On Friday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with RHP Heath Hembree.
According to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the two sides will avoid salary arbitration with a deal worth approximately $1.312 million for the 2019 season.
Hembree, 29, posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 67 relief apperances and 60 innings pitched in his fourth full season with Boston in 2018.
The right-hander also held left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average against to go along with a career-high 11.4 K/9 for a whole campaign.
A former fifth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, Hembree took Steven Wright’s spot on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster prior to Game Two against the New York Yankees and did not surrender a single run in any of the four postseason appearances he made on the way to a World Series championship.
With the departure of Joe Kelly and the somewhat probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, it’s quite likely that the South Carolina native will see an increase in usage in 2019 depending on what the Red Sox’ plans are for the remainder of the offseason.
Hembree found success early in the 2018 season by stranding inherited runners on base on a consistent basis, but the ability to do that seemed to fade as the year progressed, and the reliever’s numbers inflated as a result of that.
Per the Red Sox themselves, this signing now leaves 10 players, Matt Barnes, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman, and Steven Wright, who remained unsigned and eligible for arbitration.