Red Sox prospect Blaze Jordan named best power hitter in Boston’s farm system by Baseball America

For the second year running, Blaze Jordan was named the best power-hitting prospect in the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2022 season by Baseball America on Wednesday.

Jordan, who turns 19 next month, was also identified by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system, rising 11 spots from where he was at this time one year ago.

The Red Sox originally selected Jordan in the third round of the 2020 amateur draft out of DeSoto Central High School (Southaven, Miss.), ultimately swaying him away from his commitment to Mississippi State University by signing him to an overslot deal of $1.75 million.

With the 2020 minor-league season having been cancelled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan did not make his highly-anticipated professional debut until this past June in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

In 19 complex league games, the right-handed hitting corner infielder slashed .362/.408/.667 (170 wRC+) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 19 RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen bases, six walks, and 13 strikeouts over 76 plate appearances before earning a promotion to Low-A Salem in early August.

Among hitters who accrued at least 70 plate appearances in the Florida Complex League this season, Jordan ranked third in slugging percentage, fifth in isolated power (.304), and seventh in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

It took more than two weeks for Jordan to debut for Salem, but the 18-year-old picked up where he left off by batting .250/.289/.444 (95 wRC+) to go along with one double, two homers, seven RBIs, seven runs scored, two walks, and eight strikeouts across nine games (38 plate appearances) to close out the year.

Considering that he reclassified while in high school to graduate a year early, Jordan is still a relatively young prospect. The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder was signed by Red Sox area scout Danny Watkins out of high school and was among the youngest hitters to play at the Low-A level this season.

On Wednesday, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, who also serves as a Red Sox correspondent for Baseball America, wrote that Jordan’s “plus-plus power is a show-stopper. He hits towering home runs to all fields and gets to his power even with a disconnect in his upper and lower halves that should get smoothed out over time.

“Though he lacks any real semblance of an approach, he sees the ball well, allowing him to remain more controlled in the batter’s box than might be expected,” added Speier. “Jordan projects to be no more than a fringe-average hitter, but his pitch recognition gives him the foundation to get to his power enough to be an everyday player.”

On the other side of the ball, Jordan saw the majority of his playing time at both the complex and Low-A come at third base, though he also appeared in five total games as a first baseman as well.

The Sox, per Speier, “believe he can continue developing at third, which he does have the plus arm strength for.”

As for where Jordan will begin the 2022 season, it is believed that Boston will take a deliberate approach with the young infielder and have him progress through the system at a steady pace beginning in Salem next spring.

(Picture of Blaze Jordan: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox were among teams ‘believed to have considered’ Noah Syndergaard before right-hander reached agreement with Angels, per report

The Red Sox were among several teams believed to have been interested in free agent Noah Syndergaard before the right-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels on Tuesday, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds on to this, writing that both the Red Sox and Blue Jays “made aggressive offers for Syndergaard” while the Yankees also had interest.

Per Heyman, Syndergaard was set to take his physical with the Angels on Tuesday, meaning his agreement with Los Angeles could become official relatively soon if he passes.

Prior to setting himself up to join the Halos’ starting rotation next season, the 29-year-old had been extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022 by his former club in the Mets.

Assuming Syndergaard passes his physical, the Angels would then be forced to forfeit $500,000 in international signing bonus money as well as their second-highest selection in next year’s draft, while the Mets would receive a compensatory draft pick after losing a qualified free agent in free agency.

The fact that the Red Sox were reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher such as Syndergaard is telling. Not only did he have a qualifying offer attached to him, but the Texas-born righty has pitched a total of two major-league innings since the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, Syndergaard suffered a series of setbacks in his road to recovery this season, including right elbow inflammation in late May and a positive COVID-19 test in late August.

It took until late September for Syndergaard to make his highly-anticipated 2021 debut, and he did so as an opener for the Mets, allowing two runs over two innings in his only two big-league appearances of the year.

Still, even after being that limited in 2021, Syndergaard received a qualifying offer from the Mets, thus putting somewhat of a strain on another team if they were to sign him away from New York.

As highlighted by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Angels bit the bullet in this case. Rosenthal explained that Los Angeles is essentially paying a premium of $21 million for a pitcher who will likely be operating on an inning limit in 2022 given their lack of work the last two seasons.

That the Red Sox were interested in Syndergaard is certainly fascinating to say the least. Between the salary, draft-related penalties, and injury history/concerns, there are plenty of risks to factor in here despite the hard-throwing, 6-foot-6, 242 pound hurler having some major upside.

