The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Zack Kelly to a minor-league contract, according to PNY Sports. It’s unclear at this point if this deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.
Kelly, 25, was cut loose by the Angels organization back in May when most clubs released a good number of their minor-leaguers in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Virginia native was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics for just $500 as an undrafted free agent out of Newberry College (SC) in June 2017. He posted a 3.77 ERA and 4.07 xFIP over 13 appearances and 28 2/3 innings pitched for the Arizona League A’s that summer before getting released the following April.
Signed to a minor-league pact by Los Angeles later that month, Kelly had worked his way up to the Double-A level as recently as 2019.
Across 2o outings (13 starts) and 75 1/3 innings for Double-A Mobile, the righty posted a 3.82 ERA and a much more impressive 3.17 xFIP while averaging nearly 10 punchouts per nine frames of work.
Having put up those numbers in ’19, Kelly likely thought big things were on the horizon this year. Instead, he suffered an elbow injury in spring training which would later require surgery and, as previously mentioned, was released by the Angels in May as part of that mass exodus of minor-league cuts across baseball.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I felt like I had a career that wasn’t worthy of getting released at this point,” Kelly told The New York Times’ James Wagner in June.
Though it’s not clear which kind of surgery Kelly underwent over the summer, he was apparently throwing off a mound in November.
So, it would appear that the 6-foot-3, 205 lb. hurler could be ready for spring training workouts in Fort Myers come February.
So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league contracts (h/t SoxProspects.com):
C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly