Could Red Sox Welcome Soon-To-Be Free Agent Stephen Gonsalves Back in 2021?

Excluding position players, 27 different pitchers took the mound for the Red Sox in 2020. Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves was not one of them.

The 26-year-old was claimed off waivers by Boston from the Mets early in the season and was subsequently optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, where he remained on the Sox’ 40-man roster up until August 19.

At that point, Gonsalves was designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for veteran right-hander Andrew Triggs.

A week went by and Gonsalves went unclaimed, which resulted in his being outrighted to Pawtucket.

As he spent the final few weeks of his 2020 campaign working out at McCoy Stadium, the San Diego native was actually very impressive, which is important when you consider the fact that he will become a minor-league free agent this winter. Worcester Red Sox pitching coach Paul Abbott made that much clear when speaking with reporters via Zoom last week.

“Gonsalves is a guy that can make an impact next year if we bring him back,” Abbott said. “I know he’s a minor-league free agent. His velo went from 89-90 mph — and he already had a highly rated fastball that had some carry — the velo jumped up to 94-96 mph. He got better as we went along and I know he was close to getting an opportunity because they brought him up there.”

A former fourth-round pick of the Twins out of high school in 2013, Gonsalves only has seven major-league outings under his belt. In those seven appearances, four of which were starts, towards the end of the 2018 season, the one-time University of San Diego commit posted a 6.57 ERA and .822 OPS against over 24 2/3 innings pitched.

At the start of the 2019 campaign, Gonsalves suffered an elbow strain in April and a stress reaction to that same elbow in May, which resulted in the former top prospect accruing just 13 innings of work across three minor-league levels last year prior to ultimately getting designated by Minnesota in November.

Since joining the Red Sox organization over the summer, Gonsalves obviously has not had the chance to showcase himself in any real, meaningful games. But, as Abbott mentioned, an uptick in the 6-foot-5 southpaw’s fastball velocity could mesh well with his other three pitches — changeup, slider, curveball — moving forward.

With that being said, in addition to how highly Abbott spoke of him, Gonsalves may be someone the Red Sox look to bring back early on in free agency this offseason.

Assuming he is brought back by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. on a minor-league deal, Gonsalves could prove to be an interesting hurler to monitor during spring training next year given the fact he has experience as both a starter and reliever.

Red Sox Claim Right-Hander Andrew Triggs off Waivers From Giants, Designate Left-Hander Stephen Gonsalves for Assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Andrew Triggs off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. In order to make room for Triggs on the 40-man roster, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves was designated for assignment. The club made this transaction official earlier Wednesday.

Triggs, 31, was designated by San Francisco last Wednesday, 10 days after he yielded three earned runs on three hits and three walks in just 1/3 of an inning in his 2020 debut on August 2.

Prior to the 2020 season, Triggs, a three-time draftee out of the University of Southern California, made 45 appearances (27 starts) for the Oakland Athletics from 2016 through 2018.

In those 45 outings over the course of three seasons with the A’s, the Tennessee native posted a 4.53 ERA and 4.12 FIP over 163 total innings pitched.

Obviously capable of both pitching out of the rotation and bullpen based off his track record, Triggs owns a lifetime 4.28 ERA and .693 OPS against as a starter, and a lifetime 6.39 ERA and .839 OPS against as a reliever.

Last season, Triggs made just three appearances with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas before getting released in August. That in turn led him to sign a minor-league deal with the Giants in January, but his tenure there clearly did not last all that long given Wednesday’s news.

Per Statcast, Triggs is a three-pitch pitcher, as he primarily works from a three-quarters arm slot and has a sinker, slider, and curveball in his arsenal.

With this roster move made, Triggs is now on the Sox’ 40-man roster and has been optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Gonsalves, meanwhile, was removed from Boston’s 40-man roster nearly four weeks after he was originally claimed off waivers from the Mets. The 26-year-old had been working out at McCoy Stadium, and he will likely clear waivers unless he piques another club’s interest.