Red Sox ‘going through the process’ when it comes to making a decision on Brandon Workman, Alex Cora says

When it comes to their decision regarding what to do with Brandon Workman, the Red Sox are still mulling over their options.

Workman, who triggered an opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Sox on Tuesday, threw a bullpen session at Polar Park in Worcester Wednesday afternoon.

The veteran reliever can become a free-agent in the next 24 hours if Boston chooses not to promote him to the major-leagues and instead cuts him loose so that he can pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“I spoke to Chaim [Bloom],” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros. “Work was going to throw a bullpen today, again. But he’s not there — he opted out. We still got, what? 24 hours to make a decision.”

After inking a one-year deal with the Cubs over the winter and getting released by the club in late April, the 32-year-old signed a minor-league pact to reunite with the Sox last month.

In seven appearances for Triple-A Worcester, the right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP while striking out 10 and walking four in seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings pitched in the month of May.

“His last two outings were outstanding,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott recently said of Workman. “I feel like that was the Brandon Workman we’d seen in the past. I feel like he came here on a mission to show he could be that guy and I think he was more trying to impress, that he has the stuff and was just a little disconnected with his delivery [at first]. The last two outings he got back to where he felt good, he got into his legs better and everything for me ticked up, quality, consistency. I don’t know what’s going to happen with him, but I was really happy with the last two outings, he looked pretty good.”

If the Red Sox opt to promote Workman, they will need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to do so. One possible way to make that happen would be to designate a fellow reliever currently for assignment.

Colten Brewer, who yielded four runs in his season debut against the Astros on Monday, could be the casualty in this scenario depending on which reliever (Brewer or Workman) the Red Sox view as a better bullpen option moving forward.

“We’re going through the process,” said Cora. “We’re talking a lot [about] where we’re at roster-wise, what benefits or doesn’t benefit us. So the conversations are ongoing.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brandon Workman opts out of minor-league deal with Red Sox; Boston has 48 hours to either promote or release reliever

Veteran reliever Brandon Workman has triggered an opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Red Sox, manager Alex Cora told reporters prior to Tuesday’s game against the Astros.

Workman, 32, initially inked a minor-league pact to rejoin the Sox on May 6 after being released by the Cubs in late April.

The right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP while striking out 10 and walking four in seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings of work for Triple-A Worcester. He was not with the WooSox on Tuesday.

The Red Sox now have until Thursday — approximately 48 hours — to make a decision in which they will either promote Workman to the majors or release him and subsequently allow him to to become a free agent once more.

While the clock is ticking, it’s safe to assume that the club is still mulling over their options.

“It’s his right. It’s part of the contract,” Cora said of Workman’s situation. “I’m not sure if he did opt out or he’s going to. That’s part of the contract. We were very pleased with the way he’s throwing the ball. He has been throwing his cutter a little bit better. Velocity is OK. Breaking ball has been great. But as of now, that’s all I have. He’s going to opt out and I think we have two days or something to make a decision.”

Workman, who Boston selected in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas, spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first 5 1/2 years of his big-league career with the Red Sox organization.

In 2019, Workman proved to be one of the most effective relievers in the American League, putting up a miniscule 1.88 ERA while converting 16 of a possible 22 save opportunities over 73 appearances (71 2/3 innings pitched) out of the Boston bullpen.

His 2020 campaign was a bit of a different story, as he was dealt to the Phillies as part of a four-player trade in late August and went on to struggle to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in 14 outings with the Phillies.

Hitting the open market at an inopportune time, Workman had to settle for a one-year deal with the Cubs in February. But his time in Chicago did not last long considering the fact he was designated for assignment and subsequently released after just 10 appearances with the club.

Workman’s second go-around in free agency did not last nearly as long as the first, as he reunited with the Sox last month and could still very well be part of Boston’s plans for 2021.

That said, the Red Sox would need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster — which is currently at full capacity — if they do decide to promote Workman between now and Thursday.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, fellow reliever Colten Brewer, who got shelled for four runs in his 2021 debut on Monday, could be designated for assignment in order to create that open slot for Workman.

“There’s a lot of stuff on the table,” said Cora. “We’ve got a 26-man roster right now and he’s not part of it.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox demote struggling outfielder Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox optioned outfielder Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Worcester following Wednesday’s 9-5 win over the Braves, the team announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Cordero, one of five players the Red Sox acquired as part of the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February, has gotten his Red Sox career off to a slow start.

Through 34 games played with Boston this season, the 26-year-old is slashing a measly .179/.228/.274 with just one home run, nine RBI, six walks, and 37 strikeouts over 102 plate appearances thus far.

