on or around Nov. 20, the deadline to add minor league players to the roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

Outfielder Manuel Margot, righthanded reliever Pat Light, and shortstop Marco Hernandez are considered locks to be added to the roster.

Craig has hit .139 with a .432 OPS in 65 games for the Sox since being acquired from the Cardinals on July 31, 2014. This marks the second time in six months he has been outrighted off the roster.

Why does Craig accept the demotion? He has $9 million on his contract for 2016, $11 million for '17, and a $1 million buyout in '18. By accepting, the contract remains in effect.

Cook was acquired from Oakland on July 31 for cash and was brutally ineffective in five appearances for the Sox. He faced 31 batters and put 17 of them on base. Opponents were 13 of 27 against him with four home runs.

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Cook, 28, was an above-average reliever from 2012-14 before melting down this season.

Ogando and Machi are arbitration-eligible and the Red Sox were sure to non-tender both. Ogando had a 3.99 earned average in 64 appearances, allowing an alarming 12 home runs in 65 innings. Machi had a 5.09 ERA in 26 games after being claimed off waivers from the Giants on July 28.

Leon hit .184 with almost no power (two extra-base hits in 114 at-bats) in 41 games for the Sox. But the 26-year-old is a strong defensive catcher and last season threw out 10 of 20 base stealers.

By signing Leon now for $534,000, the Red Sox maintain depth at the position without sacrificing a roster spot.

Major League free agency starts at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. There are 158 free agents available, including now-former Red Sox lefthanders Craig Breslow and Rich Hill.

Vice president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said the Red Sox will be focusing on improvements to their pitching staff.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.