H/T to our fellow SBN'ers over at Over the Monster for noticing that Brian Shouse was added to the Red Sox Non-Roster Invitee page back on January 4th. We have tried to get independent confirmation, but I guess the move being posted on the teams official site transactions page is good enough in itself.
When the Raysoffered Shouse, a type-B free agent, arbitration in December, many of us waited anxiously for him to decline their offer. He did, and the Rays stood a chance to get yet another sandwich pick had another team offered him a Major League deal. I'm not sure Shouse really helps Boston's roster, but the move prevents another team from signing him to a big league deal and netting that extra pick for the Rays. Whether it was their intention or not, it looks like a pretty savvy move from the Red Sox even if Shouse never throws a pitch for them in 2010.
I did reach out to a former American League executive who confirmed that the Rays were pretty much stiffed out of a potential pick by this move. However, he did add that should Shouse make the Red Sox opening day roster, Tampa Bay could petition for the additional compensatory pick, but that is no guarantee.
As for on the field impact, Shouse remains a "what you see is what you get" lefty specialist. He held lefties to a .224/.246/.373in 2009, but continued to get shelled by righties to the tune of .356/.442/.622 . The cheaper and seemingly more durable, Randy Choatehanded the LOOGY duties for most of the season and was even more effective against lefties than Shouse.
The Rays took a relatively low risk when they signed Shouse last February, but it did not work out as planned. Elbow injury limited him to less than 30 innings in 2009 and his value when healthy was negative. The Rays ended up paying him a little over ~$1.5 million dollars for -$600k in production. Add in the loss of the potential draft pick and we can say the process didn't serve the Rays well on this one.