After acquiring All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals on Thursday night, the Red Sox needed to create space on both their major-league and 40-man rosters.
They did so by designating reliever Brandon Workman for assignment.
Workman, who turns 33 next month, sees his second stint with the Red Sox come to a potential end in rather disappointing fashion.
After signing a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cubs in February, Workman opened the 2021 season in Chicago’s bullpen, but got off to a dreadful start in which he posted a 6.75 ERA and 6.28 FIP over 10 relief appearances spanning eight innings of work before being designated for assignment in late April.
Ultimately released by the Cubs, Workman inked a minor-league pact to return to the Red Sox in early May before appearing in seven games with Triple-A Worcester.
In those nine outings, the veteran right-hander pitched to the tune of a miniscule 1.29 ERA over seven innings of work, which led to his contract being selected by Boston on June 3.
From that point, the struggles Workman endured in Chicago picked up once again in Boston, as he put up an unsightly 4.95 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, and .313 batting average against in 21 appearances and 28 innings pitched.
That includes his outing in Thursday’s 13-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park in which he surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk over two innings of mop-up duty. Four of the seven hits he allowed had exit velocities of 105 mph or higher.
The Red Sox originally selected Workman in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas. The Texas-born righty spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first 5 1/2 seasons of his major-league career with Boston — ultimately emerging as the club’s closer in 2019 and the early stages of 2020 prior to getting traded to the Phillies last August.
In exchange for both Workman and fellow reliever Heath Hembree, the Sox acquired right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold from the Phillies.
In the midst of his final season before hitting free agency, Workman struggled mightily with Philadelphia, as he produced a 6.92 ERA and 1.146 OPS against while blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities over the latter half of the pandemic-shortened campaigned.
With that dreary performance as a member of the Phillies in mind, it goes without saying that Workman hit free agency at the wrong time, as he has bounced around since then and could be on the verge of playing for his third team this season alone.
On that note, the Red Sox will have between now and Friday’s trade deadline to trade Workman to another club. If the 6-foot-5 hurler is not traded and instead clears waivers (seems likey), he would then have the right to elect free agency if he so chose.
(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)