With the emergence of the versatile, switch-hitting Danny Santana, Cordero began to see his playing time decrease prior to his demotion. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the left-handed hitter has only started four of his club’s last 11 games.

With that in mind, it would appear that the Red Sox would like Cordero to get more regular at-bats with the WooSox, who are currently taking on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa.

For his minor-league career, the Dominican native owns a lifetime .305/.357/.567 slash line to go along with 21 homers and 73 RBI in 115 games at the Triple-A level, so perhaps some time in Worcester will do him good.

In Cordero’s place, the Red Sox will need to make a corresponding roster move and call someone up from the minors to get back to a 26-man major-league roster.

It’s unlikely that top outfield prospect Jarren Duran — who is currently playing for Team USA in an Olympic qualifying event in Florida — will take Cordero’s place on the active roster, per Cotillo.

Instead, Cotillo suggests that the Sox will likely call up a reliever ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Marlins at Fenway Park.

More specifically, one of Brandon Brennan or Colten Brewer — both of whom are on Boston’s 40-man roster — appear to be the most likely to get promoted since that would allow the Red Sox to go back to carrying 14 pitchers and 12 position players. We will have to wait and see on that.

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

Red Sox outright Austin Brice to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

Four days after being designated for assignment, Red Sox reliever Austin Brice has cleared waivers and has subsequently been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced Tuesday afternoon.

Brice, who turns 29 next month, was designated by Boston last Friday when utility man Danny Santana was called up from the WooSox ahead of this past weekend’s series against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Originally acquired in a January 2020 trade from the Marlins, the veteran right-hander struggled to find his footing in his second season with the Sox, posting an unsightly 6.94 ERA, 6.40 FIP, and 9:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 12 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) this year.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers, Brice will report to Worcester, where — as noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — he will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Brandon Brennan, Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Marcus Walden, and Brandon Workman, all of whom have big-league experience with the Red Sox or elsewhere.

Cotillo also adds that if the Red Sox found themselves in need of bullpen help at the minor-league level, they would likely turn to Brewer since he is one of two names above who are currently on Boston’s 40-man roster.

(Picture of Austin Brice: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Eduard Bazardo dealing with right lat strain; Boston is ‘still working to determine the severity of the injury,’ per report

After being removed from his outing with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night, Red Sox pitching prospect Eduard Bazardo has been diagnosed with a right lat (latissimus dorsi) strain, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Bazardo was deployed for the ninth inning of the WooSox’ eventual 9-4 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park. But he had to come out after throwing just five pitches (two strikes) to Dilson Herrera.

On his fifth and final pitch — a fastball to the backstop — the right-hander could be seen grabbing his elbow before calling for Worcester’s training staff to come out from the dugout.

The reason Bazardo was pulled from Tuesday’s contest was initially labeled as “an apparent arm injury,” but– as previously mentioned — has since been ruled a right lat strain.

Per Speier, “the Red Sox [are] still working to determine the severity of the injury.”

Bazardo, 25, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 27 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking 12th among pitchers in the organization.

Added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November after a strong showing in fall instructs, the Venezuelan hurler has made two major-league relief appearances in two separate stints with the club so far this season.

In those two outings (the first of which came on April 14, the second of which came on May 12), Bazardo tossed three scoreless innings while yielding just one hit and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.

Primarily working with a two-pitch mix that consists of a slider and four-seam fastball combination, the 6-foot, 190 pound righty also owns an ERA of 13.50 in four appearances (2 2/3 innings pitched) with the WooSox in 2021.

As noted by Speier, Bazardo is one of three Worcester relievers currently on Boston’s 40-man roster alongside right-handers Brandon Brennan and Colten Brewer.

Because of their ability to shuttle him between Triple-A and the majors with ease — as they have already done twice this year — the Red Sox clearly view Bazardo as a valuable bullpen depth option at the minor-league level.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim reliever Brandon Brennan off waivers from Mariners, place Ryan Brasier on 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Brandon Brennan off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

In order to make room for Brennan on the 40-man roster, fellow right-hander Ryan Brasier was placed on the 60-day injured list.

Brennan, 29, was designated for assignment by the Mariners last Wednesday after starting the season at the team’s alternate training site in Tacoma.

In two big-league seasons with Seattle (2019-2020), the California native posted a 4.45 ERA, a 4.73 FIP, and a 54:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 49 total relief appearances spanning 54 2/3 innings of work.

He was however limited to just five outings last year on account of suffering a left oblique strain in late July.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox out of Orange Coast College, Brennan originally joined the Mariners via the 2018 Rule 5 Draft.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 207 pound hurler works with a changeup, a sinker, a four-seam fastball, and a slider.

