The Red Sox have claimed catcher Caleb Hamilton off waivers from the Twins. In order to create space for Hamilton on the 40-man roster, outfielder Abraham Almonte was designated for assignment, per the team’s transactions log.
It is not clear when Hamilton was removed from the Twins’ 40-man roster. The 27-year-old was originally selected by Minnesota in the 23rd round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Oregon State University. He made his major-league debut in August and went 1-for-18 with one home run, one RBI, five runs scored, four walks, and 14 strikeouts over 22 games.
From behind the plate, Hamilton logged 38 innings at catcher and did not throw out any of the six baserunners who attempted to steal off him. The 6-foot, 185-pounder also made six appearances at first base and has experience at every other defensive position in the minor-leagues.
At the Triple-A level this season, Hamilton appeared in 62 games for the St. Paul Saints. The right-handed hitter batted .233/.367/.442 with 10 doubles, 11 homers, 43 runs driven in, 34 runs scored, one stolen base, 43 walks, and 67 strikeouts across 251 trips to the plate. He made 29 starts at catcher and threw out six of 32 base stealers.
Hamilton, who turns 28 in February, has two minor-league options remaining. The Washington state native becomes the fourth catcher on Boston’s 40-man roster, joining the likes of Reese McGuire, Connor Wong, and Ronaldo Hernandez.
During the team’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park earlier this month, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated that catcher would be one position group the club explores making external addition at over the winter.
“This is one of the areas I fully expect that we’re going to explore additions,” Bloom said. “It’s nice to know that we have two guys (McGuire and Wong) that are familiar with how we do things, that showed a lot of good things. But we owe it to ourselves and everybody who cares about this team to look to get better and catcher is certainly not going to be an exception to that.”
It is no sure thing that Hamilton will stick on the Sox’ 40-man roster through the off-season, but the fact that he is versatile and posted a 1.027 OPS against left-handed pitching at Triple-A this season certainly makes him intriguing if he is given an opportunity to fight for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster in the spring.
Almonte, meanwhile, was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations towards the end of July. The well-travelled 33-year-old appeared in 32 games for Triple-A Worcester before having his contract selected on September 7.
In 15 games with the Red Sox, the switch-hitting Almonte slashed .257/.297/.400 to go along with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs, seven runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and 12 strikeouts over 37 plate appearances. He saw playing time at all three outfield positions.
If Almonte goes unclaimed and clears waivers in the coming days, the native Dominican has the ability to refuse an outright assignment to the minor-leagues since he has already accrued more than five years of big-league service time.
Following Tuesday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is back at full capacity. Expect the team to make an announcement on Wednesday morning since they are not allowed to do so during postseason games.