The Red Sox have acquired right-handed reliever Zack Littell from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations, according to MLB.com’s Kennedi Landry.
Littell had been with Texas’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock and was not the club’s 40-man roster. The 27-year-old will report to Triple-A Worcester in the coming days, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
A former 11th-round draft selection of the Mariners out of Eastern Alamance High School (N.C.) in 2013, Littell made his major-league debut for the Twins at the age of 22 in 2018. He spent parts of three seasons in Minnesota, pitching to a 4.52 ERA in 43 appearances (two starts) spanning 63 2/3 innings of work.
Littell was outrighted off the Twins’ 40-man roster at the conclusion of the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and signed a minor-league contract with the Giants the following February. The righty enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 by posting a 2.92 ERA over a career-high 63 appearances (two starts, 61 2/3) innings) for San Francisco. He then fell back to earth in 2022 (5.08 ERA in 44 1/3 innings) and most notably got in a heated argument with manager Gabe Kapler after getting pulled from a game last September.
The Giants subsequently parted ways with Littell in November, which allowed him to sign a minors pact with the Rangers earlier this spring. For his career, Littel owns a lifetime 4.08 ERA with 151 strikeouts to 60 walks across 145 outings (four starts) and 169 2/3 innings at the major-league level. Ahead of Friday’s trade, he had forged a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to two walks in eight relief appearances (12 innings) for Round Rock to begin the 2023 season.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Littell operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s slider, and a mid-80s splitter, per Baseball Savant. The North Carolina native should provide the Red Sox with some emergency bullpen depth in Worcester alongside the likes of Taylor Broadway, Jake Faria, Justin Garza, Andrew Politi, and Ryan Sheriff, among others.
As things stand now, the Red Sox currently have four relievers on the injured list in Kutter Crawford, Zack Kelly, Wyatt Mills, and Joely Rodriguez. Crawford was placed on the 15-day injured list because of a left hamstring strain earlier Friday afternoon. Kaleb Ort was recalled from Worcester to take his place on the big-league roster for the time being.
(Picture of Zack Littel: Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)