Xander Bogaerts leaves Red Sox, agrees to 11-year, $280 million deal with Padres

Former Red Sox shortstop has agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman. The deal does not include any opt-out clauses or team options, though it does come with a full no-trade clause, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

Bogaerts, 30, became a free agent last month after opting out of the final three years and $60 million of the extension he signed in April 2019. The Red Sox had extended Bogaerts a qualifying offer (which he declined), so they will receive a compensatory pick that falls between the fourth and fifth round of next year’s draft after exceeding the luxury tax threshold in 2022. The Padres, on the other hand, will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks since they, too, spent past the threshold. They will also have their international signing bonus pool reduced by $1 million.

By agreeing to a monstrous contract with the Padres, Bogaerts puts an end to an impressive tenure with Boston. The Red Sox originally signed Bogaerts for $410,000 as an international free agent coming out of Aruba in 2009. The Oranjestad native made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year and quickly emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the organization.

After rising through the ranks in the minor-leagues, Bogaerts was called up by the Red Sox for the first time on August 20, 2013. At just 21 years old, Bogaerts helped Boston in winning its first World Series title at Fenway Park since 1918. Bogaerts endured a sophomore slump of sorts in 2014 but bounced back in 2015 by winning his first Silver Slugger Award. He repeated as a Silver Slugger Award in 2016 while also making his first All-Star team. In 2017, Bogaerts’ production took a dip due to a right hand injury.

Bogaerts broke out in a big way in 2018, which was also Alex Cora’s first year at the helm in Boston. The right-handed hitting infielder clubbed a then-career best 23 home runs and collected 103 RBIs en route to finishing 13th in American League MVP voting and winning another World Series. The following April, he inked a six-year, $120 million contract extension to remain with the Sox. His agent, Scott Boras, subsequently negotiated an opt-out clause that would allow Bogaerts to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

For the next three seasons, Bogaerts continuously ascended and put himself in the conversation for the top shortstop in the game. After another stellar offensive campaign in 2021, it became apparent that Bogaerts was going to opt out as long as he remained healthy.

Knowing this, the Red Sox attempted to re-sign Bogaerts to another extension this spring. Rather than make a respectable offer, though, Boston lowballed Bogaerts with a four-year, $90 million offer that effectively tacked on an additional year and $30 million in salary to the remainder of his contract. Bogaerts expectedly rejected the offer, and the two sides did not talk at all during the regular season.

Bogaerts, for his part, batted .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs over 150 games this season while playing some of the best defense of his career at shortstop. From the time the regular season ended in early October until free agency opened in November, the Red Sox were able to exclusively negotiate with Bogaerts, yet they could not come close to an agreement.

As a result of hitting the open market for the first time in his career, Bogaerts drew widespread interest from a number of teams this offseason. On multiple occasions, Red Sox officials described retaining Bogaerts as the club’s No. 1 priority.

When the Winter Meetings commenced in San Diego earlier this week, there seemed to be a growing sense of optimism that the Sox would be able to hammer out a deal with Bogaerts. On Wednesday morning, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported that the two sides had met and that there was momentum towards an agreement. It was only hours later that Heyman broke news of Bogaerts coming to terms with the Padres.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Boston’s final offer to Bogaerts was in the range of $160 million over six years. While the average annual value of that proposal ($27 million) surpassed the $25.5 million per year Bogaerts will be receiving from San Diego, the difference in the number of guaranteed seasons led to a $120 million gap between the two offers.

Some within Bogaerts’ camp believed the Sox would raise their offer. Regardless of that though, it has become apparent that Boston was not comfortable paying Bogaerts a high salary into his late thirties. The Padres, meanwhile, have committed a whopping $280 million to Bogaerts through his age-40 season.

All told, Bogaerts certainly left his mark on the Red Sox in his 14 years with the organization. He played 1,264 games for Boston, which are the 15th-most in team history. His 1,192 appearances at shortstop are also the most in team history. In total, Bogaerts slashed .292/.356/.458 with 156 home runs and 683 RBIs across 1,264 games in a Red Sox uniform. He won two World Series titles, was named to four American league All-Star teams, and won five Silver Slugger Awards in his first 10 seasons as a big-leaguer.