Though the depth of conversation between the Sox and Syndergaard — represented by CAA Sports — is presently unclear, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hinted that Boston would inquire on qualified free agents this off-season.

“I think we’re in better position than we were a year ago,” Bloom said recently. “Even a year ago, I remember we talked about it and I said it’s certainly not something that’s off the table for us. Now at the time I said that knowing that most likely with [last year’s qualified free agents], it wouldn’t line up. I don’t know how this off-season is going to play out. But I think just where we’re positioned now with the depth that we have internally — although we’re nowhere close to where we want to be — we are in a better position than where we were.

“So I think it’s likelier there could be a fit there,” he added. “But we’re just going to do as we would with any move, just access all the implications. And if it is something that makes sense for us, we’ve got to be ready to bounce.”

With Syndergaard now off the table and heading to the West Coast, the only other qualified free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could pursue are Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander.

An evaluator representing Boston was on hand when Verlander, who is expected to decline the Astros’ qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline, threw for teams in Florida last week.

(Picture of Noah Syndergaard: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘among many teams showing interest’ in free agent infielder Javier Báez, per report

The Red Sox are among the many teams showing interest in free agent infielder Javier Baez, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Baez, who turns 29 next month, became a free agent in early November after spending the 2021 season with both the Cubs and Mets. He began the year in Chicago, batting .248/.292/.484 with nine doubles, two triples, 22 home runs, 65 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 131 strikeouts over 91 games spanning 361 plate appearances.

On July 30, the Cubs traded Baez — as well as right-hander Trevor Williams and cash considerations — to the Mets for outfield prospect and 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Remaining in the National League with New York, the right-handed hitting Baez slashed a much-improved .299/.371/.515 to go along with nine doubles, nine homers, 22 RBIs, 32 runs scored, five stolen bases, 13 walks, and 53 strikeouts in 47 games (186 plate appearances) as a Met.

Upon arriving in New York, Baez had primarily served as the Cubs’ everyday shortstop. The Mets, however, moved the 28-year-old over to second base to accommodate their own star infielder in Francisco Lindor.

In total, Baez appeared in 100 games as a shortstop and in 35 games games as a second baseman in his time with the Cubs and Mets in 2021. He posted three defensive runs saved while logging 285 2/3 innings at second and another three defensive runs saved while logging 834 2/3 innings at short.

Because he was acquired mid-season, the Mets were unable to extend Baez — a client of Wasserman — an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022, meaning the 6-foot, 190 pounder does not come with any draft pick compensation attached to him.

A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Baez is close with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who hails from nearby Caguas. Together, the two helped Team Puerto Rico win silver in 2017 World Baseball Classic, with the former playing for his island and the latter serving as general manager.

If Boston were to bring in Baez, they would acquire a very smooth defender who is capable of playing all around the infield if needed. He also represents another option at shortstop if Xander Bogaerts were to shift over to second base or exercise his opt-out after the 2022 campaign.

That said, MLB Trade Rumors predicted earlier this month that Baez would land himself a five-year, $100 million deal in free agency. FanGraphs, on the other hand, projects him to get a four-year pact worth north of $80 million.

(Picture of Javier Baez: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

What Red Sox gain from Eduardo Rodriguez reportedly reaching agreement with Tigers

The Red Sox may have lost Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency to the Tigers on Monday, but chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will at least be compensated for it.

Last week, the Sox extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer to Rodriguez, but the 28-year-old rejected it at some point during the GM meetings and remained a free agent by doing so.

Because they extended Rodriguez a qualifying offer, though, Boston ensured that if the left-hander were to sign elsewhere in free agency, they would receive a compensatory draft pick in return.

As it turns out, Rodriguez — a client of Mato Sports Management — has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers that includes an opt out after the second year, a no-trade clause of some sort, and up to $3 million in performance incentives.

Since Detroit is in line to sign a qualified free agent in Rodriguez, they will forfeit a pick. Boston, on the other hand, picks up an additional selection in next summer’s amateur draft.

According to MLB Trade Rumors‘ Anthony Franco, the Sox will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B — or somewhere in the 70-75 range — since they “neither received revenue sharing nor exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2021.”

