Brandon Workman elects free agency after Red Sox outright reliever to Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up a three-game weekend series against the Rays in St. Petersburg on Sunday night, the Red Sox outrighted reliever Brandon Workman off their 40-man roster, the club announced.

Workman, in turn, had the option to accept an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, but instead elected to become a free agent.

The Sox initially designated the veteran right-hander for assignment this past Thursday in order to make room on its 40-man roster for the acquisition of All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Nationals.

Workman, who turns 33 later this month, opened the 2021 season with the Cubs, but was released in late April after posting a 6.75 ERA and 6.28 FIP over 10 relief appearances spanning eight innings pitched with Chicago.

Shortly after being let go by Chicago, though, Workman inked a minor-league deal to return to Boston — the organization he began his pro career with as a second-round draft choice in 2010 — in early May and was later added to the major-league roster on June 3 after impressing with the WooSox.

Upon rejoining the Red Sox’ bullpen, however, Workman endured the same struggles he endured earlier in the season as well as in his time with the Phillies last year.

Over 19 outings (20 innings of work) from June 3 through July 29, the Texas native put up an unsightly 4.95 ERA and .864 OPS against while striking out as many batters as he walked (14) in his second stint with the Sox.

Now that he is back on the open market, it should be interesting to see how willing Workman will be to sign a minor-league pact with another club seeing how that is likely his best path back to the majors.

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate veteran reliever Brandon Workman for assignment

After acquiring All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals on Thursday night, the Red Sox needed to create space on both their major-league and 40-man rosters.

They did so by designating reliever Brandon Workman for assignment.

Workman, who turns 33 next month, sees his second stint with the Red Sox come to a potential end in rather disappointing fashion.

After signing a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cubs in February, Workman opened the 2021 season in Chicago’s bullpen, but got off to a dreadful start in which he posted a 6.75 ERA and 6.28 FIP over 10 relief appearances spanning eight innings of work before being designated for assignment in late April.

Ultimately released by the Cubs, Workman inked a minor-league pact to return to the Red Sox in early May before appearing in seven games with Triple-A Worcester.

In those nine outings, the veteran right-hander pitched to the tune of a miniscule 1.29 ERA over seven innings of work, which led to his contract being selected by Boston on June 3.

From that point, the struggles Workman endured in Chicago picked up once again in Boston, as he put up an unsightly 4.95 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, and .313 batting average against in 21 appearances and 28 innings pitched.

That includes his outing in Thursday’s 13-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park in which he surrendered four runs on seven hits and one walk over two innings of mop-up duty. Four of the seven hits he allowed had exit velocities of 105 mph or higher.

The Red Sox originally selected Workman in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas. The Texas-born righty spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first 5 1/2 seasons of his major-league career with Boston — ultimately emerging as the club’s closer in 2019 and the early stages of 2020 prior to getting traded to the Phillies last August.

In exchange for both Workman and fellow reliever Heath Hembree, the Sox acquired right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold from the Phillies.

In the midst of his final season before hitting free agency, Workman struggled mightily with Philadelphia, as he produced a 6.92 ERA and 1.146 OPS against while blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities over the latter half of the pandemic-shortened campaigned.

With that dreary performance as a member of the Phillies in mind, it goes without saying that Workman hit free agency at the wrong time, as he has bounced around since then and could be on the verge of playing for his third team this season alone.

On that note, the Red Sox will have between now and Friday’s trade deadline to trade Workman to another club. If the 6-foot-5 hurler is not traded and instead clears waivers (seems likey), he would then have the right to elect free agency if he so chose.

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

Eduardo Rodriguez gets rocked for 6 runs as lifeless Red Sox get blown out by Blue Jays, 13-1, in series finale

While their division rivals continue to stock up ahead of the trade deadline, the Red Sox — who have yet to make a significant move — were obliterated by the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making his first start since leaving his last one early with migraine symptoms, quite simply did not look like himself.

Over just 3 1/3 innings of work, the left-hander surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts.

After striking out the first batter he faced in George Springer, Rodriguez proceeded to load the bases on two hits and a four-pitch walk. Teoscar Hernandez drove in two of those runners on a hard-hit RBI double and Cavan Biggio followed with an RBI single, giving the Jays a 3-0 lead right out of the chute.