Bogaerts will take that impressive resume out west to San Diego. The Padres, under general manager A.J. Preller, have been aggressive in free agency this winter and finally landed the star they coveted in Bogaerts. Bogaerts will join a talented core in San Diego that includes Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres reached the National League Championship Series this fall and came up three wins short of a World Series berth.

While the Padres got their guy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox will now have to look elsewhere when it comes to filling the void at shortstop left behind by Bogaerts. Speculation within the industry would seem to suggest that in-house options such as Trevor Story or Enrique Hernandez could overtake those responsibilities. Bloom and Co. could also look to free agency and pursue the likes of Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson to take over for Bogaerts.

With Bogaerts gone, the Red Sox should now turn their attention to star third baseman Rafael Devers, who is under club control for one more season and will be a free agent at this time next winter.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to five-year, $90 million deal with Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, per report

On the final day of the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox made a significant free agent splash.

Boston has agreed to terms on a five-year, $90 million contract with Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The New York Post’s Jon Heyman. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe relays that the deal does not contain any opt-out clauses or team options.

Yoshida, 29, was considered to be the top position player free agent from Japan this winter and he will be getting paid as such. His $90 million pact is the largest ever for a player making the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball to the major-leagues, as it beats out the five-year, $85 million deal fellow outfielder Seiya Suzuki received from the Cubs earlier this year.

The Orix Buffaloes had just posted Yoshida on Wednesday morning, so it is apparent the Red Sox wasted no time in pursuing the recently-signed Boras Corp. client. Boston will now pay Yoshida’s NPB team a $15.375 million posting fee, taking the total value of the investment up to $105.375 million. That will surpass the $103.1 million ($52 million contract and $51.1 million posting fee) the Sox committed to starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka in December 2006, as noted by Speier.

A native of Fukui, Yoshida has spent the last seven seasons playing for Orix after first breaking in at Japan’s top level in 2016. For his professional career, the left-handed hitter owns a lifetime .327/.421/.539 slash line with 133 home runs in 762 games. This past season, he batted a stout .335/.447/.561 to go along with 28 doubles, one triple, 21 homers, 88 RBIs, 56 runs scored, four stolen bases, 80 walks, and 41 strikeouts over 119 games (508 plate appearances) for the Buffaloes.

Dating back to the start of the 2020 season, Yoshida has posted a 14.5 percent walk rate (213 in 1,467 plate appearances and just a 6.6 strikeout rate (97 in 1,467 plate appearances). His plate discipline and ability to get on base at a high clip are just a few attributes that make him stick out.

“He’s someone that we really like and we’ve spent a lot of time on,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) shortly before news of the agreement broke on Wednesday. “Really, really good hitter, quality at-bat and a great talent.”

While the Red Sox as a team had the sixth-highest on-base percentage in baseball this year (.321), they also ranked 18th in walk rate (7.9 percent) and 20th in chase rate (33.6 percent), per FanGraphs. Yoshida could help alleviate some of these issues, and he could do so out of the leadoff spot or in the middle of the lineup on account of his power potential.

“First and foremost, when you’re looking at a player like him, the quality of the at-bat stands out and that can come from either side of the plate,” said Bloom. “We’re going to need to do some things this offseason to lengthen our lineup and improve the quality of at-bats in our lineup.”

Defensively, Yoshida projects as a left fielder at the big-league level. The 5-foot-8, 176-pounder played that position primarily in Japan, though both his range and arm strength are considered to be below average. That being said, he is likely to start alongside Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo in the Red Sox outfield next season. Rob Refsnyder and Jarren Duran also figure to be in the mix for playing time.

Yoshida, who does not turn 30 until July, becomes the first position player free agent the Red Sox have agreed to sign this winter. Boston has already signed left-hander Joely Rodriguez to a one-year deal and agreed to two-year contracts with right-handed relievers Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen.

The Red Sox had been pursuing a reunion with Xander Bogaerts, but the All-Star shortstop has since agreed to an 11-year mega-deal with the Padres, according to multiple reports.