Over the summer, the Red Sox failed to sign University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, who they selected with the 40th overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. As a result of failing to sign Fabian, the club will receive the No. 41 pick in the 2022 draft.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this compensatory pick is protected, which means a team that signs a qualified free agent would not be required to give it up.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox did not receive revenue sharing money or spend past the luxury tax threshold of $210 million this past season. In addition to getting a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B next year, this also means that Boston would have to forfeit its second-highest draft pick if they were to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer from another club.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, though, the draft pick that the Red Sox gained as a result of failing to sign Fabian is protected, so they would instead part ways with their third-highest — or another second-round pick if they were to sign a qualified free agent such as Justin Verlander or Carlos Correa.

Put another way, “the Sox will have both a first-round pick and, thanks to Fabian, an early second-round (No. 41 overall) pick in their draft” next year, per Speier.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez agrees to five-year, $77 million deal with Tigers, per report

Eduardo Rodriguez’s time with the Red Sox has come to an end, as the left-hander has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers. The agreement was first reported by The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen and was later confirmed by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, Rodriguez’s deal with the Tigers includes a potential opt out after the second year and contains up to an additional $3 million in incentives. It also includes a no-trade clause.

Rodriguez, 28, was originally acquired by the Red Sox from the Orioles in the trade that sent fellow lefty Andrew Miller to Baltimore at the 2014 trade deadline.

After making his big-league debut the following season, Rodriguez established himself as a key cog in Boston’s starting rotation, most notably helping the club win a World Series title in 2018 and then finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019.

Last year, the Venezuelan southpaw contracted myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19, forcing him to miss the entirety of the compressed 2020 campaign.

This past season, Rodriguez returned to form for the most part while also experiencing some ups and downs. In 32 appearances (31 starts), the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 157 2/3 total innings of work.

Despite the relatively high ERA, Rodriguez still proved to be one of the more effective left-handed starters in baseball. Among the 18 lefties who accrued at least 150 innings on the mound this year, he ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

From the time he became a free agent earlier this month, the Red Sox had strong interest in bringing Rodriguez back on a multi-year deal for 2022 and beyond. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the club made several extension offers throughout 2021, but their one mid-season offer “was so far off from Rodriguez’s wishes that talks basically ended immediately.”

Ahead of last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., the Red Sox extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for the 2022 season and the ISE Baseball client rejected it shortly thereafter.

Because the Sox extended him a qualifying offer, though, Rodriguez’s new club — in this case, the Tigers — now owes Boston compensation in the form of a draft pick.

By joining the Tigers, Rodriguez becomes the first major free agent to come off the board this off-season. He is also the first Red Sox free agent to sign elsewhere, as the likes of José Iglesias, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Garrett Richards, Hansel Robles, Danny Santana, Kyle Schwarber, and Travis Shaw remain on the open market.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero off to hot start in Dominican Winter League

Red Sox outfielder Franchy Cordero has gotten off to a fast start in the Dominican Winter League.

Cordero was added to Leones del Escogido’s roster on November 9 and made his 2021 Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana debut over the weekend.

After homering in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Aguilas Cibaenas, Cordero went 1-for-3 with a single, two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout in a 3-1 win over Toros del Este at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo on Saturday evening.

By putting together that performance at the plate while batting second and serving as Leones’ designated hitter, Cordero is now slashing .364/.417/.636 with one home run, three RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and two strikeouts through his first three games (12 plate appearances) of the LIDOM campaign.

Cordero, who turned 27 in September, was one of five players the Red Sox acquired in the three-team trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals this past February.

While he made Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the left-handed hitter struggled to the tune of a .179/.228/.274 slash line to go along with six doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, nine runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 37 strikeouts in 34 games (102 plate appearances) before being optioned to Triple-A Worcester for the first time in late May.

From that point forward, Cordero appeared in just 14 additional games for the Red Sox through the end of the regular season. With the WooSox, however, the 6-foot-3, 226 pounder did bat .300/.398/.533 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs over 78 games.

Despite that success at the Triple-A level, Cordero lost his spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster when the club designated him for assignment in the middle of the American League Championship Series on October 21.

Four days later, Cordero cleared waivers and — under normal circumstances — would have been able to elect free agency since he had already accrued more than three years of major-league service time. He did not elect free agency, however, and was instead outrighted to Worcester.

On that same day, Oct. 25, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that Cordero actually signed a one-year, $825,000 contract with Boston for next season before getting designated, meaning the Red Sox still control his rights as of now.

Assuming he is not added back to Boston’s 40-man roster by the upcoming Nov. 19 deadline, Cordero would technically be eligible for next month’s Rule 5 Draft, per SoxProspects.com’s Rule 5 eligibility page.

