The Red Sox have signed free agent right-hander Taylor Cole to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, the club announced Wednesday. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.
Cole, 32, last pitched in the majors in 2019. He was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 29th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Brigham University and debuted with Toronto in 2017.
After just one appearance with the Jays, Cole was released that November and later signed on with the Angels ahead of the 2018 campaign. For the next two years, the righty was shuttled between Anaheim and the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. He posted a 4.62 ERA — but much more encouraging 3.31 FIP — to go along with 89 strikeouts to 36 walks over 56 outings (eight starts) spanning 87 2/3 innings of work during that two-year stretch.
The highlight of Cole’s tenure with the Halos came on July 12 of the 2019 season, when he started and threw the first two innings of a combined no-hitter against the Mariners. Felix Pena was responsible for the final seven frames of that memorable 13-0 win at Angel Stadium, which was the team’s first home game following the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Most recently, Cole missed the 2020 season in its entirety due to a shoulder injury that required surgery that August. The California native was out of affiliated ball altogether in 2021, but spent his winter in the Dominican Republic.
There, while pitching for Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League, Cole put up a 2.08 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with eight strikeouts and six walks over seven relief appearances and 8 2/3 innings pitched.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Cole — who turns 33 in August — operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, curveball, and cutter, per Baseball Savant.
Given how he has a history of both working as a starter and reliever, Cole’s versatility must have intrigued the Red Sox to a certain extent. It’s the sort of signing that does not come with much risk, but could prove beneficial for both parties if Cole impresses this spring.
On that note, Cole becomes the fifth non-roster invitee Boston has invited to big-league spring training, as he joins the likes of fellow pitchers Zack Kelly and Michael Feliz as well as outfielders Christin Stewart and Rob Refsnyder.
(Picture of Taylor Cole: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images