Rodriguez’s struggles persisted in the second, as he yielded back-to-back doubles to Reese McGuire and Springer to increase Toronto’s lead even further. The Venezuelan southpaw rallied by striking out the side and tossing a scoreless third inning, but got knocked around once more in the fourth.

Loading the bases once again with one out, Rodriguez issued a bases-loaded free pass to Marcus Semien, marking the unofficial end his outing since he was still responsible for three runners on base.

Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on an RBI forceout from Bo Bichette to officially close the book on Rodriguez’s night.

Of the 92 pitches Rodriguez threw, 57 went for strikes and 18 went for swings-and-misses. The 28-year-old hurler ultimately suffered his sixth loss of the year while seeing his ERA on the season rise to an unsightly 5.60.

Valdez, meanwhile, got through the rest of the fourth inning unscathed, but walked a pair in the top of the fifth before serving up a monstrous 436-foot three-run home run over the Green Monster to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., which put the Blue Jays up 9-0.

Four more Toronto runs were pushed across off Sox reliever Brandon Workman, who allowed three Jays to cross the plate on four hits in the seventh before yielding an additional tally on two hits in the seventh.

In that very same seventh inning, a sleepy, Rafael Devers-less Red Sox lineup scored their first run of the evening after being held solemnly in check by Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who hurled six innings of scoreless baseball in his third start of the season against Boston.

Christian Vazquez ripped a one-out double off Blue Jays reliever Taylor Saucedo to begin things in the seventh and Bobby Dalbec followed by driving the backstop in on a run-scoring two-base hit of his own.

That sequence made it a 13-1 contest in favor of Toronto, and the Boston bullpen was able to hold them there as Darwinzon Hernandez twirled a scoreless eighth inning and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki — making his sixth career appearance on the mound — did the same in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

That said, the Red Sox still fell to the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 on Thursday night as they have to settle for a four-game series split to close out a 5-3 homestand.

With the loss, the Sox also drop to 63-41 on the season, meaning their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East shrinks to 1 1/2 games.

Renfroe, Verdugo make fantastic catches in back-to-back innings

While the Red Sox did not muster much offensively in their series finale against the Blue Jays, their two starting corner infielders made spectacular catches in the fourth and fifth innings of Thursday night’s contest.

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe robbed Randal Grichuk of a potential 328-foot grand slam off Phillips Valdez to end things in the fourth, while left fielder Alex Verdugo prevented Cavan Biggio from extending his at-bat in the fifth by reaching over the left field wall in foul territory to make an impressive snag.

Dalbec becomes tallest shortstop in Red Sox history

Bobby Dalbec, who started at third base on Thursday, took over for Xander Bogaerts at shortstop in the seventh inning and became the tallest player (6-foot-4) to play at that particular position for the Red Sox.

Next up: Huge weekend at the Trop

The Red Sox will board a flight for Tampa, Fla. Thursday night as they prepare to embark upon their longest road trip of the season (10 games) that includes stops in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto — yes, Toronto.

To kick the road trip off, the Sox and Rays will go at it in the first game of a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field on Friday night.

Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to start for Boston in the opener, while fellow southpaw Josh Fleming is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Cora and Eduardo Rodriguez: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández delivers with go-ahead RBI double, Bobby Dalbec crushes 453-foot homer as Red Sox come back to take series from Yankees with 7-3 win

Kiké Hernández made sure to make his first hit in nearly two weeks count.

After not playing on Thursday or Friday, Hernández came into the weekend in the midst of an 0-for-21 slump and was dropped to seventh in Alex Cora’s lineup as a result.

In the eighth inning of a 3-3 game Friday night, Hernández came to the plate for the fourth time with two outs and Rafael Devers at first following a leadoff single with reliever Chad Green on the mound for New York.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Green — a 2-2, 95 mph fastball at the top of the zone — Hernández laced a go-ahead RBI double down the left field line that allowed a husting Devers to score all the way from first.

Hernández’s late-game heroics gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead, but they were not done there.

Christian Vazquez followed with a run-scoring double of his won to drive in Hernández, while Bobby Dalbec put this one to bed by crushing a 453-foot two-run home run to deep center field.

