Martín Pérez tosses 7 2/3 scoreless innings, Christian Arroyo crushes 3-run homer as Red Sox salvage series against Astros with 5-1 win

Powered by Martin Perez’s strongest showing of the season to date, the Red Sox were able to avoid a four-game sweep and salvage their series against the Astros with a 5-1 victory at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

Perez, making his 11th start of the season, pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his Red Sox career.

Over 7 2/3 impressive frames of work, the veteran left-hander kept the Astros off the board while scattering just six hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon.

Five of the six hits Perez gave up were singles. The only extra-base hit was snuffed out right away when he yielded a two-out double to Aledmys Diaz and immediately picked him off trying to steal third base.

The fifth inning presented a little bit more trouble for Perez when he put on two of the first three hitters he faced in the frame. Nevertheless, the southpaw got Myles Straw to pop out to the infield before inducing an inning-ending grounder off the bat of Garrett Stubbs. Bobby Dalbec made a nice diving play on the ball and Perez did a quality job of getting over to first base in time.

From there, Perez held things in check. But a one-out single and two-out walk — his first free pass of the contest — in the bottom of the eighth would mark the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler improved to 4-2 on the year while lowering his ERA down to 3.09. His next start should come against this same Astros team back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

In relief of Perez, Adam Ottavino got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and needed all of five pitches to record the final out of the inning.

With a five-run lead going into the last of the ninth, the Sox were able to go to Brandon Workman to close this one out on the same they promoted him from Triple-A Worcester.

Workman served up a solo homer to Yuli Gurriel, but was otherwise up to the challenge of preserving a 5-1 win for his side.

Red Sox offense wakes up

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in the form of Astros right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Unlike the first three games of this series, the Boston bats were actually able to take advantage of early scoring opportunities.

That being the case because with no outs and runners on first and second in the top of the second, a resurgent Christian Arroyo crushed his first home run of the season on a hanging cutter from Odorizzi.

Arroyo’s three-run shot traveled 339 feet over the left field fence and had an exit velocity of 93.2 mph off the bat. It also cleared the bases and gave the Red Sox a 3-0 advantage early on.

Fast forward to the seventh, and the Sox found themselves in a nearly-identical situation.

With no outs and runners at second and third, Xander Bogaerts put an end to one of the worst offensive skids of his career (0-for-his-last-24) by lacing a two-run double off Astros reliever Cristian Javier. He also singled in the ninth to finish the day with his first multi-hit game since May 21.

Bogaerts’ seventh-inning two-base hit put the Red Sox up 5-0 and, as previously mentioned, 5-1 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

By breaking out of a three-game losing streak, the Sox improve to 33-23 on the season (17-10) on the season to get back to 10 games over .500. They remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Alex Cora ejected

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning. He was tossed by home plate umpire Lance Barrett after Kevin Plawecki struck out looking on a questionable third called strike.

Cora has now been ejected two times this season, with Thursday marking his first ejection since April 15. Bench coach Will Venable took over managerial responsibilities for the remainder of the ballgame.

Next up: Big weekend series in the Bronx

The Red Sox will depart Houston for New York, where they will open up a three-game weekend series against the 31-26 Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Michael King for New York.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Lifeless Red Sox drop third straight to Astros, 2-1; Nick Pivetta hit with first loss of season despite striking out 9 over 6 innings

A stagnant Red Sox offense was once again held in check by the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.

Houston starter Framber Valdez gave Boston a chance to get something going immediately in the first inning. The left-hander loaded the bases with two outs and walked in a run by issuing a free pass to Hunter Renfroe.

Bobby Dalbec was presented with the opportunity to do some more damage in his first at-bat of the night, but he grounded out sharply to shortstop to extinguish the threat.

As it would later turn out, that lone run is all the Sox could get off of Valdez, as the southpaw settled in after a rough first inning and strung together six straight scoreless frames to get through seven strong when all was said and done.

The Boston bats did not fare much better against the Astros’ bullpen, with all three of Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts lining out to center field against reliever Ryne Stanek in the top half of the eighth.