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Red Sox select pitchers Joe Jacques, Ryan Miller in minor-league phase of Rule 5 Draft

The Red Sox may have passed on taking a player in the major-league phase of Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft, but they did make two selections in the minor-league phase.

Boston added left-hander Joe Jacques from the Pirates and right-hander Ryan Miller from the Yankees. The two hurlers have been assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

Jacques, 27, was originally selected by Pittsburgh in the 33rd round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Manhattan College in New York City. The New Jersey native received a mere $2,000 signing bonus and made his professional debut in the Appalachian League.

After beginning this past season on the 60-day injured list, Jacques spent most of the 2022 campaign with Triple-A Indianapolis. There, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound southpaw posted a 3.62 ERA and 4.74 FIP with 27 strikeouts to 12 walks over 29 relief appearances (37 1/3 innings) for the Indians. He also fared far better against left-handed hitters (.257 OPS against) compared to right-handed hitters (.845 OPS against).

Jacques, who turns 28 in March, throws from a unique sidearm slot and operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup, according to Pittsburgh Baseball Network.

Miller, 26, was originally taken by the Diamondbacks in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of Clemson University. The Florida native signed with Arizona for $25,000, but was released less than two years later at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He latched on with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League in 2021 and began the 2022 season with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association before having his contract purchased by the Yankees in late May.

In his return to affiliated ball, Miller produced a a 5.75 ERA — but much more respectable 4.11 xFIP — with 50 strikeouts to 18 walks across 25 relief appearances (36 innings) for High-A Hudson Valley. He did not pitch at all in the month of September due to an undisclosed injury.

Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Miller put up reverse splits this year, as he held opposing left-handed hitters to a .622 OPS against but allowed right-handed hitters to slash .275/.374/.522 off of him.

Miller, who — like Jacques has a birthday in March, becomes the sixth different pitcher the Red Sox have taken from the Yankees in the major- or minor-league phase of a Rule 5 Draft dating back to 2018. Boston took Anyelo Gomez in 2018, Raynel Espinal in 2019, Garrett Whitlock and Kaleb Ort in 2020, and Brian Keller in 2021.

Red Sox lose Cameron Cannon to Phillies

In addition to picking up two pitchers, the Red Sox also lost an infielder in the minor-league phase of Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft as Cameron Cannon was scooped up by the Phillies.

Cannon, now 25, was Boston’s second-round pick in 2019. The University of Arizona product was once regarded by Baseball America as the No. 22 prospect in the Red Sox farm system but had since fallen off the list completely. He spent the majority of the 2022 season with Double-A Portland before being promoted to Worcester in August. Like fellow 2019 draftee Noah Song, Cannon is now reunited with Dave Dombrowski to some degree in Philadelphia.

Former Red Sox infielder Jonathan Arauz, who was claimed off waivers by the Orioles in June, went from Baltimore to the Mets organization on Wednesday.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose pitching prospects Thad Ward, A.J. Politi, and Noah Song in Rule 5 Draft

The Red Sox lost three intriguing pitching prospects in the major-league phase of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

With the first overall pick, the Nationals took right-hander Thad Ward. Moments later, the Orioles took reliever A.J. Politi at No. 17. Then, in a somewhat shocking twist, the Phillies nabbed fellow righty Noah Song with the 20th overall selection.

Ward, who turns 26 next month, had been regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the 6-foot-3, 192-pound hurler in the fifth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Central Florida.

Equipped with a two-seam fastball, slider, and changeup, Ward got his professional career off to an impressive start before undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. He returned to the mound this summer and posted a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts (51 1/3 innings) with four different affiliates. That includes a 2.43 ERA in seven starts (33 1/3 innings) for Double-A Portland.

In an effort to get him more work, the Red Sox sent Ward to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. There, the righty forged a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts to six walks in four appearances (three starts) spanning 12 2/3 innings of work for the Scottsdale Scorpions. His workload was limited due to a left oblique strain.

Despite the flashes of potential he showed this season, the Red Sox elected not to add Ward to their 40-man roster ahead of last month’s Rule 5 deadline. They instead added five minor-leaguers — including Wilyer Abreu and David Hamilton — knowing full well that Ward could be scooped up by another club.

