Red Sox offseason: Abraham Almonte, Jaylin Davis elect free agency

Two veterans who provided the Red Sox with outfield depth this season have recently opted for free agency.

Abraham Almonte, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday, cleared waivers on Saturday and was outrighted off Boston’s major-league roster. Rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, the 33-year-old elected to become a free agent.

Fellow outfielder Jaylin Davis was designated for assignment in September and spent the rest of the 2022 campaign with the WooSox after clearing waivers. The 28-year-old became a minor-league free agent last Thursday.

Almonte was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations in late July. The switch-hitter appeared in 32 games for Worcester before being selected to the major-league roster on September 7. He then proceeded to bat .257/.297/.400 with one home run, two RBIs, seven runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and 12 strikeouts in 15 games (37 plate appearances) with Boston while seeing playing time at all three outfield positions.

Now a veteran of 10 big-league seasons, Almonte was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $900,000 in arbitration next year. The native Dominican is now free to sign with whichever team he chooses. Considering that he posted a .951 OPS in 80 Triple-A contests last season, Almonte could be of interest to clubs looking to add experienced outfielders on minor-league deals this winter.

Davis, meanwhile, was originally claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April. He appeared in two games for the Red Sox right out of the gate before being optioned to Worcester when rosters shrunk from 28 to 26 players in size. Less than two weeks later, he was designated for assignment.

After going unclaimed, Davis spent the next two months with the WooSox. The North Carolina native had his contract selected from Worcester on July 23 and remained with the big-league club before being optioned again on August 15.

Exactly four weeks later, the Red Sox claimed infielder Yu Chang off waivers from the Rays. They needed to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Chang, and they did so by designating Davis, who yet again cleared waivers.

All told, Davis went 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, four runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts in 12 games with the Sox this season. Like Almonte, he played all three outfield positions during his two stints in Boston. With the WooSox, the right-handed hitter slashed .203/.312/.335 with 12 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 24 runs driven in, 43 runs scored, one stolen base, 43 walks, and 107 strikeouts across 88 games spanning 346 trips to the plate.

Almonte and Davis will soon be joined on the open market by other minor-leaguers who spent the 2022 season in the Red Sox organization. Johan Mieses, Christin Stewart, and Izzy Wilson are among the outfielders who are expected to become free agents.

With that being said, it should be interesting to see how the Sox go about addressing their upper-minors outfield depth in the coming weeks and months.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images0

Red Sox claim Caleb Hamilton off waivers from Twins, designate Abraham Almonte for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed catcher Caleb Hamilton off waivers from the Twins. In order to create space for Hamilton on the 40-man roster, outfielder Abraham Almonte was designated for assignment, per the team’s transactions log.

It is not clear when Hamilton was removed from the Twins’ 40-man roster. The 27-year-old was originally selected by Minnesota in the 23rd round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Oregon State University. He made his major-league debut in August and went 1-for-18 with one home run, one RBI, five runs scored, four walks, and 14 strikeouts over 22 games.

From behind the plate, Hamilton logged 38 innings at catcher and did not throw out any of the six baserunners who attempted to steal off him. The 6-foot, 185-pounder also made six appearances at first base and has experience at every other defensive position in the minor-leagues.

At the Triple-A level this season, Hamilton appeared in 62 games for the St. Paul Saints. The right-handed hitter batted .233/.367/.442 with 10 doubles, 11 homers, 43 runs driven in, 34 runs scored, one stolen base, 43 walks, and 67 strikeouts across 251 trips to the plate. He made 29 starts at catcher and threw out six of 32 base stealers.

Hamilton, who turns 28 in February, has two minor-league options remaining. The Washington state native becomes the fourth catcher on Boston’s 40-man roster, joining the likes of Reese McGuire, Connor Wong, and Ronaldo Hernandez.

During the team’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park earlier this month, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated that catcher would be one position group the club explores making external addition at over the winter.

“This is one of the areas I fully expect that we’re going to explore additions,” Bloom said. “It’s nice to know that we have two guys (McGuire and Wong) that are familiar with how we do things, that showed a lot of good things. But we owe it to ourselves and everybody who cares about this team to look to get better and catcher is certainly not going to be an exception to that.”

It is no sure thing that Hamilton will stick on the Sox’ 40-man roster through the off-season, but the fact that he is versatile and posted a 1.027 OPS against left-handed pitching at Triple-A this season certainly makes him intriguing if he is given an opportunity to fight for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster in the spring.

Almonte, meanwhile, was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations towards the end of July. The well-travelled 33-year-old appeared in 32 games for Triple-A Worcester before having his contract selected on September 7.

