Bianca Smith, Katie Krall leave Red Sox organization to pursue other opportunities

Bianca Smith has left the Red Sox organization after spending the last two seasons as a minor-league coach in Fort Myers, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Smith was originally hired by Boston in January 2021, making her the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball history. She first served in a part-time capacity before being promoted to a full-time role with the rookie-level Florida Complex League last year.

Per Speier, Smith’s contract expired at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign. The Red Sox offered her a multi-year deal to continue coaching in the organization, but she turned it down to pursue other opportunities.

“[The offer] was still a coaching position; it just wasn’t where I wanted to be,” Smith told Speier recently. “I just decided that it was a better fit for me to try to find something else. I absolutely loved my time there. I even told them, I would love to come back if the position was a good fit.

“I know any time [another] team calls and asks about me, [the Red Sox] have been saying positive things,” she continued. “Of course, teams have been asking why I’m leaving. It’s pretty much the same thing. Just looking for a different opportunity.”

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization, Smith served as an assistant athletic director, assistant baseball coach, and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisc. She also has past experience interning with the Reds and Rangers.

“During her time here, it was exciting to see her continually grow as a staff member,” Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said. “She was a pleasure to work alongside. Her constant energy, passion to help players, improve our organization, and overall knowledge of the game will be missed.”

In addition to Smith, Katie Krall also declined an offer to return to Boston’s minor-league coaching ranks. The Red Sox hired Krall last January to serve as a development coach with Double-A Portland, making them the first organization to have two women on coaching staffs.

Krall made history in her own right last April by becoming the first female coach to make an on-field appearance in a Double-A game. Towards the end of the season, she was named the Sea Dogs’ Charlie Eshbach Citizen of the Year for her involvement within the Portland community.

“She did a really good job for us,” Abraham said of Krall, who is expected to pursue front office opportunities elsewhere.

While Smith and Krall have left the organization, the Red Sox have added another woman to a minor-league coaching staff in Taylor Jackson. Jackson, who served as a video intern for High-A Greenville in 2022, will transition to a coaching role with the Drive under manager Iggy Suarez.

(Picture of Bianca Smith: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘in talks’ with Gold Glove-winning catcher Roberto Pérez, per report

The Red Sox are in talks with free agent catcher Roberto Perez, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Perez, 34, was limited to just 21 games with the Pirates last year after suffering a season-ending left hamstring injury in May that ultimately required surgery. The right-handed hitter batted .233/.333/.367 with two home runs and eight RBIs across 69 plate appearances before getting injured.

Prior to signing a one-year contract with Pittsburgh last winter, Perez spent the first eight years of his major-league career in Cleveland, where he established himself as one of the top defensive catchers in baseball by being named the Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and winning back-to-back Gold Glove Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Offensive has never been Perez’s strong suit, as the native Puerto Rican is a lifetime .207/.298/.360 hitter with 57 doubles, four triples, 55 home runs, 192 RBIs, 165 runs scored, two stolen bases, 190 walks, and 521 strikeouts in 511 games (1,752 plate appearances). He did, however, enjoy a career year in 2019 by clubbing 24 homers in 119 games with Cleveland.

Digging deeper into the defensive numbers, Perez has thrown out 97 of 248 potential base stealers in his career. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder has accrued 79 Defensive Runs Saved in 4,052 1/3 innings behind the plate. He has also been among the game’s top pitch framers since Statcast first began tracking that data in 2015.

Injuries have limited Perez to just 65 games over the last two years, so there may be some questions surrounding his durability. That being said, Perez did appear in 10 games for the Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League earlier this winter, so he appears to be healthy heading into the spring.

Since the start of spring training is now less than a month away, Perez will likely have to settle for a minor-league deal. The Red Sox are not alone in their pursuit of Perez, either, as Cotillo reports that the veteran is “believed to have other suitors” on the open market.

As currently constructed, Reese McGuire and Connor Wong are the only two catchers on Boston’s 40-man roster. Jorge Alfaro, who was signed to a minors pact earlier this month, is expected to compete with Wong for a spot on the Sox’ Opening Day roster as the club’s No. 2 catcher. Caleb Hamilton and Ronaldo Hernandez, who were both outrighted off the 40-man roster, will also be at big-league camp as non-roster invites.