The same, in a sense, can be said for Politi, who winds up going to a division rival. The 26-year-old pitched to a 2.60 ERA in 50 appearances (two starts) between Portland and Triple-A Worcester this season. That includes a 2.41 ERA with 63 strikeouts to 19 walks in 38 outings (two starts) spanning 56 innings for the WooSox.

Boston originally selected Politi in the 15th round of the 2018 draft out of Seton Hall University. He was a candidate to be called up by the big-league club at the end of the season and was ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 42 prospect in the organization.

Song is a bit of a different story. The former fourth-round draft pick last pitched professionally in 2019 and was viewed as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization before his commitment to the Navy forced him to step away from the game.

Earlier this spring, Song completed his Naval flight training and applied for a waiver that would allow him to continue his baseball career while still serving in the reserves. The Red Sox kept him on the military reserve list during that time and the Phillies will do the same, meaning he will not occupy a spot on their 40-man roster.

Phillies president of baseball operations was running the Red Sox when Song was drafted in 2019. It seems like he was excited by the opportunity to bring tha talented pitcher to Philadelphia.

“We made sure to double-check that he was available to be drafted, which he was,” Dombrowski told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo). “I knew him at the time (of the 2019 draft). We loved him. We thought he was a No. 1 Draft choice; we thought he might be the best starting pitcher in the country. We took a gamble at that point because we thought maybe he wouldn’t have to serve, but he ended up having to do that.

“Being available like this, we really had nothing to lose,” he added. “We like his talent a lot. We get to put him on the military list right off the bat, so he’s not on our 40-man roster. We figured we’d take a chance and just see what ends up happening.”

Ward and Politi will be subject to normal Rule 5 stipulations next year. In other words, the Nationals and Orioles paid $100,000 for each pitcher and must keep them on their 26-man roster for the entirety of the 2023 season. If that is not possible, Ward and Politi would have to be offered back to the Red Sox for $50,000.

Song, on the other hand, is not subject to these requirements until he is activated from the military reserve list and resumes his baseball career. The Phillies, like the Red Sox before them, are not sure if or when that will happen.

“This is a long shot by all means, but it’s worth taking a shot, we thought,” said Dombrowski. I don’t know if anybody knows exactly when he’ll be released from his service. But for the cost of the Draft, we thought it was worth taking him.”

In total, the Red Sox tied the Dodgers for the most players taken in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. While that may not be a positive as far as organizational depth is concerned, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom believes it shows that Boston has more talent in its farm system than years prior.

“I’d rather not lose players but I do think it’s a testament to where our system is going,” Bloom said, via MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. “Obviously, you want to be able to make moves to get in front of these situations and you aren’t going to be able to do it with everybody. It’s something we worked on knowing there was some risk of losing some guys.”

(Picture of Thad Ward: Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to two-year, $32 million deal with veteran closer Kenley Jansen, per report

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $32 million contract with free agent reliever Kenley Jansen, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal — which is pending a physical — would pay Jansen $16 million in both 2023 and 2024, per The Boston’s Globe Alex Speier.

Jansen, 35, is a veteran of 13 big-league seasons who is best known for his time in Los Angeles. After spending the first 12 years of his career in Los Angeles, the right-hander signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Braves back in March.

In 65 relief appearances for Atlanta, Jansen posted a 3.38 ERA and 3.21 FIP to go along with 85 strikeouts to 22 walks over 64 innings of work. He also recorded a National League-best 41 saves in 48 opportunities and allowed one run in two outings against the Phillies in the National League Division Series.

A native of Curacao, Jansen originally signed with the Dodgers as a catcher in November 2004. He spent the first 4 1/2 seasons of his minor-league career behind the plate before transitioning to the mound midway through the 2009 campaign. The following July, Jansen made his major-league debut for Los Angeles.

It did not take long for Jansen to establish himself as one of the top relievers in baseball. He finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and registered his first season of 25 or more saves in 2012. From 2016-2018, the righty forged a 2.07 ERA and 2.29 FIP across 205 outings (208 2/3 innings) and made three consecutive All-Star teams. His 350 saves in a Dodgers uniform are the most in the franchise’s storied history.