In the top half of the ninth, a one-out single from Renfroe and two-out single from Vazquez off Astros closer Ryan Pressly provided the Red Sox with some late life and the chance to at least tie things up at two runs apiece.

Alas, Christian Arroyo hit a broken-bat pop-up to the infield, and 2-1 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

By dropping their third consecutive contest to the Astros, the Red Sox fall to 32-23 on the season (16-10 on the road), yet still remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Pivetta grinds through first two innings, winds up turning in solid performance

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta needed 57 pitches to get through the first two innings of his 11th start of the season on Wednesday. Like Valdez, he also put himself in a bases-loaded jam right away in the first, but got out of it having allowed just one run.

From that point, though, the right-hander locked in and put together one of his best outings of the year to this point all things considered.

Over six innings in total, Pivetta yielded two runs — both earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes) to set a new season-high, the 28-year-old was ultimately hit with his first loss of the year — and his first since coming over to the Red Sox from the Phillies last August. His next start should come against the Marlins back at Fenway Park on Monday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez tossed a perfect seventh inning while Hirokazu Sawamura and Josh Taylor combined to toss a scoreless bottom of the eighth with the help of Christian Vazquez snuffing out Alex Bregman at second base.

Next up: Perez vs. Odorizzi

The Red Sox will send left-hander Martin Perez to the hill on Thursday afternoon as they look to halt this three-game losing streak, avoid a sweep and in turn end an otherwise forgettable series against the Astros on a positive note.

Perez will be opposed by veteran right-hander and his former Twins rotation mate Jake Odorizzi for Houston.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Red Sox commit 2 costly errors, fail to get anything going offensively in 5-1 loss to Astros

The Red Sox were within striking distance of the Astros heading into the bottom of the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night.

Trailing by a run at 2-1, Hirokazu Sawamura came on for Garrett Richards and yielded a leadoff single to Kyle Tucker. A Rafael Devers fielding error on a Chas McCormick groundball put runners at first and second with no outs.

Sawamura proceeded by inducing another grounder off the bat of Myles Straw, one that was hit directly to Xander Bogaerts for what looked to be the start of a huge 6-4-3 double play.

Bogaerts fielded the ball cleanly and made a routine toss to Marwin Gonzalez, who misfired on his throw to first base that got past a sprawling Danny Santana and allowed Tucker to score easily.

A five-pitch walk of Martin Maldonado, a wild pitch, and an intentional walk of Jose Altuve loaded the bases as Red Sox manager Alex Cora made the switch from Sawamura to Garrett Whitlock.

Making his first appearance out of the bullpen in a week, Whitlock issued a free pass to the first man he faced to bring in another run before Yordan Alvarez tapped an infield single off him to plate an additional run and make it a 5-1 game.

What transpired in the seventh inning on Tuesday was what ultimately did the Red Sox in. By falling to Houston by a final score of 5-1, Boston drops back down to 32-22 (16-9) on the season. They remain two games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Richards provides six solid innings

Garrett Richards made his 11th start of the season for the Red Sox and put together yet another strong showing.

Despite dealing with his fair share of traffic on the base paths, the right-hander surrendered just two earned runs on four hits, four walks, and five strikeouts over six innings of work.

The first of the two Astros runs Richards gave up came on a towering solo home run from Jose Altuve right away in the first inning. The second came on a sacrifice fly from Chas McCormick after Richards served up a leadoff double and followed with a four-pitch walk later in the bottom half of the fourth.

Besides that, the 33-year-old hurler was able to retire six of the final seven Astros he faced to get through six full innings.

Despite lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.75, Richards was charged with his fourth loss and is now 4-4. His next start should come against the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday night.

Red Sox’ offensive woes continue

For the second straight day, the Red Sox lineup was held in check at Minute Maid Park. Boston was once again limited to five hits while managing to push across just one run against Astros rookie starter Luis Garcia.

Hunter Renfroe sparked the lone offensive output of the night with a leadoff double in the fifth, marking his fifth consecutive game with an extra-base hit. Danny Santana advanced Renfroe to third on a single moments later, and it appeared as though the Sox were ready to pounce.

Christian Vazquez failed to advance either runner by popping out to the infield, Marwin Gonzalez plated Renfroe on an RBI groundout, and Enrique Hernandez also popped out to extinguish the threat.