Dalbec’s sixth homer of the season, which had an exit velocity of 115.6 mph to make it the hardest-hit ball of his career to this point, put the Red Sox up 7-3, which would go on to be Friday’s final score in the team’s series-clinching victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Five straight hits in the sixth

Before the eighth-inning rally, Boston put up their first three runs of the night earlier in their half of the sixth.

There, five straight one-out hits courtesy of Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe resulted in some serious offensive production, with Devers driving in a pair off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon on a two-run single and Gonzalez plating Devers on yet another run-scoring double off reliever Jonathan Loaisiga.

That little outburst gave the Sox a 3-2 lead going into the middle of the sixth inning.

Rodriguez’s no-decision

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 11th start of the season for the Red Sox on Friday. The left-hander took a perfect game into the third inning before giving up back-to-back two-out singles, though nothing came of it.

The fourth inning, however, was a different story for Rodriguez, as he served up a two-run blast to Gleyber Torres to give the Yankees their first lead of the night at 2-0.

Rodriguez ran into some more trouble in the sixth when he issued a one-out walk to Aaron Judge and yielded a ground-rule double to Gio Urshela to put runners in scoring position. With Torres due to hit next for New York, Rodriguez’s outing came to a close.

Garrett Whitlock was deployed from the Red Sox bullpen to replace Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly before ending the inning.

With that third run being charged to Rodriguez, the 28-year-old hurler finished the day having surrendered three earned runs on one walk and seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work on 88 pitches — 55 of which were strikes.

Able to lower his ERA on the season to 5.59 despite not being involved in the decision, his next start should come against the Astros back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Whitlock and Ottavino impress against former organization

Whitlock, who the Red Sox selected from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, came back out for the seventh inning after finishing things in the sixth.

Facing off against the team that selected him in the 18th round of the 2017 draft, the right-hander wound up facing the minimum three batters in the seventh by inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Gary Sanchez.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, had spent the previous two seasons with the Yankees prior to getting traded to the Red Sox over the winter.

In his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since that trade went down, the Brooklyn native continued the dominating run he has been on of late by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in order in the bottom half of the eighth.

Workman struggles with walks, which leads to Barnes closing it out

From there, the Sox had already jumped out to a late 7-3 lead and turned to Brandon Workman to wrap things up.

Workman, making his second appearance out of the Boston bullpen since re-joining the club on Thursday, got the first two outs of the ninth rather easily, but then proceeded to walk the next two Yankees who came to the plate.

That resulted in Cora making the call for closer Matt Barnes, who fanned the lone hitter he faced on five pitches to secure the 7-3 win for his side and notch his 14th save of the season.

With the 7-3 triumph, the Red Sox guarantee their first series victory in the Bronx since the 2018 ALDS. They also pick up their third straight win to improve to 35-23 and remain within a game of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards looks to complete the sweep

The Red Sox will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the hill on Sunday night as they look to complete the sweep against their divisional foes.

The Yankees will be going with fellow righty Domingo German as they look to avoid a three-game sweep.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Richard Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox select Brandon Workman from Triple-A Worcester, designate Colten Brewer for assignment

The Red Sox have selected the contract of Brandon Workman from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Astros.

In order to make room for Workman on both the 26-man and 40-man roster, fellow reliever Colten Brewer was optioned to Worcester following Wednesday’s game before being designated for assignment on Thursday.

Workman, 32, triggered the June 1 opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Red Sox on Tuesday, which in turn gave the club 48 hours to either promote or release him to pursue other opportunities.

The right-hander initially inked a minor-league pact with Boston last month shortly after getting released by the Cubs in late April. He posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP to go along with four walks and 10 strikeouts over seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings pitched with the WooSox.

After mulling over their options these past two days, the Sox ultimately decided to bring back a familiar face in Workman, who spent the first six years of his major-league career and first 11 years of his professional career with Boston.

2019 was undoubtedly Workman’s best year in a Red Sox uniform, as he put up a miniscule 1.88 ERA over 73 outings in the process of emerging as Boston’s closer.

The 2020 campaign, however, was a different story. The former second-round pick out of the University of Texas was dealt from the Sox to the Phillies in late August as part of a four-player trade and never really got things going in Philadelphia (6.92 ERA in 13 innings).