Between Los Angeles and Atlanta, Jansen owns a lifetime 2.46 ERA and 2.44 FIP with 1,107 strikeouts to 226 walks over 766 relief appearances spanning 769 innings pitched. He ranks eighth in American/National League history with 391 career saves. In 10 separate trips to the postseason during that stretch, Jansen produced a 2.29 ERA over 59 total outings out of the bullpen.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Jansen operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of an elite cutter (his primary weapon), a sinker, and a cutter. This past season, he ranked in the 98th percentile of the league in expected batting average (.169), the 93rd percentile in expected slugging percentage (.292), the 93rd percentile in strikeout rate (32.7 percent), the 95th percentile in fastball spin, and the 93rd percentile in extension, according to Baseball Savant.

Jansen, who does not turn 36 until next September, does come with some concerns. Earlier this summer, he spent more than two weeks on the injured list due to an irregular heartbeat, which is something that has sidelined him in the past. He has had two cardiac ablation procedures (2012 and 2018) to combat this issue.

With the addition of Jansen, the Red Sox have made it clear that bolstering the bullpen was one of the club’s top priorities this winter after Boston relievers finished with the second-worst ERA (4.59) in the American League this season. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have already signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract last month and agreed to terms on a two-year $17.5 million deal with righty Chris Martin last week.

Assuming he passes his physical, Jansen will become the first established closer the Red Sox have had since Craig Kimbrel left the club after winning the World Series in 2018. Jansen, Rodriguez, and Martin are slated to join a bullpen mix that is highlighted by the likes of Matt Barnes, Tanner Houck, John Schreiber heading into 2023.

(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Red Sox land No. 14 pick in 2023 MLB Draft Lottery

The Red Sox will pick 14th in the first round of next year’s amateur draft, as was revealed during the first-ever MLB Draft Lottery at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Wednesday evening.

After finishing with the 14th-worst record in baseball (78-74) this season, the Sox would have been in line to receive the 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft under the old collective bargaining agreement. Earlier this spring, however, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association ratified a new collective bargaining agreement.

As part of that new collective bargaining agreement, a draft lottery was instituted to combat tanking and determine the first six picks in each year’s draft moving forward. Because they failed to reach the postseason this year, the Red Sox — and the 17 other non-playoff teams — qualified to be part of the lottery process.

Since they finished with the 14th-worst record, the Sox had the 14th-best odds (0.8 percent) to obtain the top pick next summer. They also had a 0.9 percent chance to land the second pick, a 1.0 percent chance to land the third pick, a 1.2 percent chance to land the fourth pick, a 1.4 percent chance to land the fifth pick, and a 1.7 percent chance to land the sixth pick, according to Tankathon.com.

The results of the lottery were announced at 8:30 p.m. eastern time on MLB Network. The Nationals, Athletics, and Pirates all had an equal chance (16.5 percent) of landing the No. 1 pick after finishing with the three worst records this season. Pittsburgh ultimately won the lottery and came away with the top overall selection as a result. Here is the order of the first round in its entirety:

1. Pirates
2. Nationals
3. Tigers
4. Rangers
5. Twins
6. A’s
7. Reds
8. Royals
9. Rockies
10. Marlins
11. Angels
12. D-backs
13. Cubs
14. Red Sox
15. White Sox
16. Giants
17. Orioles
18. Brewers
19. Rays
20. Blue Jays
21. Cardinals
22. Mariners
23. Guardians
24. Braves
25. Padres
26. Yankees
27. Phillies
28. Astros

The Pirates will be picking first for the second time in three years next July. The Red Sox, on the other hand, will be picking 14th for just the third time in franchise history.

In 1984, Boston took catcher John Marzano out of Temple University. Two years later, it took outfielder Greg McCurty out of Brockton High School. McCurty did not sign and instead played college baseball at the University of Michigan.

(Picture of Mikey Romero: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Giants prospect Norwith Gudino to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent right-hander Norwith Gudino to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the team’s transactions log. It is unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training, but Gudino has been assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

Gudino, 27, had spent the last eight years in the Giants organization after originally signing with San Francisco as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in October 2014. The Puerto Cabello native pitched in the Dominican Summer League for three seasons before making his stateside debut in 2018.

