The Red Sox have signed free agent left-hander Cam Booser to a minor-league contract, per the club’s transactions log on MLB.com.
Booser, 30, spent the first half of the 2022 season in the Diamondbacks organization after signing a minors pact with Arizona last February. The lefty posted a 6.48 ERA and 6.60 FIP with 30 strikeouts to 22 walks in 19 relief appearances (25 innings) for Double-A Amarillo before being released by the Sod Poodles in July.
Less than a month after getting cut loose by the Diamondbacks, Booser latched on with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League. He appeared in 13 games for Lancaster down the stretch and pitched to a 4.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts to six walks over 11 2/3 innings of work.
A native of the Seattle-area, Booser has had an interesting journey in professional baseball. He originally attended the esteemed Oregon State University, but he underwent Tommy John surgery after his freshman year and missed the entirety of his sophomore season as a result.
After transferring to Central Arizona College as a junior, Booser was passed over in the 2013 amateur draft. He then signed with the Twins as an undrafted free agent and made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League that August. Booser did not graduate past the rookie-ball level until the onset of the 2015 campaign.
In 32 appearances for Class-A Cedar Rapids that year, Booser forged a 3.72 ERA and 3.57 xFIP to go along with 64 strikeouts to 40 walks across 46 2/3 innings of relief. He was named a Midwest League All-Star for his efforts, but that success did not carry over into 2016. Booser instead struggled to an 8.53 ERA (6.24 FIP) in 21 total outings (25 1/3 innings) between Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers.
The following June, Booser was handed down a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse for the second time (he was previously suspended for testing positive for marijuana in 2015). Over the course of the 2017 season, Booser pitched in just three games. He elected to retire from baseball that November.
“I needed a break,” Booser told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan back in April. “I needed, for my own mental side, to get away and figure out who I was off the field.”
And so Booser returned home to join a carpenters union. He worked construction around northwest Washington state and gave baseball lessons on the side.
In late 2020, Booser got the itch to pitch again and began throwing off a mound at a local facility. He started to work with current Mets pitching coordinator and former Driveline Baseball instructor Kyle Rogers before landing a contract with the Chicago Dogs of the independent American Association in July 2021.
Booser impressed with Chicago (1.93 ERA in 21 1/3 innings) and leveraged his performance there into a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks as soon as he was officially released by the Twins last winter. During his time with Arizona’s Double-A affiliate, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound southpaw sat in the high-90s and topped out at 100 mph with his four-seam fastball. He also works with a low-90s cutter and mid-80s slider.
Booser, who turns 31 in May, has been assigned to Double-A Portland. He should provide Sea Dogs manager Chad Epperson with another left-handed relief option to complement the likes of Skylar Arias and Brendan Cellucci, among others.
(Picture of Cam Booser: John E. Moore III/Getty Images)