From there, an Alex Verdugo leadoff single and Vazquez two-out single in the seventh went for naught as Garcia made it through seven complete innings for the first time in his young career.

The Astros bullpen took over in relief of Garcia and preserved the one-run effort by tossing a pair of scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Valdez

Wednesday’s starting pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Astros will feature a pair of right-hander and a left-hander, with righty Nick Pivetta getting the ball for Boston and southpaw Framber Valdez doing the same for Houston.

Pivetta will look to play the role as the stopper with the Sox looking to halt a two-game skid and get back in the win column.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez surrenders 6 runs, finishes miserable month of May with 7.28 ERA as Red Sox fall to Astros, 11-2, on Memorial Day

Alex Cora’s first trip back to Houston since being implicated in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scandal did not get off to the best of starts.

The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak come to an end and closed out the month of May with a blowout 11-2 loss at the hands of the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Monday evening.

They fell to 32-21 (16-8 on the road) on the season as a result and now sit two full games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East, the farthest they have been back of the division lead since April 5.

Rodriguez wraps up miserable May

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 10th start of the season for Boston in the opener of this four-game set and was unable to end a downright dreadful month of May on a positive note.

Over 4 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander got shelled for six earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with just four strikeouts on the day.

The six runs Rodriguez yielded on Monday were a season-high and came in bunches, with the Astros plating two in the second, two in the third, and two more in the fifth.

What truly did Rodriguez in was when he served up a two-run home run to Jose Altuve with no outs in the third inning. The homer was more bad luck than anything considering it came on a 1-2, 88 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate and traveled a whopping 330 feet with an exit velocity of 92.2 mph just over the fence in left field.

Still, a home run is a a home run, and it was one that put the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.

From there, Rodriguez stringed together a nice stretch before running into more trouble in the fifth in which he allowed two of the first four hitters he faced to reach base.

At that point, the lefty’s pitch count had reached 97 (62 strikes), and his day was done as Cora turned to Colten Brewer out of the Boston bullpen.

By getting hit with his fourth consecutive losing decision, Rodriguez falls to 5-4 on the year while raising his ERA to 5.64. In six May starts, the 28-year-old posted an astronomically-high 7.28 ERA, which is the highest mark of any month in his six major-league seasons.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Rodriguez, Colten Brewer took over with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and allowed both runners he inherited to score before retiring the side.

Brewer, who was making his 2021 debut, was charged with four additional runs, while Phillips Valdez was charged with one, in the sixth. Valdez then tossed a a scoreless bottom of the seventh and Matt Andriese followed suit in the eighth.

Quiet offense sans Renfroe

The Red Sox lineup failed to muster anything off of Astros starter Jose Urquidy on Monday.

It took until the fourth inning for Boston to reach base and until the fifth inning to record a hit against the right-hander.

The only real exception to the Sox’ offensive woes was Hunter Renfore, who put the finishing touches on a strong month of may by scoring his side’s first run on an Alex Verdugo RBI double in the sixth and later scoring himself on his seventh home run of the season in the eighth.

Renfroe’s 419-foot solo blast made it an 11-2 game, which would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Next up: Richards vs. Garcia

Tuesday’s pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Astros will feature veteran right-hander getting the ball for Boston and rookie right-hander Luis Garcia getting the ball for Houston.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Falmouth native Steve Cishek signs with Angels despite reported interest from Red Sox

Veteran reliever Steve Cishek has signed a one-year major-league deal with the Astros, the club announced Monday night.

The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reports that Cishek will earn $1 million with Los Angeles this season.

Cishek, 34, requested and was granted his release from the Astros last week after signing a minor-league pact with the club in February.

In camp with Houston, the right-hander yielded three earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and 12 strikeouts over seven appearances spanning 7 2/3 total innings of work.

Despite putting up those solid numbers, Cishek, who was set to make $1.25 million if he made the Astros’ Opening Day roster, was apparently not in Houston’s bullpen plans given the fact that they are creeping towards the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

Hitting the open market late last week, Cishek obviously did not remain a free-agent for long.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox were one of the teams who expressed interest in the sidearmer’s services, but only in the capacity of a minor-league deal.