(Picture of Roberto Perez: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign left-hander Skylar Arias to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent left-hander Skylar Arias to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the club’s transactions log. Arias has been assigned to Double-A Portland.

Arias, 25, was originally selected by Cleveland in the 24th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Tallahassee Community College. The Florida native spent parts of seven seasons in the Guardians organization before being released last June.

Shortly after being cut loose by the Guardians, Arias signed a minors pact with the White Sox. The 6-foot-3, 204-pound southpaw pitched across three different levels in 2022, though 24 of his 26 relief appearances were for Chicago’s High-A affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C. He posted a 3.91 ERA and 3.88 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 17 walks over 23 innings of work for the Dash before becoming a free agent again in November.

Among the 238 pitchers who accrued at least 20 innings in the South Atlantic League last year, Arias ranked 11th in strikeouts per nine innings (14.48), 20th in strikeout rate (35.6 percent), and 18th in batting average against (.171), per FanGraphs. He also walked more than 16 percent of the batters he faced.

Arias, who turns 26 in June, has some experience above the High-A level. He made one appearance for Double-A Birmingham last August, allowing three runs (two earned) in a third of an inning. In 2021, the lefty forged a 6.92 ERA and 5.01 FIP with 53 strikeouts to 35 walks across 36 outings spanning 40 1/3 frames of relief for Double-A Akron.

According to a Baseball America scouting report from December 2021, Arias “deploys a trio of pitches in his low-90s fastball, low-80s slider and low-to-mid-80s changeup. He has an unusual four-seam fastball that’s heavy with side spin, but lacks hop, moving almost like a sinker from a flat vertical approach angle. This allows the pitch to play above his below-average velocity.

“His slider is far and away his go-to swing-and-miss offering, with a whiff rate above 50 percent despite accounting for a quarter of his usage,” it continues. “From a shape perspective his changeup may be his most intriguing pitch. It sits 82 mph with average velocity separation from his fastball. He does an excellent job of killing the lift on the pitch, which gives it plenty of tumble. It also has hellacious run.”

Arias becomes the latest left-hander the Red Sox have signed to a minor-league deal in recent weeks, joining the likes of Matt Dermody and Ryan Sherriff. Unlike Dermody and Sherriff, however, it does not appear as though Arias will receive an invite to major-league spring training.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox lefty Jeffrey Springs signs lucrative extension with Rays

Former Red Sox left-hander Jeffrey Springs has signed a four-year, $31 million contract extension with the Rays, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal, which runs through the 2026 season and includes a club option for 2027, can max out at $65.75 million over five years if incentives are reached and the option is exercised.

Springs spent one season with the Red Sox after being acquired from the Rangers for first baseman Sam Travis in January 2020. The former 30th-round draft selection posted a 7.08 ERA and 4.81 FIP with 28 strikeouts to seven walks over 16 relief appearances (20 1/3 innings) for Boston during the COVID-shortened campaign.

While those numbers were far from encouraging, Springs did pitch better in the second half. From August 31 through the end of the season, the lefty pitched to a 3.86 ERA (3.62 FIP) with a 35 percent strikeout rate and a 9.8 percent walk rate across 10 outings spanning 11 2/3 innings of relief.

Despite the improved results down the stretch, Springs lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster the following February. He and right-hander Chris Mazza were then traded to Tampa Bay for catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez and minor-league infielder Nick Sogard.

In his first season with the Rays, Springs forged a 3.43 ERA (3.91 FIP) with 63 strikeouts to 14 walks over 43 relief appearances (44 2/3 innings) before suffering a season-ending right knee injury against the Red Sox in late July. Last year, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound southpaw worked primarily as a starter for the first time in his big-league career. He produced a 2.46 ERA and 3.04 FIP in 135 1/3 innings over 33 appearances, 25 of which were starts.

Springs, who turned 30 in September, was under club control for two more seasons heading into the winter. He now figures to be a key member of the Rays’ starting rotation for the foreseeable future since he could feasibly remain in Tampa Bay through 2027.

(Picture of Jeffrey Springs: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox surprisingly designate Matt Barnes for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of outfielder Adam Duvall on Tuesday. They did so in surprising fashion by designating reliever Matt Barnes for assignment.

