The Red Sox have hired Charlie Madden as a bullpen catcher, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. The move comes after Madden was officially released by the club on Wednesday.
Madden, 26, was originally selected by Boston in the 24th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Mercer University. The Georgia native was a lifetime .220/.291/.344 hitter in the minors before the 2020 season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following spring, Madden was in minor-league camp with the Red Sox and was expected to begin the 2021 season with Triple-A Worcester. Although he was assigned to the WooSox’ roster, the right-handed hitting backstop actually joined the big-league club in May.
At that time, Madden was told by director of player development Brian Abraham that he would be used as a taxi squad catcher. It was initially unclear how long Madden’s stint as a catcher on the taxi squad would last, but he remained with the team for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the postseason.
“The reason Charlie is here is because our staff knew he had all those qualities,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) back in October. “And when you’re looking for someone to do this job, you want someone wired like Charlie; with a head on his shoulders like Charlie has. He’s been great as a part of this group. All the credit … to our people who knew him and identified him as a good candidate for this.”
Becoming Boston’s taxi squad catcher allowed Madden to work closely with the team’s coaching staff and pitchers, including fellow 2017 draftee Tanner Houck, who credits Madden for his ability to ‘break down analytics and present it in a simple, understandable way.’
“He understands all of the analytical side but then he can sit there and talk about it in a baseball format and not just say, ‘Oh, well, the numbers are saying this,’” Houck explained to Smith last fall. “He can say, ‘From a hitter’s perspective I would probably see this.’ Or ‘In this situation, I’d probably be sitting (on this pitch) if I was facing you.’”
With Madden joining Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season as a bullpen catcher, he will be sharing those responsibilities with Mani Martinez.
An opening for a second bullpen catcher came about when Mike Brenly, who served in the role from 2016 through 2021, was promoted to major-league staff assistant in December.
(Picture of Charlie Madden: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)