A native of Falmouth, Mass. and a product of Falmouth High School, Cishek’s connections to the Sox are not just local. He also has a history with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom going back to when he was acquired by the Rays from the Mariners in July 2017.

Over the course of a big-league career that spans 11 seasons, the former fifth-round draft pick out of Carson-Newman University (Tenn.) owns a lifetime 2.78 ERA and 3.30 FIP over 594 games (576 innings) between the Marlins, Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, and White Sox dating back to 2010.

He most recently put up a 5.40 ERA and 5.64 FIP in 22 appearances and 20 innings pitched out of the White Sox’ bullpen in 2020 before being cut loose by the club in late September.

Seeing how he only signed a one-year deal with his new team in the Angels, one has to wonder if the Red Sox will again be in the mix for Cishek’s services if/when he becomes a free-agent this winter.

Until then, Cishek will look to bolster a Halos’ bullpen that has made a plethora of significant additions in just the last two days alone.

The Angels are slated to visit Fenway Park for a three-game weekend series against the Red Sox from May 14-16.

(Picture of Steve Cishek: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Astros release veteran reliever Steve Cishek; Could Red Sox be in play for Falmouth native’s services now that he is back on the open market?

The Astros have released reliever Steve Cishek after the veteran reliever requested to be cut loose by the club on Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan.

Cishek, 34, originally signed a minor-league deal with Houston last month and had until this week to opt out of his contract if he wasn’t going to be added to the Astros’ 40-man roster.

Per Kaplan, the Falmouth, Mass. native was going to make $2.25 million if he made the Astros’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, which is a price the club wasn’t willing to pay given how close they are to the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

Coming off a 2020 campaign with the White Sox in which he struggled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA and 5.64 FIP over 22 relief appearances and 20 innings of work before being released in late September, Cishek had been looking better this spring.

Through his first seven outings with the Astros, the 6-foot-5, 215 pounder yielded three earned runs — all of which came on home runs — on seven hits and two walks to go along with 12 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings pitched in Grapefruit League play.

Known for his sidearm delivery, Cishek has racked up 132 total saves over the course of an 11-year big-league career between the Marlins, Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, and White Sox. He was originally selected by Miami in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson, Tenn.

Because of his local connections, Cishek always seemed like someone who would pitch for the Red Sox at some point before calling it a career.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted earlier Thursday that he would “expect the Red Sox to be involved with some relievers who are opting out of deals this week.”

Boston has their own bullpen competition going on at the moment between the likes of Austin Brice, Phillips Valdez, Colten Brewer, and Kevin McCarthy, but it would not be too surprising to see Chaim Bloom and Co. bring in a more established reliever based off the names that have been made available these past few days.

Bloom does after all have a history with Cishek going back to when the Rays acquired the righy reliever from the Mariners in a July 2017 trade.

(Picture of Steve Cishek: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox make Marwin González signing official, designate Marcus Walden for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez to a one-year contract for the 2021 season, the team announced Wednesday evening.

In order to make room for Gonzalez on their 40-man roster, Boston also designated right-hander Marcus Walden for assignment.

Gonzalez and the Red Sox originally agreed to a one-year pact for 2021 a little less than two weeks ago.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Gonzalez — who turns 32 in March — will earn a base salary of $3 million this year with the chance to earn up to $1.1 million in additional performance bonuses. There is no player, club, or dual option for a potential second year.

The Venezuelan switch-hitter had spent the last two seasons with the Twins and put up a .248/.311/.387 slash line to go along with 20 home runs and 77 RBI over 167 total games played. He also saw time at every defensive position besides center field in his time with Minnesota.

That versatile aspect of Gonzalez’s game will surely carry over to Boston as well, as the 6-foot-1, 205 pounder could line up to play both corner outfield spots while also serving as a left-handed complement to the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base when needed.

With the additions of Gonzalez and Enrique Hernandez, both of whom are already familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the Sox have put themselves in a position where they are set up to a bevy of lineup combinations and defensive platoons depending on who they are going up against on a given day.