It took until February for Workman to land a one-year deal with the Cubs. But, as previously mentioned, he was designated for assignment and eventually released by Chicago after just 10 April appearances.

Workman’s second go-around in free agency did not last nearly as long as the first with the Sox signing the veteran hurler to a minor-league deal on May 6.

With his promotion to the big-leagues, Workman now joins a Red Sox bullpen mix that includes the likes of Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Phillips Valdez, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Whitlock. He will retain his No. 44.

Brewer, meanwhile, was designated for assignment in order to make room for Workman on Boston’s 40-man roster.

The 28-year-old was originally acquired by the Red Sox in a November 2018 trade with the Padres and has produced a 4.98 ERA and 5.20 FIP in 70 appearances (four starts) over the last three seasons.

After the right-hander was shelled for four runs in his 2021 debut at Minute Maid Park on Monday, the Sox must have felt like Workman was an upgrade over Brewer — at least for the time being.

Boston will now have seven days to either trade, release, or waive Brewer. He could be outrighted to the WooSox if he winds up clearing waivers.

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

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 bring back Brandon Workman on minor-league deal: ‘Hopefully he becomes a factor this season,’ Alex Cora says

Over the winter, Red Sox manager Alex Cora attempted to recruit then-free agent reliever Brandon Workman back to the team he began his professional career with.

Cora ultimately came up short in his recruitment pitch, as Workman inked a one-year deal with the Cubs in February.

“My last conversation was Super Bowl Sunday with him,” Cora said. “And it was recruiting, actually, at that time. It didn’t work out.”

Workman was designated for assignment and subsequently released by Chicago last week less than a full month into his tenure there. The right-hander had posted a 6.76 ERA over 10 outings (eight innings pitched).

Upon hitting the open market again, Workman was available for any club to pursue. The Red Sox were one of this interested teams, but Cora did not take part in any recruiting this time around.

“I didn’t recruit him,” said Cora. “I gave up in the offseason. I wasn’t a good one.”

Workman ultimately chose to reunite with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas, as he signed a minor-league pact with the Sox on Thursday and was assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

In his first stint with the Sox, the 32-year-old proved to be a valuable bullpen arm capable of getting big outs — especially in 2019.

Over 73 appearances that year, Workman put up a dazzling 1.88 ERA and .433 OPS against while recording 104 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings of work.

The following season, Workman made just seven appearances out of the Boston bullpen before getting traded (along with Heath Hembree) to the Phillies in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.

With Philadelphia, Workman struggled immensely to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in the process of blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities from late August through the end of September.

Despite those hardships, the 6-foot-3 righty still netted himself a big-league deal this past offseason, though the struggles he experienced with the Phillies carried over to his brief stint with the Cubs as well.

“He was excellent, right? Those numbers were amazing,” Cora said of Workman’s 2019 campaign earlier Friday. “I texted him a few days ago, just thanking him for giving us a chance. And just get to work. He feels good about it. Obviously it didn’t go well in the second part of the season last year, and it didn’t go well the Cubs. There’s a few things that we recognized with our information department that hopefully we can regain, and he can become a factor.”

One thing the Red Sox will be hoping to regain from Workman is his fastball velocity. The hurler has averaged just 91.5 mph with his four-seamer this season after averaging 92.5 and 92.9 mph with the pitch over the last two years, respectively.

To put that into perspective, opponents hit a measly .134 against Workman’s heater in 2019. They are hitting .556 against it so far this season, per Baseball Savant.

“When his velocity’s a tick up, it helps everything else,” said Cora. “Teams make adjustments. I saw his last one against the Braves and he threw a lot of breaking balls. And he threw some good ones and some bad ones. But I think with him, velocity is very important because the shape of the breaking ball and the spin, it’s usually the same. It’s still a good breaking ball. But if he doesn’t have something else to separate, he becomes a one-pitch pitcher. And like I said, game-planning comes into play. His cutter, too, is part of the equation. We’ve just got to get him back to gain his confidence, too.”

