Remember when Dylan Covey was one of 27 pitchers the Red Sox used during a dismal 2020 season that only consisted of 60 games?
A former fourth-round pick of the Oakland Athletics who broke in with the White Sox in 2017, Covey was effectively released by Chicago leading up to the 2020 season and inked a minor-league deal with the Rays shortly thereafter.
On the other side of the COVID-19-induced shutdown that placed a freeze on transactions across Major League Baseball, the Rays traded Covey to the Red Sox in late July.
The right-hander was initially optioned to Boston’s alternate training site, but wound up making the club’s Opening Day roster. He made his Red Sox debut against the Orioles on July 25 and was then sent back down to Pawtucket the following day.
On August 8, Covey was recalled from the alternate training site, paving the way for him to make three more appearances out of the Sox’ bullpen before getting optioned eight days later.
Fast forward nearly four weeks, and Covey’s name was called upon once again. He closed out the shortened campaign on Boston’s big-league roster and made four final relief appearances in the process of doing so.
All told, Covey posted a 7.07 ERA — yet a much more respectable 3.91 FIP — to go along with 11 strikeouts to just two walks over eight outings spanning 14 total innings of work in his three stints with the club.
Following the conclusion of the 2020 World Series, the Red Sox outrighted Covey off their 40-man roster, thus allowing the righty to become a free agent since he had already accrued more than three years of major-league service time.
It’s unclear if Covey — a client of CAA Sports — was pursuing big-league opportunities upon hitting the open market, but he ultimately inked a one-year deal with the Rakuten Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League last May.
Equipped with a five-pitch mix that consists of a slider, four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, and curveball, Covey debuted for Rakuten’s first-team in late August.
In 10 starts for the Monkeys, the 30-year-old put up a 4.01 ERA and 3.14 FIP with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks across 58 1/3 innings pitched. According to CPBLStats.com, he yielded a minuscule 0.84 ERA over his final five starts of the year.
Last month, it was revealed that Rakuten had re-signed Covey to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2022 season, which begins in April.
If Covey — who turns 31 in August — can put together another productive season in Taiwan, it would be fascinating to see if the 6-foot-1, 214 pound hurler could garner enough interest from MLB teams to ponder a return to the United States next winter.
(Picture of Dylan Covey: CPBL Stats)