If he still remains with the Red Sox in the wake of the Rule 5 Draft, Cordero would presumably be in line to receive an invite to big-league spring training come February.

In the meantime, Cordero — who hails from Azua — will continue playing in the Dominican Winter League this fall and winter. 2021 marks the fifth consecutive year in which he has suited up for Leones.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana)

Where do things stand between Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez as qualifying offer decision looms?

The Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez on November 7, giving the left-hander 10 days to either accept or reject the one-year, $18.4 million deal for 2022.

A full week has passed since Rodriguez received Boston’s qualifying offer, which means he has just three more days, or until Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. eastern time, to make his decision.

If accepted, Rodriguez would return to the Sox on that aforementioned one-year deal for the 2022 campaign. If rejected, the ISE Baseball client would remain a free agent, though any other club that signs him would then owe Boston compensation in the form of a draft pick.

In the time that has gone by since the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction, the Venezuelan southpaw has also received a multi-year contract offer from Boston, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Rodriguez, 28, is just two years removed from finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019, but missed all of the compressed 2020 season after contracting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19.

This past season, the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 32 appearances (31 starts) spanning 157 2/3 total innings of work.

On the surface, Rodriguez’s 4.74 ERA may seem deterring. However, among the 18 left-handers who accrued at least 150 innings this season, he ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

Because of those improved peripherals, Rodriguez is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency this winter. FanGraphs‘ Ben Clemens also projects he could land a four-year, $80 million pact if the opportunity presents itself.

To that end, Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) during last week’s GM meetings that the club was engaged in contract talks with Rodriguez and that they “would love to bring him back.”

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom added on to that, indicating that the Sox were indeed interested in bringing Rodriguez back on some sort of multi-year deal.

“I think when there’s mutual interest in some kind of longer-term deal, it makes sense to talk as much as you can and to keep that line of communication open,” Bloom said. “So I expect that will happen.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old pitching prospect, from the Orioles in exchange for fellow lefty Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline. As an impending free agent, Miller remained in Baltimore for just a few months before signing a lucrative four-year deal with the Yankees that winter.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, has for the most part established himself as a key cog in Boston’s starting rotation since making his major-league debut in May 2015. As O’Halloran alluded to, he is clearly someone the Red Sox would like to bring back for 2022 and beyond.

That being said, Rodriguez does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window would still be pretty wide open even if he were to accept the Sox’ qualifying offer and set himself up to hit the open market again at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

If he elects to become a free agent now by rejecting the qualifying offer, it does appear as though Rodriguez already has a number of suitors. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported on Sunday that the Angels, Blue Jays, and Tigers were among the teams interested in Rodriguez’s services.

Interest from the Red Sox and other clubs aside, Rodriguez is technically still on the clock as those involved anxiously await the result of his decision, which is due no later than Wednesday evening.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Just how interested are Red Sox in free agent left-hander Steven Matz?

Earlier this week, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Red Sox were one of multiple teams interested in free agent left-hander Steven Matz. On Friday, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden added more fuel to that fire.

While answering questions from readers, Bowden hypothesized that if the Red Sox are unable to re-sign fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, they will “pivot to another similar starter,” such as Matz.

Matz, 30, became a free agent earlier this month after spending the entirety of the 2021 season with the Blue Jays. The former second-round draft pick out of Stony Brook, N.Y. spent the first 12 years of his professional career with the Mets, but was dealt to Toronto this past January.

In return for Matz, the Mets acquired three right-handed pitchers including prospect Josh Winckowski, who they later traded to the Red Sox as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February.

Regardless of that, Matz made 29 starts for the Jays this season, posting a respectable 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 150 2/3 innings of work. He missed time in the month of June due to a bout with COVID-19.

Among 17 left-handed starters who accrued at least 150 innings in 2021, Matz ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (8.6), ninth in walks per nine innings (2.6), 10th in strikeout rate (22.3%), eighth and walk rate (6.6%), seventh in FIP, and eighth in xFIP (3.94), per FanGraphs.

According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 201 pound southpaw operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, his fastest and most-used pitch, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider.

The Blue Jays had the chance to extend Matz an $18.4 million qualifying offer, but elected not to do so even after making a multi-year extension offer that the veteran hurler reportedly rejected, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Because he was not extended a qualifying offer, Matz does not have any draft pick compensation attached to him.

