The Red Sox have put former top prospect Henry Owens on outright waivers, taking him off the 40-man roster, a baseball source said Wednesday.
The 40-man roster was full after the Red Sox protected players ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Putting Owens on waivers exposes him to other teams and also allows the Red Sox to add a player to the 40-man roster. Any major leaguer acquired via trade or as a free-agent signing would need a 40-man space.
It wasn't immediately known if the Sox were making space preemptively, because they will eventually need likely multiple spaces, or if a player acquisition was imminent. Two baseball sources speculated a move was likely sooner rather than later, and one noted it was probably just a matter of time before Owens' spot in particular was needed.
Owens, a tall 25-year-old lefty, has always had a high ceiling but has had severe control problems. He was a 36th overall draft pick in 2011 and has 85 big league innings with a 5.19 ERA. He walked 24 in 63 innings in 2015, and walked 20 in 22 innings in 2016. In 2017, between Double-A and Triple-A, he walked 115 in 126 innings.
Owens was Baseball America's No. 2 prospect in the Sox system for two straight years, heading into 2014 and 2015.