Barnes, 33, briefly held the distinction of being the longest tenured member of the Red Sox after Xander Bogaerts left for the Padres in free agency last month. The right-hander was originally selected by Boston with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Connecticut.

After starting in college and in the minor-leagues, Barnes broke in with the Red Sox as a reliever towards the tail end of the 2014 season. It took the young hurler some time to find his footing at the big-league level, but he established himself as a consistent presence in Boston’s bullpen by leading the team in relief appearances (62) in 2016.

Barnes made 62 or more appearances per season from 2016-2019. During Boston’s run to a World Series title in 2018, the righty yielded just one earned run over 8 1/3 innings of relief that October.

On the heels of the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Barnes got his 2021 campaign off to a scorching start. Through the end of July, he owned a 2.30 ERA with 66 strikeouts to 11 walks with 23 saves in 27 opportunities. By that point in time, he had already played in his first All-Star Game and had signed a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension that included a club option for 2024.

Barnes began to struggle down the stretch, however, as he posted a 9.26 ERA from August 1 through the end of the season and lost the closer’s role. He was also left off Boston’s American League Championship Series roster. Those struggles carried over into 2022 as well. In his first 20 appearances (17 innings) of the season), Barnes got shelled to the tune of a 7.94 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 12 walks.

The Red Sox placed Barnes on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation on June 1. He did not return to the big-league club until early August and proceeded to put up a far more encouraging 1.59 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 20 strikeouts to nine walks over 24 outings (22 2/3 innings) to close out the year.

Despite those improved results, some within the Red Sox organization “believe Barnes’ late-season showing was not as impressive as the numbers show,” according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. While Barnes was initially expected to have an important role within Boston’s bullpen in 2023, Cotillo reports that the club “plans on prioritizing flexibility when it comes to its bullpen,” meaning pitchers with minor-league options — such as Kaleb Ort or Wyattt Mills — now take precedence over Barnes.

Barnes, who turns 33 in June, currently ranks second in Red Sox history in both career relief appearances and relief strikeouts. Boston will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Barnes, who has the ability to reject an outright assignment since he has already accrued more than five years of major-league service time.

If the Red Sox are unable to find a trade partner for Barnes, they will be on the hook for his $7.5 million salary in 2023 as well as the $2.25 million buyout that is attached to his club option for 2024. If Barnes clears waivers and becomes a free agent, he could be had by another team for only the prorated league minimum.

With Barnes’ anticipated departure, Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale are now the only three players remaining from the Red Sox’ 2018 World Series championship team.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign left-hander Matt Dermody to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent left-hander Matt Dermody to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Dermody, 32, was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 28th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of the University of Iowa. The former Hawkeye first broke in with Toronto in September 2016 and allowed four earned runs in five appearances (three innings) out of the bullpen.

In 23 relief outings the following year, Dermody pitched to a 4.43 ERA and 6.25 FIP with 15 strikeouts to 15 walks over 22 1/3 innings of work. He was outrighted off the Jays’ 40-man roster ahead of the 2018 campaign and spent the next two seasons with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo before electing free agency in November 2019.

While there was no Minor League Baseball in 2020 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dermody did pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Constellation Energy League in Texas. He then had his contract purchased by the Cubs that August and made his return to the big-league return the following Month.

After just one outing with the Cubs, though, Dermody was designated for assignment and subsequently outrighted. He returned to Chicago on a minors pact that winter but was let go before the start of spring training. Dermody then took his talents to Japan and spent the 2021 season with the Saitama Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Dermody leveraged his performance in Japan into another minor-league deal with the Cubs last February. The lefty posted a 3.74 ERA with 70 strikeouts to 18 walks in 20 appearances (13 starts) spanning 79 1/3 innings pitched for Triple-A Iowa before getting called up in early August. He appeared in one game for Chicago before being granted his release so that he could sign with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization.

In eight starts for the Dinos, Dermody forged a 4.54 ERA and 3.92 FIP to go along with 37 strikeouts to 13 walks across 39 2/3 innings. Rather than pursuing other opportunities in South Korea, Dermody has apparently decided to return to affiliated ball in the United States.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, Dermody possesses a diverse pitch mix. In his lone outing for the Cubs against the Cardinals last summer, the southpaw threw seven four-seam fastballs, seven sliders, six changeups, four sinkers, and two curveballs. He averaged 92.4 mph with his four-seamer and induced three total swings-and-misses, per Baseball Savant.