Among the 198 major-league relievers who compiled at least 50 innings pitched over the last two seasons, Brennan ranked 26th in terms of swinging strike percentage (15.3%), per FanGraphs.

Now that he has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster, Brennan — who has three minor-league options remaining — will look to provide right-handed bullpen depth for the Sox in Worcester. He will join the likes of Eduard Bazardo and Colten Brewer as WooSox relievers currently on the Sox’ 40-man.

Brasier, meanwhile, opened the 2021 season on the 10-day injured list for the Red Sox, so transferring him to the 60-day IL is more of a formality than anything.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 33-year-old “has dealt with two significant injured since the end of last season, as he fractured his pinky finger during an off-season workout and then strained his calf during a ‘B’ game during the last week of spring training.”

The earliest Brasier can be activated from the injured list now is May 28 after the start of his initial IL stint was backdated to March 29.

(Picture of Brandon Brennan: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Red Sox taxi squad: Michael Chavis among 5 players traveling with team for first road trip of season

As the Red Sox prepare to begin their first road trip of the season, the club will be carrying five additional players with them as part of their taxi squad.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the five players that comprise Boston’s first taxi squad of the year are catcher Chris Herrmann, infielder Michael Chavis, outfielder Cesar Puello, and right-handers Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber.

These players, as Cotillo notes, “would be the first ones activated if someone on the 26-man active roster” gets hurt.

Per Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, clubs are allowed to carry up to five taxi squad players for each road trip this season. One of these players must be a catcher, which is where Herrmann comes in.

Additionally, players on a club’s taxi squad are allowed to work out with the major-league team before games, but are not allowed to be in uniform or in the dugout during games.

When the Red Sox return to Boston after completing their seven-game road trip against the Orioles and Twins next Thursday, the likes of Herrmann, Chavis, Puello, Brewer, and Weber will all return to the team’s alternate training site in Worcester, which is where they were to begin the year.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Franchy Cordero reinstated from COVID-19 injured list; Michael Chavis, Colten Brewer sent down to Worcester; John Schreiber designated for assignment

The Red Sox have reinstated outfielder Franchy Cordero from the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced Tuesday morning.

In a corresponding move, right-hander John Schreiber was designated for assignment in order to make room for Cordero on the 40-man roster.

Additionally, both infielder Michael Chavis and right-hander Colten Brewer were optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.

Cordero being activated off the COVID-19 injured list most certainly means he will be good to go for Opening Day on Thursday.

Originally acquired from the Royals as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City, the 26-year-old has impressed thus far in Grapefruit League play.

Coming into Tuesday, Cordero is slashing .294/.333/.588 with one triple, one home run, and one RBI through his first six games and 18 plate appearances with the Sox. He played back-to-back games for the first time this spring on Sunday and Monday.

Upon arriving in Fort Myers last month, the Dominican native’s status for Opening Day became cloudy once he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the virus back home.

The left-handed hitting slugger was not cleared to return to baseball activities until March 11, but it now appears as though he has the green light for Thursday’s season-opening contest against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

“He feels great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Cordero this past Sunday. “There’s a good chance he will be with us Opening Day. Let’s see how he reacts out of this one. But everything is very positive with the way he has been able to bounce back. The game in Tampa, he hit a triple, he move around in the outfield. He’s in a good position.”

Cordero, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds, has played in just 95 games since making his major-league debut with the Padres in 2017 on account of multiple stints on the injured list. He has been hampered by a right wrist sprain, a right elbow sprain, a tight forearm strain, and a left abductor strain in the past three years alone.

Because of his history, the Red Sox will clearly have to be cautious in how they manage Cordero to ensure that he can stay healthy and play as many games as possible.

With Cordero being reinstated on Tuesday, the Sox needed to clear a 40-man roster spot for the outfielder, and they did so by designating right-hander John Schreiber for assignment.

Schreiber, who turned 27 earlier this month, was claimed off waivers from the Tigers back in February.

The 6-foot-2, 210 pound righty appeared in just two games for the Sox this spring, allowing a pair of earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one strikeout over 1 1/3 total innings pitched in those two appearances. He was optioned to the alternate training site on March 16.

The Red Sox now have seven days to either trade, release, or sneak Schreiber through waivers if he is not claimed by another club first.

Turning to the next move made by the Sox on Tuesday, infielder Michael Chavis and right-handed reliever Colten Brewer were both optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.

The 25-year-old Chavis had been competing with fellow infielder Christian Arroyo for one of Boston’s final bench spots, and it even seemed like both could make the team’s Opening Day roster if Cordero was not going to be ready in time.

But with Cordero getting the go-ahead, Arroyo and Chavis essentially become redundant since they both hit from the right side of the plate. And with Arroyo being out of minor-league options, the decision became clear that Chavis would be the one receiving a demotion.