In 15 games with the Red Sox, the switch-hitting Almonte slashed .257/.297/.400 to go along with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs, seven runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and 12 strikeouts over 37 plate appearances. He saw playing time at all three outfield positions.

If Almonte goes unclaimed and clears waivers in the coming days, the native Dominican has the ability to refuse an outright assignment to the minor-leagues since he has already accrued more than five years of big-league service time.

Following Tuesday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is back at full capacity. Expect the team to make an announcement on Wednesday morning since they are not allowed to do so during postseason games.

Abraham Almonte and Alex Verdugo both homer, Rich Hill fans 9 over 6 scoreless innings as Red Sox defeat Orioles, 3-1

In rather uneventful fashion, the Red Sox won their second straight over the Orioles on Wednesday night. Boston bested Baltimore by a final score of 3-1 to improve to 74-81 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 25th start of the year, pitched well for the Sox. The veteran left-hander scattered five hits and one walk to go along with nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.

The Red Sox provided Hill with an early lead. After Rafael Devers ripped a one-out ground-rule double off Orioles starter Dean Kremer, Alex Verdugo followed by lacing a run-scoring single to center field to get his side on the board first in the first inning.

Two innings later, Abraham Almonte took the fourth pitch he saw from Kremer and drilled a 421-foot solo shot to right field for his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Hill ended his night by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with exactly 100 pitches (67 strikes) and induced 15 swings-and-misses. He also picked up his eighth winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 4.41.

Shortly after Hill put an end to the top of the sixth, Verdugo led off the bottom half by sneaking a 331-foot liner past Pesky’s Pole for his 11th home run of the season. It left his bat at 102.6 mph and gave Boston a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh.

In relief of Hill, Ryan Brasier received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Brasier needed just 10 pitches to get through a scoreless seventh inning. Kaleb Ort, on the other hand, served up a solo homer to Robinson Chirinos to begin the eighth before settling down and retiring the next three Orioles he faced.

Matt Barnes was responsible for the ninth inning. The righty allowed two runners to reach base but ultimately held on to secure the 3-1 victory while also notching his sixth save of the year.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Baumann in series finale

The Red Sox will look to take this four-game series from the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi, who last pitched on August 13, will be activated from the injured list to make his penultimate start of the season for Boston. Baltimore will counter with fellow right-hander Michael Baumann.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers crushes grand slam as Red Sox rack up season-high 21 hits in 17-4 romping of Orioles

The Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday with a commanding win over the Orioles. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 17-4 to even the three-game series and improve to 68-72 on the season.

With Jordan Lyles on the mound for the O’s, the Sox did not waste any time in jumping out to an early lead. After Tommy Pham drew a leadoff walk, Alex Verdugo singled, and Xander Bogaerts was plunked by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs in the first inning for Rafael Devers.

Devers, who had not homered in his last 21 games, got ahead in the count at 2-0 and promptly cranked a 425-foot grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in deep left-center field. The 26th home run of the season for Devers had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph and put Boston up, 4-0.

Michael Wacha, making his 19th start of the season for the Sox, already had a four-run lead to work with when he took the mound for the first time on Saturday. The veteran right-hander put together yet another quality outing, allowing three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts over six innings.

The first of those three runs came in the bottom of the third, when Wacha served up a solo shot to Cedric Mullins. The Red Sox lineup, however, responded by putting up another four-spot in their half of the fourth.

After Enrique Hernandez and Kevin Plawecki traded places on back-to-back one-out doubles, Verdugo plated Plawecki on a line-drive single to right field. Verdugo moved up to second base on a Bogaerts single and then scored from there when Devers greeted new Orioles reliever Keegan Akin by ripping a run-scoring base hit to left-center field. Trevor Story capped the four-run inning off with another RBI single that drove in Bogaerts left his bat at 99.6 mph.

An inning later, J.D. Martinez led off with a softly-hit double and was immediately driven in when Christian Arroyo clubbed a two-run homer 396 feet over the left field wall for his sixth big fly of the year.

Wacha, meanwhile, ran into some more trouble in the bottom of the fifth. After Gunnar Henderson reached on a leadoff single and moved up to third on a Ramon Urias double, Wacha yielded a sacrifice fly to Jorge Mateo that scored Henderson. Urias, who advanced to third on the play, came into score on an RBI single from Mullins.

Though he was charged with both of those runs, Wacha stranded Mullins by punching out Adley Rutschman before retiring three of the final four batters he faced in the sixth. The 31-year-old hurler wound up throwing 82 pitches (60 strikes) while inducing a total of swings-and-misses. He picked up his 11th winning decision of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.69.

Following a scoreless seventh inning from Ryan Brasier, Boston tacked on additional run off Baltimore reliever Yennier Cano in the top of the eighth. Abraham Almonte led off with a single, marking his first hit in a Red Sox uniform. Almonte went from first to third on a two-out single from Devers and then came into score on a 100.7 mph base hit from Story.