Dermody, who turns 33 in July, has two minor-league options remaining and can provide the Red Sox with some flexibility in that respect if he makes the team out of spring training. That being said, it remains to be seen if Boston views Dermody as a starter or as a reliever moving forward.

After trading Josh Taylor to the Royals for infielder Adalberto Mondesi earlier Tuesday, the Red Sox currently only have one left-handed reliever with past major-league experience on their 40-man roster in Joely Rodriguez. Beyond that, Boston signed left-hander Ryan Sherriff to a minor-league deal over the weekend that comes with an invite to big-league spring training. Fellow southpaw and non-roster invitee Oddanier Mosqueda is also expected to be in the mix for a bullpen spot once camp begins next month.

(Picture of Matt Dermody: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Adam Duvall signing official, designate Matt Barnes for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed outfielder Adam Duvall to a one-year contract for the 2023 season, the club announced earlier Tuesday evening. In order to make room for Duvall on the 40-man roster, reliever Matt Barnes was designated for assignment.

Duvall initially agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with Boston last week. As was previously reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald and Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, the 34-year-old can earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses (based on number of plate appearances), meaning he can receive a maximum of $10 million in 2023.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons between the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins, Duvall projects as the Red Sox’ new primary center fielder with Enrique Hernandez moving to the infield in the wake of Trevor Story undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month. The right-handed hitter batted .213/.276/.401 with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 21 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 86 games (315 plate appearances) for Atlanta last season before being shut down in July with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required surgery.

Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. The Kentucky native broke in with San Francisco during the 2014 season and was then traded to Cincinnati the following July. In his first full season with the Reds (2016), Duvall hit 33 home runs and was named to his first All-Star team. He hit 31 more homers in 2017 and was subsequently dealt to the Braves at the 2018 trade deadline.

After 2 1/2 seasons with the Braves, Duvall became a free agent for the first time and signed with the Marlins in February 2021 only to be traded back to Atlanta five months later. Between the two National League East rivals, he slashed .228/.281/.491 with a career-best 38 home runs and league-leading 113 RBIs in 146 games. He also helped the Braves win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his work in right field.

While 2022 was considered a down year for Duvall, the Red Sox have every reason to believe he will bounce back in 2023. It certainly helps that his swing should play at Fenway Park, where he is a lifetime .333 (6-for-18) hitter with four home runs in four career games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Defensively, Duvall has past experience at all three outfield spots. When it comes to center field in particular, though, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder has accrued four defensive runs saved and five outs above average across 593 2/3 career innings at the position. Last year, he ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5), the 79th percentile in arm strength (averaged 89.1 mph on his throws), the 74th percentile in outfield jump, and the 67th percentile in sprint speed, per Baseball Savant.

Duvall, who does not turn 35 until September, completes a new-look Red Sox outfield mix that already includes Masataka Yoshida, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran. Hernandez, of course, could man center field on days Duvall sits.

In addition to signing Duvall and designating Barnes for assignment on Tuesday, the Red Sox also acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later from the Royals in exchange for lefty reliever Josh Taylor.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire Adalberto Mondesi from Royals in exchange for Josh Taylor

The Red Sox have acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

This is the second trade the Red Sox and Royals have made this winter, as Boston previously sent pitching prospect Jacob Wallace to Kansas City for reliever Wyatt Mills last month.

Unlike that trade, though, Tuesday’s deal represents a swap of two major-league caliber players who are both coming off injury-plagued 2022 seasons. Mondesi was limited to just 15 games with the Royals last year before suffering a torn left ACL in late April that ultimately required season-ending surgery. Taylor, on the other hand, did not pitch at all for the Red Sox due to complications from a low back strain.

Mondesi, 27, is the son of former big-league outfielder Raul Mondesi. The Dominican Republic native originally signed with the Royals as an international free agent coming out of San Cristobal in July 2011. He was regarded as one of the top prospects in Kansas City’s farm system before becoming the first player in MLB history to make his debut during the World Series in 2015.

