Ten days ago when the Red Sox signed Cody Ross they designated Scott Atchison for assignment. His waiver period passed and no one claimed him, so Scott heads to Pawtucket and will be in Florida for Spring Training, reports Maureen Mullen.
I have a soft spot for Atchison, if only for his excellent first name. But he's been relatively successful for Boston as well, considering he was picked up off the scrap heap. In 30.1 innings last year, he posted a 3.26 ERA and 2.70 FIP. Considering he had a .320 BABIP (likely a sign of some bad luck), he might be slated for a better year in 2012 if he makes the team. FanGraphs has both Bill James and RotoChamps projections that agree.
If he makes the team and is effective, he's an example of the philosophy that good relievers can be found anywhere (a philosophy that has become a staple of the Tampa Bay Rays). He's 36, so it's not like he has upside -- we're not going to see him push Andrew Bailey for closer duties -- but if he can give us reliable innings, he'll be a bargain.
Also of note: A healthy, effective Atchison could give Bobby Valentine more of a push to allow Alfredo Aceves to start. Atchison's 30-plus innings came over 17 appearances -- he's no stranger to going multiple innings. We saw how useful it is to have, effectively, a utility pitcher out of the bullpen. Maybe Atchison can be that guy, and allow Aceves to be even more valuable as a starter.
Of course, if the Red Sox were all that optimistic about this all happening, they probably wouldn't have DFA'd him in the first place. But crazier things have happened.