After splitting the 2021 campaign between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento, Gudino was set to return to Triple-A this spring. But he wound up missing the first seven week of the minor-league season due to an undisclosed injury. He was activated from the injured list in late May and proceeded to post an 8.87 ERA and 6.90 FIP to go along with 60 strikeouts to 31 walks in 26 appearances (six starts) spanning 47 2/3 innings pitched for the River Cats.

While those numbers may not seem all that encouraging, Gudino pitched far better in the month of September. The righty yielded five earned runs over 10 2/3 innings, but he held opponents to a .205 batting average against and only walked four of the 44 batters he faced during that stretch.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Gudino operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a splitter. He has spent this off-season pitching for the Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League and currently owns a 7.59 ERA with 11 punchouts to seven walks through eight relief outings and 10 2/3 innings of work.

Gudino, who just turned 27 in November, becomes the second significant minor-league signing the Red Sox have made this winter. Boston inked former Cubs outfielder Narciso Crook to a minors pact late last month.

(Picture of Norwith Gudino: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Former Red Sox Cy Young winner Rick Porcello retires from baseball

Former Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello has officially announced his retirement from baseball.

Porcello, who last pitched in 2020 and turns 34 later this month, made the announcement in a conversation with WEEI’s Rob Bradford at David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament in Florida over the weekend.

“This is Rick Porcello,” he said during an appearance on the Bradfo Sho Podcast. “I want to tell all the listeners I’m retired. Thank you for all the great memories, and thanks for everything.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Porcello from the Tigers in a December 2014 trade that sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit. Boston signed the right-hander to a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension (that did not take effect until 2016) before the start of the 2015 season.

In his debut season with the Sox, Porcello struggled to the tune of a 4.92 ERA and 4.13 FIP over 28 starts (172 innings). The following year, he broke out by going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA and 3.40 FIP across 33 starts (223 innings) en route to beating out former teammate Justin Verlander for the 2016 American League Cy Young Award.

After surpassing the 200-inning plateau again in 2017, Porcello played a key role in helping the Red Sox win a World Series in 2018. He led the club in innings pitched during the regular season (191 1/3) and produced a 5.32 ERA in five appearances (three starts) during the postseason.

Porcello’s final season in Boston was one to forget (5.52 ERA in 32 starts). Still, the reliable righty forged a 4.43 ERA and respectable 4.13 FIP to go along with 852 strikeouts to 211 walks over 159 starts (964 innings) in five seasons with the Red Sox. Only three pitchers (Max Scherzer, Verlander, and Zack Greinke) accrued more innings than Porcello during that four-year stretch.

Coming off a disappointing end to his time with the Sox, Porcello inked a one-year, $10 million deal with the Mets in Dec. 2019. As the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the length of the 2020 major-league season to just 60 games, Porcello yielded a 5.64 ERA and 3.33 FIP in 12 starts (59 innings) for New York. He became a free agent again that winter and went unsigned.

“There was a lot of personal stuff I probably don’t want to get into, but I think the bottom line was that I was very fortunate to have the years I had in the big leagues,” Porcello told Bradford. “I think COVID lent some perspective on my life. I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to get back into that type of lifestyle and be around them because every year that you’re gone is another year where your parents are getting older, and your brothers are getting older. I think COVID impacts a lot of people like that.”

When asked if he garnered interest from teams following the abbreviated 2020 campaign, Porcello responded: “There was some interest but I had two (expletive) years back-to-back so not that much interest.”

Originally selected by the Tigers with the 27th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft out of Seton Hall Preparatory School in New Jersey, Porcello debuted with Detroit less than two years later. He retires having gone 150-125 with a 4.40 ERA and 1,561 strikeouts in 12 seasons between the Tigers, Red Sox, and Mets.

Shortly after Porcello made his announcement official, the Red Sox made sure to wish him well on social media.

“A Cy Young Winner & World Series Champ,” the club’s official Twitter account tweeted on Monday. “Congrats on a great career and best of luck in retirement, Rick.”