For this reason, Matz — a client of Icon Sports Management — should be more appealing to interested clubs such as the Red Sox since they would not have to forfeit a draft pick to the Blue Jays in order to sign him.

On that note, Newsday’s Tim Healey reported from Carlsbad, Calif. this week that Matz, who does not turn 31 until next May, was on hand at the GM meetings to talk with teams. Healey, like Sherman, also listed the Red Sox as one of the teams that ‘are in’ on Matz.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) on his way out of the GM meetings on Thursday, Red Sox chief baseball officer would not comment on if he spoke with any players in person, but did say that he felt like progress was made in terms of getting deals done.

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

With acquisition of Tim Locastro, Red Sox gain speed and athleticism, Chaim Bloom says

New Red Sox outfielder Tim Locastro has — and quite frankly always has had — elite speed in the field and on the base paths.

As a junior at Ithaca College in 2013, Locastro stole 40 bases in 41 attempts, setting the single-season program record in stolen bases as well as runs scored (71).

Upon being selected by the Blue Jays in the 13th round of the 2013 amateur draft, Locastro swiped 32 bags in his first full professional season with Low-A Vancouver in 2014 and was only caught four times.

As a prospect, Locastro was well-known for his “plus-plus speed” and was traded from the Blue Jays to the Dodgers in July 2015. With Los Angeles, the right-handed hitter’s speed was highly coveted leading up to his major-league debut in late September of the 2017 campaign.

Locastro appeared in just 21 total games for the Dodgers, however, as he was dealt to the Yankees at the conclusion of the 2018 season before ultimately winding up with the Diamondbacks that following January.

In his debut season with Arizona in 2019, Locastro put his speed on full display by recording 17 stolen bases without getting caught once. He led all of Major League Baseball with a sprint speed of 30.8 feet per second and finished tied for second in bolts (61), or any run with a speed of at least 30 feet per second.

While his stolen base numbers took a dip in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Locastro did enjoy a career year at the plate in which he slashed .290/.395/.464 (134 wRC+) across 33 games and 82 plate appearances. In the process of putting up those impressive numbers, he was perfect in stolen base attempts (4-for-4) while again putting up an MLB-best sprint speed of 30.7 feet per second.

Coming into 2021, Locastro had yet to be caught stealing (26-for-26) for his big-league career. He picked up stolen base No. 28 at Chase Field on April 13 to set the MLB record for most successful stolen bases to start a career, passing Hall of Famer Tim Raines in the process of doing so.

Just four days after breaking Raines’ record, though, Locastro was finally caught stealing for the first time, as he was picked off at second base by then-Nationals catcher Yan Gomes at Nationals Park on April 17.

Locastro stole two more bases and was caught two more times in a Diamondbacks uniform before he was traded back to the Yankees in exchange for pitching prospect Keegan Curtis at the start of July.

New York re-acquired Locastro in order to inject more speed into a station-to-station lineup that was in desperate need of a boost. Just nine games into his Yankees tenure, though, the Auburn, N.Y. native suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Red Sox.

Manning left field for the Yankees in the first inning of a July 17 contest against the Sox in the Bronx, Locastro leaped to catch an Alex Verdugo fly ball in foul territory, but landed awkwardly and could be seen grabbing at his right knee after crashing into the wall down the left field line.

As a result of said play, Locastro came up gimpy and was later replaced in left field by Tyler Wade before being diagnosed with an ACL tear that same night.

The Yankees placed the 29-year-old on the 10-day injured list the following day and transferred him to the 60-day injured list a week later. At the end of the season, they must have felt that it was not worth it to add Locastro back to their 40-man roster and instead placed him on waivers.

This gave other clubs the opportunity to put a claim in for the 6-foot-1, 190 pound speedster, which is exactly what the Red Sox did last Friday.

Now a member of Boston’s 40-man roster, which currently sits at 33 players, Locastro was expected to begin running again sometime this fall after undergoing knee surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City back in late July.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom essentially confirmed as much in a recent conversation with BloggingtheRedSox.com.

“Tim’s on track for a full recovery from his injury,” Bloom said via email. “With his speed and athleticism, he’s great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

Locastro, who does not turn 30 until next July, certainly fits the profile of player the Red Sox have added since Bloom took over two years ago in that there is little risk and plenty to gain from it.

As previously mentioned, Locastro is extremely fast and is dangerous on the base paths, which is something Alex Cora’s Red Sox were lacking this past season. Not only that, but he plays all three outfield positions as well and has been a plus-defender in right field (positive-3 defensive runs saved, positive-2.1 ultimate zone rating in 207 1/3 innings) throughout his career.