In parts of seven seasons with the Royals, Mondesi was limited to just 358 total games. He was handed down a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs as a rookie in 2016 and has since been hindered by injuries. In 2018, for instance, Mondesi missed time with a right shoulder impingement. The following year, he was sidelined with a groin strain and left shoulder subluxation. After avoiding the injured list completely during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Mondesi was hampered by a left hamstring strain and strained left oblique.

When healthy, though, Mondesi has been able to put his tools on full display. The switch-hitter owns a career .244/.280/.408 slash line to go along with 54 doubles, 20 triples, 38 home runs, 157 RBIs, 180 runs scored, 133 stolen bases, 60 walks, and 412 strikeouts across 1,366 big-league plate appearances. As far as speed is concerned, he led all of baseball with 10 triples and stole a career-best 43 bases in 2019, then led the American League with 24 steals in 2020. Prior to tearing his left ACL last April, Mondesi went 7-for-50 (.140) at the plate with three RBIs, three runs scored, five stolen bases, four walks, and 20 strikeouts in his first 15 games of the year.

Defensively, Mondesi has past experience at every infield position besides first base. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Kansas City come at shortstop, where he accrued 23 outs above average and an ultimate zone rating of 13.3 over 2,126 career innings.

Mondesi, who turns 28 in July, will earn $3.045 million in 2023 after agreeing to a deal with the Royals to avoid arbitration last month. He is currently slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career next winter. In the meantime, Mondesi figures to provide the Red Sox with versatile infield depth since he can play all over the diamond and hits from both sides of the plate.

With Trevor Story expected to be sidelined well into the 2023 season after undergoing right elbow surgery, Enrique Hernandez will step in as the club’s starting shortstop while Christian Arroyo will handle things at second base. Mondesi, meanwhile, can handle both positions in place of Hernandez and Arroyo depending on other factors such as infield/outfield alignments and pitching matchups.

The Red Sox were able to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Mondesi by trading away Taylor, who they originally acquired from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later in the March 2018 trade that sent infielder Deven Marrero to Arizona.

Taylor first broke in with Boston in May 2019 and impressed as a rookie by forging a 3.04 ERA in 52 appearances (47 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen. The southpaw was then limited to just eight outings in 2020 due to a bout with COVID-19 and left shoulder tendinitis, but he bounced back in 2021 by posting a 3.40 ERA (2.83 FIP) with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

Despite those strong results, Taylor first began experiencing back issues towards the tail end of the 2021 campaign. As a result, he began the 2022 season on the injured list and never got healthy enough to return to the Red Sox. He made a total of eight rehab outings between Triple-A Worcester and Double-A Portland, but was shut down from throwing in mid-July.

Taylor was still tendered a contract in November, but he clearly became expandable for the Red Sox on account of his inability to stay on the mound as of late. The 29-year-old will earn a salary of $1.025 million with the Royals in 2023 and will not be eligible for free agency until the end of the 2025 season.

(Picture of Adalberto Mondesi: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to minor-league deal with left-hander Ryan Sherriff

It appears as though the Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract for the 2023 season with Ryan Sherriff, according to the free agent left-hander’s Twitter account.

“Glad to be a part of the [Red Sox organization]!” Sherriff tweeted on Saturday. “Let’s get it.”

Sherriff, 32, is a veteran of four major-league seasons who last appeared in a big-league contest with the Rays in September 2021. The lefty owns a lifetime 3.65 ERA and 3.98 FIP in 44 career relief appearances (44 1/3 innings) between St. Louis and Tampa Bay dating back to the 2017 campaign.

A native of southern California, Sherriff was originally selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of West Los Angeles College. He first broke in with St. Louis in August 2017 and pitched to a 3.14 ERA (3.93 FIP) across 13 outings spanning 14 1/3 innings of relief.

After making five additional appearances for the Cardinals in 2018, Sherriff suffered an elbow injury that ultimately required him to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. He was released by St. Louis shortly thereafter, but he quickly bounced back by signing a minor-league deal with the Rays that November.

Sherriff was limited to just seven innings of rehab work in 2019. He remained with the Rays through the winter and, after spending the first half of the COVID-shortened 2020 season at the club’s alternate training site, made his return to the big-league mound that summer.

