The Red Sox were one of a handful of teams in attendance to watch free-agent reliever Chaz Roe throw a bullpen in his home state of Kentucky over the weekend, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Roe, 34, had spent the last 3 1/2 seasons with the Rays before being outrighted off their 40-man roster and electing free agency in late October.
The veteran right-hander was limited to just 10 appearances and 9 1/3 innings pitched out of the Tampa Bay bullpen in 2020 on account of an elbow soreness-related injured list stint that prematurely ended his season in August.
In those 10 outings, Roe yielded four runs (three earned) on 10 hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts. That’s good for an ERA of 2.89 and FIP of 2.55, but an xFIP (Expected Fielder Independent Pitching) of 4.82, per FanGraphs.
Cotillo notes that Roe is “said to be healthy now,” but even when healthy, one of the things that has hindered him over the course of his eight-year major-league career is his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis.
Looking at his lifetime splits, Roe owns a respectable OPS against of .636 when going up against right-handed hitters, but that number inflates all the way up to .862 against lefties.
Even with that being said, the former first-round draft pick of the Rockies in 2005 has proven to be quite the effective relief option, especially in his time with Tampa Bay.
According to Baseball Savant, Roe relies upon a slider, sinker, cutter, and four-seam fastball. He threw his slider 58.5% of the time he was on the mound in 2020 and 64.8% of the time he was on the mound in 2019.
The last time he pitched enough to qualify for Statcast’s percentile rankings, 2019, Roe placed in the 94th percentile in exit velocity, the 97th percentile in hard-hit percentage, the 91st percentile in expected slugging percentage, the 96th percentile in barrel percentage, and the 92nd percentile in fastball spin.
Given the sheer number of relievers who are still on the open market at this point in the offseason, it’s difficult to say what Roe could be seeking in regards to his next contract.
As noted by Cotillo, the Apex Baseball client should already be quite familiar with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom given the time the two spent together in Tampa Bay, so that relationship could serve as a solid starting point in negotiations.
Bloom hasn’t shied away from bringing in former Rays via free agency this offseason, either. That much was made clear when Boston inked outfielder Hunter Renfroe and righty Matt Andriese to one-year deals in December.
At the end of the day, though, Roe is not the only free-agent bullpen option the Red Sox are looking at as the start of spring training is just days away now.
Cotillo reports that the Sox have expressed interest in the likes of veteran right-handers Jeremy Jeffress and Brandon Workman. And as previously mentioned, there are still plenty of quality relievers out there looking for jobs, including another former Ray — and Worcester native — in Oliver Drake.
This speculation comes in the wake of a tweet from @RedSoxStats, who tweeted Monday morning that Boston may still be trying to add to its bullpen before the start of the 2021 season.
(Picture of Chaz Roe: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)