Considering the fact that he turns 33 in August, Workman adding a few more miles per hour to his fastball velocity seems like somewhat of a tall task. That being said, Cora appeared fairly confident that the former closer would be able to do it since he is back in a familiar setting with the Red Sox.

“Sometimes it mechanical. Sometimes it’s just go out there and get repetitions,” said Cora. “I don’t know how it went in spring training as far as his build-up and all that. But that was something we always talk about here — about his velocity… The velocity needs to be at a certain level and if that happens, then the other stuff is good, too. I know he’s happy. There’s a comfort level that hopefully can help him out to regain that confidence. And like I said, hopefully he can become a factor.”

When asked if he viewed the Workman signing as a gamble, Cora responded by saying that it could turn out to be a win-win situation if Workman returns to his old form.

“I don’t see it as a gamble,” he said. “I think it’s as a good opportunity for both of us. For him to get right and for us to have a good pitcher. Like Chaim [Bloom] has been saying since he got here: the deeper the better as far as the roster and the organization. This guy, he’s done it before, he’s done it in this market, and hopefully — like I said — he becomes a factor this season.”

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

Red Sox bring back reliever Brandon Workman on minor-league deal, assign him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have brought back Brandon Workman on a minor-league deal and have assigned him to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Thursday.

Workman, who turns 33 in August, spent the first 11 years of his professional career with the Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas.

In parts of six seasons with Boston, the right-hander put together his best campaign in 2019 when he emerged as the team’s closer in the process of posting a dazzling 1.88 ERA and 2.46 FIP over 73 relief appearances spanning 71 2/3 innings of work.

Opening the 2020 season with the Sox, Workman — along with fellow reliever Heath Hembree — was dealt to the Phillies in late August in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.

With free agency looming, Workman struggled mightily in Philadelphia, as he put up a dismal 6.92 ERA and 1.146 OPS against while blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities over his final 14 outings (13 innings pitched) of the year.

Despite those struggles, Workman did manage to land a one-year, $1 million major-league deal with the Cubs in February and made the club’s Opening Day roster out of spring training.

Workman’s time in Chicago did not go as planned, however, as the Texas native surrendered  nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits, seven walks, and 11 strikeouts over 10 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen before being designated for assignment a day later.

Ultimately released by the Cubs a day later, Workman’s second go-around on the free-agent market did not last nearly as long as the first.

The Red Sox had been interested in a reunion with the 6-foot-5 hurler over the winter, and they were eventually able to bring him back — albeit on a minor-league pact.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Workman “will join the WooSox in the near future.”

Cotillo also notes that if the the likes of Josh Taylor and Austin Brice continue to struggle out of the Red Sox bullpen, the Sox could look to Workman given the familiarity there.

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

Former Red Sox closer Brandon Workman designated for assignment by Cubs

Former Red Sox closer Brandon Workman has been designated for assignment by the Cubs, the club announced Thursday afternoon.

Workman, 32, initially signed a one-year, $1 million deal with Chicago back in February and had the opportunity to earn an additional $2 million in availabele incentives.

In the span of just 10 appearances out of the Cubs’ bullpen, the right-hander surrendered nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits, seven walks, and 11 strikeouts over eight innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 6.75 and an OPS against of .997.

Prior to signing with Chicago, Workman had spent the 2020 season with both the Red Sox and Phillies.

Opening the year with Boston, the former second-round pick posted a 4.05 ERA over seven outings and 6 2/3 innings pitched before being traded to the Phillies along with fellow reliever Heath Hembree in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold in late August.

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Workman’s struggles escalated as he yielded 11 runs (10 earned) in just 13 frames prior to hitting free agency in October.

The fact that Workman struggled as much as he did was somewhat baffling considering how dominant he was in his final full season with the Red Sox in 2019.

In 73 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen that year, the Texas native produced a miniscule 1.88 ERA while recording 16 saves to go along 104 strikeouts over 71 2/3 innings pitched.

In 31 appearances since, he has put up a 6.18 ERA and 5.69 FIP over 27 2/3 innings.

Considering that he enjoyed a great deal of success not too long ago, is not making much money this year, and is still just 32 years old, it should be interesting to see if any teams have any interest in Workman while he is up for grabs on waivers. The Cubs will have seven days to either trade, waive, or release the righty in the meantime.

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)