In 10 appearances for Tampa Bay down the stretch, Sherriff did not allow a single run while walking two and striking out two over 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. He then tossed two more scoreless frames against the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series.

While Sherriff found success in limited action in 2020, the same cannot be said for 2021. He forged a 5.52 ERA — but a much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 16 strikeouts to nine walks in 16 outings (14 2/3 innings) for the Rays before being designated for assignment at the end of the season.

The Phillies subsequently claimed Sherriff off waivers, but he did not appear in a game for Philadelphia last year and was instead limited to just 14 outings in the minors before being shut down with a shoulder strain in late July. He lost his spot on the club’s 40-man roster in August and spent the rest of the season on the minor-league injured list after being outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Sherriff is a three-pitch pitcher who primarily operates with a sinker, a slider, and a changeup. While he does not strike out a ton of hitters (18.7 percent career strikeout rate) or light up the radar gun (averaged 92 mph with his sinker in 2021), Sherriff has proven to be capable of inducing weak contact, as evidenced by his career 56.7 percent groundball rate.

Sherriff, who turns 33 in May, should get a chance to compete for a spot in Boston’s Opening Day bullpen if he is back at full strength once spring training begins next month. As currently constructed, the Red Sox only have two left-handed relievers on their 40-man roster in Joely Rodriguez and Josh Taylor, so Sherriff could prove to be an impactful addition since he still has two minor-league options remaining.

And even if Sherriff does not make the Sox’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, he should still be able to provide the club with experienced bullpen depth at Triple-A Worcester. For his career at the Triple-A level, the southpaw owns a 3.11 ERA with 152 strikeouts to 11 walks over 152 appearances (two starts) spanning 170 2/3 innings of work. That includes a 3.18 ERA in 11 outings (11 1/3 innings) for Lehigh Valley in 2022.

(Picture of Ryan Sherriff: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to minor-league deal with former Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia

The Red Sox and Raimel Tapia have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, as was first reported by the free agent outfielder himself on Instagram. Jon Heyman of the New York Post later confirmed it was a minors pact that presumably comes with an invite to major-league spring training.

Tapia, who turns 29 next month, spent the 2022 season with the Blue Jays. The left-handed hitter batted .265/.292/.380 with 20 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 52 RBIs, 47 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 16 walks, and 81 strikeouts over 128 games (433 plate appearances) for Toronto. He was projected to earn a $5.2 million salary in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility in 2023, but was instead non-tendered in November.

In six games against the Red Sox at Fenway Park last year, Tapia went 9-for-30 (.300) with one double, one triple, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. He most notably hit an inside-the-park grand slam that center fielder Jarren Duran lost in the lights in the third inning of Boston’s historic 28-5 blowout loss to Toronto on July 22.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Tapia originally signed with the Rockies as an international free agent coming out of San Pedro de Macoris in November 2010. He broke in with Colorado in 2016 and spent the first six years of his big-league career there before being dealt to the Blue Jays in exchange for fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk last March.

So, for his career, Tapia is a lifetime .277/.318/.392 hitter with 91 doubles, 15 triples, 26 homers, 188 runs driven in, 233 runs scored, 53 stolen bases, 103 walks, and 343 strikeouts in 567 games (1,858 plate appearances) between the Rockies and Blue Jays over seven major-league seasons. He stole a career-high 20 stolen bases while with Colorado in 2021.

Defensively, Tapia has prior experience at all three outfield positions. Last year in particular, the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder logged 459 innings in left, 249 2/3 innings in center, and 226 2/3 innings in right. He tallied four outfield assists altogether and ranked in the 83rd percentile in arm strength (averaged 90.1 mph on his throws), per Baseball Savant.

Tapia should have the chance to compete for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster as a left-handed hitting bench option once spring training begins next month. The Red Sox already have an outfield mix that includes Masataka Yoshida, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran. With Enrique Hernandez expected to move back to the middle infield to cover for the injured Trevor Story, the newly-signed Adam Duvall is slated to take over in center field. Add in other non-roster invitees such as Narciso Crook and Greg Allen, and the Sox’ outfield picture suddenly becomes quite crowded.

(Picture of Raimel Tapia: Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)