This news comes in spite of the fact that Chavis had a solid spring (.892 OPS in 65 plate appearances), but it goes without saying that the Georgia native still has some things to work on at the plate after struggling to the tune of a .212/.259/.377 slash line across 42 games in 2020.

Having written all that, it would not be all that surprising to see Chavis back up with the Sox sooner rather than later. He has, after all, only played 29 career games at the Triple-A level, so perhaps he can use this demotion as a way to better himself once the Triple-A season begins in May.

As for Brewer, the 28-year-old was also embroiled in a spring competition for one of Boston’s final bullpen spots. That competition was ultimately won by fellow righty Phillips Valdez, though neither Valdez (9.35 ERA in 8 1/3 innings) nor Brewer (9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 innings) looked particularly sharp in Grapefruit League play.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Valdez and Brewer will be easily interchangeable, as both can be optioned to and from Worcester as the Red Sox choose. Brewer (4.59 ERA in 80 ⅓ innings in two seasons with Boston) will likely be one of the first relievers called up if Boston needs a relief arm.”

With all these moves being made, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. More transactions are likely to come — with Eduardo Rodriguez and Ryan Brasier being placed on the injured list among them — but for now, here’s how Boston’s 26-man Opening Day roster should shape up come Thursday morning:

Starting rotation (5): Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Martin Perez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards

Bullpen (9): Matt Andriese, Garrett Whitlock, Austin Brice, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Hirokazu Sawamura, Phillips Valdez, Adam Ottavino, Matt Barnes

Catchers (2): Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki

Infielders (6): Bobby Dalbec, Enrique Hernandez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo

Outfielders (4): Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, Franchy Cordero

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox option right-hander Tanner Houck to alternate training site

Following their 9-1 victory over the Twins on Wednesday, the Red Sox made their fifth round of spring roster cuts and, perhaps most significantly, optioned right-hander Tanner Houck to their alternate training site in Worcester.

The lone member of Boston’s 40-man roster involved in these moves, Houck was seen as a potential candidate to crack the team’s Opening Day starting rotation, but that no longer appears to be the case.

The 24-year-old righty impressed upon getting called up by the Sox last September, posting a 0.53 ERA and 3.25 FIP over his first three starts and 17 innings pitched in the majors.

Spring training thus far has been a different story for Houck, though, as the former first-round draft pick has struggled with his command to the tune of a 4:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

He has also yielded six earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings of work through his first three appearances of the spring.

Given those struggles, as well as the fact that the club has adequate, upper-level rotation depth in the form of Matt Andriese and Garrett Whitlock, the Sox will let Houck continue to develop at the alternate site to start the new season.

This does not mean that Houck — currently regarded by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 7 prospect — won’t pitch in Boston this year; it just means that his 2021 debut may come later than some may have expected.

In addition to Houck being optioned, the Sox also reassigned seven players — right-hander Daniel Gossett, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, catcher Kole Cottam, first basemen Triston Casas and Josh Ockimey, and outfielders Jarren Duran and Yairo Munoz — to minor-league camp.

This flurry of transactions leaves the Red Sox with 35 players on their major-league spring training roster. That number does not include Chris Sale or Franchy Cordero, who both remain on the injured list.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Top prospects Jeter Downs, Gilberto Jimenez included in second round of Red Sox spring roster cuts

Following their 8-2 victory over the Rays at JetBlue Park on Friday afternoon, the Red Sox announced their second round of spring roster cuts, as the club optioned four players to their alternate training site and reassigned eight players to the minor-leagues.

Right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold, infield prospect Hudson Potts, and outfield prospects Jeisson Rosario and Marcus Wilson were optioned down to Boston’s alternate training site.

Left-handers Kyle Hart and Matt Hall, right-handers Caleb Simpson and Ryan Weber, catcher Jett Bandy, infielder Chad De La Guerra, infield prospect Jeter Downs, and outfield prospect Gilberto Jimenez, meanwhile, were all reassigned to the minors.

All four prospects who were optioned to the alternate site are currently on the Sox’ 40-man roster, while all eight players who were reassigned to the minors were taking part in major-league spring training as non-roster invitees.

Among those who were sent down to the alternate site, Baseball America ranks Potts as the No. 24 prospect, Rosario as the No. 20 prospect, and Seabold as the No. 11 prospect in Boston’s farm system heading into the 2021 season.

Among those who were reassigned to minor-league camp, Downs and Jimenez are regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 and No. 7 prospects in the Red Sox farm system, respectively.

Following Friday’s flurry of moves, the Sox now have just 10 non-roster invitees at big-league camp, bringing the total size of their spring training roster down to approximately 53 players.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)