Following a 6-2 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday, the Red Sox made their fifth round of spring training roster cuts.
After previously sending down pitching prospect Chris Murphy, Boston also optioned infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez to Triple-A Worcester and reassigned left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda and right-hander Chase Shugart to minor-league camp.
Valdez, 24, has appeared in 14 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring. The left-handed hitter has gone 5-for-25 (.200) at the plate with one home run, two RBIs, four runs scored, seven walks, and eight strikeouts in that span.
The Red Sox acquired Valdez (and Wilyer Abreu) from the Astros in last August’s Christian Vazquez trade. They then added the native Dominican to the 40-man roster in November in order to prevent him from reaching minor-league free agency.
In 44 games with the WooSox down the stretch last season, Valdez batted ..237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 30 RBIs, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 195 plate appearances. On the other side of the ball, the 5-foot-9, 191-pounder saw playing time at second base, third base, and in left field.
Valdez is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He could very well make his major-league debut at some point this season, but he will first return to Worcester to continue with his development.
“Valdez still needs some seasoning, quote-unquote, to get better defensively and offensively,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier). “But you can’t rule him out.”
Mosqueda, 23, has appeared in four Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring. The Venezuelan-born southpaw has allowed just one earned run on five hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over five innings of relief. He needed just 12 pitches (10 strikes) to punch out a pair and toss a scoreless seventh inning against the Tigers on Tuesday.
A member of Boston’s 2015 international signing class, Mosqueda re-signed with the organization he began his professional career with over the winter after posting a 4.30 ERA and and 4.05 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks across 45 relief appearances (58 2/3 innings) for Double-A Portland last year.
Back in February, The Athletic’s Chad Jennings identified Mosqueda as a potential dark-horse out of the bullpen for Boston in 2023, noting that he “has been singled out by one Red Sox evaluator as a legitimate big-league possibility this season.”
Shugart, meanwhile, was roughed up by the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. The 26-year-old righty was tagged for five runs (four earned) on three hits and two walks. He only managed to record the first out of the eighth inning and was ultimately charged with the losing decision.
Coming into Tuesday’s Grapefruit League action, Shugart had yet to surrender a run in his first four appearances (three innings) of the spring. The University of Texas product split the 2022 campaign between Portland and Worcester. He will more than likely join Mosqueda in the WooSox bullpen to begin the 2023 season.
With these three subtractions made, the Red Sox now have 47 players remaining at major-league camp in Fort Myers. Of those 47 players, 13 are in camp as non-roster invitees. They will have to get down to 26 players before Opening Day on March 30.
(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)