(Picture of Rick Porcello: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts signs minor-league deal with Braves

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves for the 2023 season, per his Instagram page.

Potts, 24, was originally acquired from the Padres with outfielder Jeisson Rosario in the August 2020 trade that sent Mitch Moreland to San Diego. The former first-round draft selection was added to Boston’s 40-man roster that November and spent the entirety of his first full season in the organization at Double-A Portland.

Baseball America ranked Potts as the No. 27 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system heading into the 2021 campaign. The right-handed hitting infielder was limited to just 78 games with the Sea Dogs and batted .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 307 plate appearances.

On the heels of such an underwhelming season, Potts found himself on Boston’s 40-man roster bubble coming into 2022. On March 22, the Red Sox needed to create an opening on their 40-man roster after claiming reliever Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels. They did so by designating Potts for assignment.

Potts cleared waivers three days after being designated and was outrighted to the minor-leagues. Remaining in the Red Sox organization as a non-40-man roster player, Potts proceeded to put up improved numbers in his return to Portland this season. He slashed .234/.297/.454 (101 wRC+) with 17 doubles, 14 homers, 44 runs driven in, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 24 walks, and 100 strikeouts across 75 games (296 plate appearances) before being promoted to Triple-A Worcester in late September.

In two games with the WooSox, Potts went 1-for-5 (.200) with a double, run, walk, and strikeout. Since 2022 marked his seventh year in pro ball, Potts became a minor-league free agent for the first time in his career last month. As it now turns out, it took the Texas native less than a full month to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

Considering that he does not turn 25 until next October, Potts still has a relatively high ceiling. His raw power has always been his standout tool. On the other side of the ball, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder initially came up as a shortstop but has since made the transition to the infield corners. This season, for instance, Potts started 52 games at first base compared to 20 at third.

All that being said, Potts should at the very least provide the Braves with some corner infield depth at either Double-A Mississippi or Triple-A Gwinnett next season. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a new change of scenery in 2023.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Former Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero signs minor-league deal with Orioles

The Orioles have signed former Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero to a minor-league contract, per the club’s transactions log. It is a one-year split deal that will net Cordero $1.35 million if he is in the majors and $450,000 in the minors, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray. Baltimore did not place him on its 40-man roster.

Cordero, 28, became a free agent last month after being non-tendered by the Red Sox. The native Dominican was projected to earn $1.5 million as an arbitration-eligible player next year but was cut loose by Boston well before then. He will now have the chance to earn close to that amount if he reaches the majors with Baltimore in 2023. And although Cordero will have to earn a spot on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, he should have a better chance to see more playing time with his new team.

The Red Sox originally acquired Cordero as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February 2021. In 132 games with Boston over the last two seasons, the left-handed hitter batted .209/.279/.350 with 23 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 48 runs scored, five stolen bases, 36 walks, and 143 strikeouts across 411 total trips to the plate.

Cordero began his tenure with the Sox by posting a .497 OPS in his first 48 games before being sent down to Triple-A Worcester for the first time last May. While Cordero found success with the WooSox, he was designated for assignment in October and was subsequently re-signed to a minor-league deal.

In 2022, Cordero began the year in Worcester and was called up for the first time in late April. He proceeded to slash .282/.346/.479 with two homers and 12 RBIs in his first 25 games with the Red Sox this season and most notably hit a walk off grand slam against the Mariners at Fenway Park on May 22. As the calendar flipped from May to June, though, Cordero began to struggle again. He produced a .721 OPS in June and then slumped to the tune of a .162/.240/.279 line in July.

On August 2, Cordero was sent down to Worcester. He was recalled 19 days later after Eric Hosmer was placed on the injured list and homered four times over a 12-game stretch in his return. Unfortunately, Cordero’s season was cut short on September 5 after he crashed into the left field wall at Tropicana Field and suffered a high right ankle sprain.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox were still intrigued with Cordero’s speed and power even after cutting him. And while Cordero was beloved from within the clubhouse, the path to additional playing time moving forward became tough to envision with both Hosmer and Casas already on the roster as left-handed hitting first basemen.

Cordero, who does not turn 29 until next September, becomes the first Red Sox free agent to sign elsewhere this winter.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)