Additionally, Locastro comes with club control, as he is slated to become eligible for salary arbitration for just the first time next season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in 2022.

There is, of course, risk involved in acquiring someone like Locastro considering the fact that he is a player who primarily relies on their speed and is coming off a major ACL injury.

Still, the addition of Locastro — should he prove to have recovered from his injury — does provide the Red Sox with experienced outfield depth. It could also make some for some interesting positional battles come spring training.

That being said, spring training is still a long ways away and there is still plenty of off-season ahead. As Bloom put it, “We’ll see how things play out from here.”

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas boasting .455 on-base percentage in Arizona Fall League; ‘We’re really excited about him,’ Chaim Bloom says

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas continues to have no issues with getting on base in the Arizona Fall League.

Starting at first base and batting cleanup for the Scottsdale Scorpions on Monday afternoon, Casas went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, an RBI, two runs scored, and was hit by a pitch as part of an 11-10 loss to the Mesa Solar Sox at Sloan Park.

With approximately 675 spectators in attendance, Casas began his productive day at the plate by ripping a two-out single off Cubs right-hander Ryan Jensen in the top of the first inning and later scoring on a bases-loaded RBI single from Giants prospect Marco Luciano.

After committing a fielding error in the bottom half of the frame, Casas was drilled by a pitch from Jensen in the second, but was stranded at first base.

In the top of the third, however, Casas bounced back when he laced a run-scoring single back up the middle off Athletics righty Brock Whittlesey that plated Giants prospect Will Wilson to make it an 8-0 contest in favor of Scottsdale.

Casas himself scored his side’s 10th run and his second run of the afternoon later in the inning, but that would prove to be the Scorpions’ last bit of offense with Solar Sox pitching shutting them out the rest of the way on their way to a comeback victory.

While Scottsdale may have fallen to an underwhelming 8-15 on the AFL season, Casas raised his batting line with the Scorpions up to an impressive .333/.455/.429 to go along with three doubles, one home run, nine RBI, 15 runs scored, 12 walks, and 16 strikeouts over 16 games spanning 77 plate appearances.

Among qualified hitters in the Arizona Fall League this year, Casas ranks seventh in hits (21), ninth in batting average, eighth in on-base percentage, 23rd in slugging percentage, and 20th in OPS (.883), per MLB.com.

Casas, who turns 22 in January, is currently regarded by Baseball America as both the top prospect and the best hitter for average in the Red Sox farm system.

This past season, the left-handed hitting infielder began the year with Double-A Portland, where he slashed .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 77 games and 329 total trips to the plate.

Casas’ time with the Sea Dogs was interrupted on two separate occasions due to his commitment to Team USA. The former first-round draft pick helped the United States baseball team win a silver medal in the Summer Games in Tokyo before returning stateside for good in early August.

Shortly thereafter, Casas earned himself a promotion to Triple-A Worcester for the final stretch of the minor-league season on September 22. He batted .242/.381/.485 (130 wRC+) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, six runs, one stolen base, eight walks, and eight strikeouts in nine games (42 plate appearances) for the WooSox.

Because of the time he missed while playing for Team USA, the Red Sox opted to have Casas play in the Arizona Fall League in order to get more at-bats against some of the brightest pitching prospects in baseball.

It goes without saying that the decision to have Casas play in the desert has paid off thus far. The Sox are clearly excited with what they have in the 21-year-old, but will not take any shortcuts in his development.

When speaking with reporters on Sunday night, Red Sox chief baseball officer acknowledged as much, noting that getting Casas to the majors is not the team’s top priority since they have other options available at first base, such as Bobby Dalbec.

“Triston just got to Triple-A,” Bloom said. “I know he’s getting some reps in the fall league right now. But you guys have heard me say and know how I feel about that level (Triple-A) being a real test. We want to make sure that somebody has mastered that level before you have them take on the huge adjustment to the major-leagues.

“But, you know, in the long run, we’re really excited about him,” added Bloom. “And that doesn’t preclude us from adding other options to help us in the near, or in the medium term.”

So, while Casas may be in line to make his big-league debut at some point during the 2022 season, the Red Sox will by no means be rushing things with the 6-foot-5, 250 pound first baseman from Miami.

In the meantime, though, Casas should be on track to play in the Fall Stars Game at Salt Rivers Field this coming Saturday.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images)