As for Walden, the move to designate him for assignment comes more than four years after he initially signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in December 2016.

Since then, the 32-year-old reliever has proven to be effective at the major-league level for an extended period of time.

Across 70 appearances out of the Boston bullpen in 2019, Walden posted a solid 3.81 ERA and 3.69 FIP over 78 total innings of work.

Coming off that successful campaign — his first full one in the majors — the California native figured to play an important role for the Sox in 2020, but he floundered to the tune of a disastrous 9.45 ERA and 8.59 FIP over 15 outings spanning 13 1/3 innings pitched in two separate big-league stints last year.

Even with a poor, truncated 2020 coming on the heels of a successful, full 2019, Walden’s leash appeared to be short as he is now without a 40-man roster spot for the time being.

The Sox will have seven days to either trade Walden, release him, or sneak him through waivers unless he is claimed by another club first.

With this transaction made, Boston’s 40-man roster remains at full capacity, which means more moves will need to be made in order to accommodate the likes of catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Franchy Cordero, both of whom remain on the team’s COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox reach agreement with veteran utilityman Marwin González on one-year deal, per report

The Red Sox and veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez have agreed to a one-year contract, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Per Feinsand, Gonzalez will earn $3 million in 2021 with the chance to earn a little over $1 million more in incentives.

Gonzalez, who turns 33 next month, is coming off a 2020 season with the Twins in which he posted a .211/.286/.320 slash to go along with five home runs and 22 RBI over 53 games (199 plate appearances).

The Red Sox were known to be in the market for a left-handed bat that could potentially complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base, and Gonzalez, a switch-hitter certainly fits that mold.

The Venezuelan has proven to be quite versatile over the course of his nine year major-league career with the Astros and Twins, as he has seen time at every defensive position minus pitcher and catcher.

Most recently, as a member of the Twins from 2019-2020, Gonzalez appeared in 35 games at first base, 22 at second base, 63 at third base, one at shortstop, 18 in left field, zero in center field, and 52 in right field. He also served as a designated hitter, pinch-hitter, and pinch-runner in his time with Minnesota.

Given the fact he spent the first seven years of his big-league career — including 2017 — in Houston, Gonzalez is obviously already familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the ‘Stros’ bench coach that year.

The reported addition of Gonzalez comes less than two weeks after the Enrique Hernandez signing was made official, so Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. appear intent on having as versatile team as possible.

As currently constructed, Boston’s 40-man roster is at full capacity, so the club will need to make a flurry of moves in order to officially add the likes of Gonzalez, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Martin Perez.

Also, this is not Gonzalez’s first time with the Red Sox. He spent less than one full day with the team back in December 2011 after being selected from the Cubs in the major-league phase of that year’s Rule 5 Draft before promptly getting traded to the Astros for Marco Duarte.

(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Falmouth native Steve Cishek signs minor-league deal with Houston Astros

Falmouth, Mass. native and veteran reliever Steve Cishek has signed a minor-league contract with the Houston Astros, per MLB.com’s transaction wire. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

The Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome was the first to report the signing.

Cishek, 34, will earn $2.25 million — plus more in incentives — if he makes the Astros’ roster, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The sidearm-throwing right-hander is coming off a shortened 2020 season with the Chicago White Sox in which he posted a 5.40 ERA and 5.64 FIP over 22 appearances and 20 innings of work before being designated for assignment in late September.

For his career, which spans 11 major-league seasons with six different clubs, the Falmouth High School product owns a lifetime 2.78 ERA and 3.30 FIP to go along with 132 career saves over 594 outings and 576 total innings pitched.

One of those six teams Cishek spent time with was the Tampa Bay Rays for the latter half of the 2017 campaign, so he now reunites with Astros general manager and former Rays executive James Click in Southeast Texas.

The former 2007 fifth-round draft pick of the Marlins had thrown for teams back in January during Corey Kluber’s showcase in South Florida (the two are both represented by Jet Sports Management).

As many as 25 teams attended said showcase, and while the Yankees came away winners of the Kluber sweepstakes, the Astros came out winners in the less-publicized Cishek sweepstakes.

Given his local connections, Cishek always seemed like someone who would be a perfect fit for the Red Sox, whether it be by trade or free agency.