Taking a sizable 11-3 lead into the latter half of the eighth, Matt Strahm took over for Brasier. The left-hander got the first two outs of the inning and was well on his way to getting his third, but Story misplayed a 197-foot flyball off the bat of the pinch-hitting Ryan McKenna and was charged with a fielding error. McKenna was able to take second as a result, and then scored from second on a Ryan Mountcastle RBI single.

In the top of the ninth, Almonte provided some late scoring with an RBI single that pushed across Hernandez from second base. Connor Wong, who came off the bench to pinch-hit for Devers, followed with an infield single that brought in Plawecki and kept the bases loaded for Story, who drew a four-pitch walk to plate Almonte.

That prompted an Orioles pitching change, as McKenna — the right fielder — took over for Cano. Martinez, Arroyo, and Hernandez kept the line moving by driving in three more runs before Plawecki grounded out to mercifully end the inning. Eduard Bazardo closed it out with a scoreless bottom of the ninth to secure a one-sided 17-4 victory.

All told, the Red Sox went 11-for-17 with runners in scoring position on Saturday while racking up a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 21 hits. Almonte, Verdugo, Story, Martinez, Arroyo, and Plawecki each had two hits. Devers went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Hernandez went 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Pham exits with left shin contusion

Tommy Pham exited Saturday’s game in the middle of the fourth inning because of a left knee shin contusion he sustained in the top of the first. He went 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored prior to getting pulled and is considered day-to-day. In his place, Abraham Almonte went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Next up: Hill vs. Bradish in rubber match

The Red Sox will look to close out a series win over the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will start the finale for Boston while right-hander Kyle Bradish will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester, place Franchy Cordero on 60-day injured list

Before wrapping up a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night, the Red Sox selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right ankle sprain, the club announced.

Almonte will join the Red Sox after being acquired from the Brewers for cash considerations in late July. The 33-year-old has batted .291/.469/.536 with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 24 RBIs, 30 runs scored, five stolen bases, 36 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 32 games (147 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

A veteran of nine big-league seasons, Almonte originally broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for six different teams. Most recently, the switch-hitter out of the Dominican Republic appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves last year and slashed .216/.331/.399 with 12 doubles, five homers, 19 runs driven in, 20 runs scored, one stolen base, 26 walks, and 38 strikeouts.

Defensively, Almonte has major-league experience at all three outfield positions. That being said, the 5-foot-10, 223-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Worcester come in right field.

While Almonte is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, he will be available off the bench and will be wearing the No. 48.

The Red Sox needed to create a spot on their 40-man roster in order to call up Almonte. They did so by placing Cordero on the 60-day injured list, thus ending his season.

Cordero sprained both sides of his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s loss to the Rays. It happened as he attempted to track down a fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

The 28-year-old wound up running into the left field wall and got his right cleat stuck in the fence’s padding. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain. He was ultimately carted off the field after not being able to put any weight on his right leg.

In two stints with Boston this season, Cordero batted .219/.300/.397 to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 29 RBIs, 36 runs scored, four stolen bases, 28 walks, and 92 strikeouts across 84 games and 275 trips to the plate.

Acquired from the Royals in last February’s Andrew Benintendi trade, the left-handed hitting Cordero is eligible for arbitration in 2023.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox acquire veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from Brewers and assign him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have acquired veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations, per the club’s transactions log.

Almonte, 33, should provide the Sox with experienced outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester. The WooSox were likely in need of some outfield help anyway with Jaylin Davis, Jarren Duran, and Rob Refsnyder all currently up in Boston.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons who appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in 2021, Almonte signed a minor-league contract with Milwaukee last October.

After failing to make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, Almonte began the 2022 season at Triple-A Nashville. In 48 games with the Sounds, the switch-handed hitter batted .294/.380/.533 to go along with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 25 walks, and 48 strikeouts across 213 trips to the plate.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 223 pounds, Almonte originally signed with the Yankees as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. The Santo Domingo native broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for the the Padres, Guardians, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Braves.

At the big-league level, Almonte owns a career slash line of .234/.302/.374 with 23 home runs, 116 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases over 440 total games. Defensively, Almonte unsurprisingly has experience at all three outfield positions. The majority of his playing time in the majors has come in center, though he had only played the corners while in Nashville this season.

With the addition of Almonte, the WooSox now have five outfielders listed on their active roster. The Red Sox made a similar sort of move last season when they acquired Delino DeShields Jr. from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. DeShields Jr. appeared in 18 games for Worcester in August before being dealt to the Reds at the end of the month.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)