A union between the two sides has yet to happen, though The Athletic’s Peter Gammons tweeted in December 2019 — before Cishek joined the White Sox — that the former Miami closer ‘would like to sign with Boston.’

That being said, as long as Cishek keeps taking minor- or one-year deals during the latter stages of his career, his eventual signing with the Sox cannot be ruled out at this point.

(Picture of Steve Cishek: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘have inquired on’ free-agent outfielder Jake Marisnick, per report

The Red Sox might not be considered favorites to land George Springer at this point, but there is another former Astros outfielder the club could pursue in free agency.

That particular outfielder’s name? Jake Marisnick.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox are looking at a number of outfield options in the event that they are unable to re-sign Jackie Bradley Jr., who they are “still in on” as of this moment.

“If the Red Sox aren’t able to bring back Bradley Jr., they’ll start considering other options,” Cotillo wrote Friday. “One name they’ve inquired on — at least primarily — is Jake Marisnick.”

Marisnick, who turns 30 in March, was limited to just 16 games with the Mets this past season due to issues related to both his left and right hamstrings.

Over that small sample size, the California native was impressive, going 11-for-33 at the plate (.333) to go along with two home runs, three doubles, and five RBI. He declared for free agency in late October.

Prior to getting traded to the Mets from the Astros in December 2019, Marisnick was somewhat of a mainstay in the Houston outfield more so for what he could do with the glove in his hand as opposed to the bat, with the majority of his playing time coming in center.

From the start of the 2015 season until the end of the 2019 season, the 6-foot-4, 220 lb. outfielder played a total of 3,676 2/3 innings in the outfield for Houston.

While doing so, he posted a positive-53 defensive runs saved as well as an ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 19.7, per FanGraphs.

Marisnick’s best year defensively might have come in 2016, but Baseball Savant does not go that far back with its outs above average (OAA) leaderboards.

Going back to 2019 though, the former third-round draft pick was worth eight outs above average, placing ninth among qualified major-league centerfielders that year, per Statcast.

In summary, Marisnick may be approaching 30, but he still has the makings to be a quality defensive center field option for whichever club he signs with.

In the Red Sox’ case, the ex-Astro may serve as a solid replacement for Bradley Jr. if the Gold Glover were to sign with another team in the coming weeks. He’s another free-agent who has a connection to Alex Cora (former bench coach in Houston as well.”

On top of his ability to potentially fill the hypothetical void left by Bradley Jr., Marisnick would presumably command a shorter-term deal on the open market, meaning he could serve as a bridge of sorts for Boston as Jarren Duran inches closer to the majors.

Duran, currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the organization’s top outfield prospect, is projected to start 2021 with Triple-A Worcester and could very well make his big-league debut for the Sox later on in the summer.

FanGraphs‘ Eric Longenhagen wrote last week that “Duran’s instincts in center field are still not good (though they’ve improved), and he relies on his speed to make up for what he lacks in off-the-bat feel and anticipation,” but it’s clear that the organization has high hopes for the 24-year-old.

That being said, under the assumption that Bradley Jr. does not return, Marisnick could be brought in to patrol center field to start the 2021 season. And if the timing is right, Duran could be called up to learn the ropes at the major-league level sometime in July, August, or even September.

This, of course, all depends on what Chaim Bloom and Co. have in mind for the puzzle that is the Red Sox outfield picture moving forward.

Boston’s chief baseball officer said back in November that he believes all three of Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Hunter Renfroe could play center field if needed, but he would not be opposed to adding another outfielder, either.

“I think we have guys on this club who are capable of playing center field,” Bloom said during a Zoom call with reporters. “But we certainly would like to be in as strong of a defensive position as you can. We know we play in a ballpark where you basically have two center fields here in Fenway Park. So we want to be mindful of that.

“We’d certainly like to have as strong of a defensive outfield as possible,” he added. “And a lot of that is contingent on having multiple guys who can play center field.”

Bringing on someone as capable of playing center field as Marisnick would certainly seem to fit the mantra of “having multiple guys” who can play that position when asked to.

(Picture of Jake Marisnick: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)