Is it time for the Red Sox to bring Falmouth native Steve Cishek home?

If the Red Sox are keen on adding bullpen help once the Major League Baseball lockout comes to an end, one reliever they could target is Massachusetts native Steve Cishek.

Cishek, 35, was born and raised in Falmouth, Mass. and grew up a fan of the Red Sox. He also makes hid off-season home on Cape Cod.

The experienced right-hander is a veteran of 12 big-league seasons between seven different teams, most recently spending the 2021 campaign with the Angels.

After originally signing a minor-league deal with the Astros in February, Cishek was cut loose by Houston in late March and quickly latched on with Los Angeles on a one-year major-league contract shortly before Opening Day.

Across 74 appearances for the Halos, Cishek posted a 3.42 ERA and 3.74 FIP to go along with 64 strikeouts to 41 walks over 68 1/3 innings of work. The Falmouth High School product was also exceptional when it came to limiting hard contact, as his 32.7% hard-hit rate against ranked in the top 10% of the league, per Baseball Savant.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Cishek is a sidearmer who works with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, and changeup. He held opponents to expected batting averages of .176 and .153 with his slider and four-seamer this past season.

While Cishek has yet to suit up for his hometown Red Sox to this point in time, there certainly have been plenty of connections between the two sides over the years.

In December 2019, The Athletic’s Peter Gammons reported that Cishek, then a free agent, “would like to sign with Boston,” but payroll issues prevented that from happening and he ultimately wound up inking a one-year pact with the White Sox.

In March 2021, after it was revealed that Cishek would be signing with the Angels, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo relayed that the Sox had been interested in the righty, but only on a minor-league deal.

Not only are Cishek’s ties to the Red Sox are local — they also go beyond that considering chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was a prominent member of the Rays’ front office when Tampa Bay acquired Cishek in a July 2017 trade with the Mariners.

With that being said, Cishek (who turns 36 in June) could provide Boston with a relatively inexpensive addition to the bullpen. He pitched primarily in the sixth through eighth innings of games while earning $1 million this year, but does come with plenty of closing experience as evidenced by his 132 career saves in the majors.

At present, the Sox have about nine relievers on their 40-man roster who come with at least some big-league experience under their belts. In adding a veteran like Cishek, Boston would gain additional relief depth. It’s as simple as that.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Is Tanner Houck’s future with the Red Sox as a starter or reliever?

Earlier this month, Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter identified Tanner Houck as a potential breakout candidate for 2022, citing that the Red Sox right-hander has “proven he has the stuff to miss bats at the MLB level” and it is now “just a matter of doing it over a full season” in Boston’s starting rotation.

After a stellar — albeit brief — three-start debut in 2020, Houck embarked upon his first full big-league season earlier this year. The 25-year-old made the Sox’ Opening Day starting rotation out of spring training and made his impact felt immediately by striking out eight while allowing just three runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk over five innings of work against the Orioles on April 3.

Houck was used out of the bullpen in a game against the Rays two days later and was then optioned to the Red Sox’ alternate training site. He was recalled from the alternate site to serve as the 27th man and start Game 1 of a doubleheader against the White Sox on April 18, but that would mark his last major-league outing for quite some time.

Upon getting sent back down to the alternate site, Houck was lined up to start the first game of the minor-league season for Triple-A Worcester against the Buffalo Bisons on May 4. He did just that, but wound up suffering a sore flexor muscle in his right arm that resulted in him getting shut down.

It took a little more than a month for Houck to return to the mound, and he ultimately found his way back to the Red Sox’ pitching staff on July 16. From that point forward, the 6-foot-5, 230 pound righty was used as a starter 11 times and as a reliever four times across five separate stints with Boston to close out the regular season.

All told, Houck posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.52 FIP to go along with 87 strikeouts to 21 walks over 18 appearances (13 starts) and 69 innings pitched in 2021. He also put up a 5.23 ERA (5.30 FIP) in 10 1/3 innings of relief in the postseason.

Houck’s first full season in the majors may have been a productive one, but it was also one that left us with some lingering questions. For starters, can Houck make it in the big-leagues as a starting pitcher?

This has been a prevalent topic since the Red Sox selected Houck with the 24th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft out of the University of Missouri, and it is one that remains relevant today.

In the 13 starts Houck made for Boston this past season, he averaged less than five full innings per start and only made it to the sixth inning on two occasions. The primary reason Houck was held back in his starts had to do with his struggles when facing the same lineup multiple times.

When going through a lineup for the first time as a starter in 2021, Houck pitched to the tune of an impressive 1.50 ERA and 2.04 ERA across 30 innings. When going through a lineup for a second time as a starter, he still produced a respectable 3.81 ERA and 2.09 FIP across 26 innings.

Once Houck faced the same lineup a third time through is where things started to get dicey, though. In a small sample size of 2 2/3 innings pitched, the young hurler got lit up for nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits, no walks, and two strikeouts. That’s good for an ERA of 27.00 as well as a FIP of 9.01 and OPS against of 1.489.

What led to the difficulties Houck encountered when going through a lineup multiple times? Well, the answer to that question may lay within Houck’s pitch usage.

Since debuting for Boston last September, Houck has very clearly favored his fastball and slider, but has also been working to incorporate a splitter as a third pitch that he first began throwing last year.

This past season alone, the Missouri native threw 443 four-seam fastballs, 426 sliders, 195 sinking fastballs, and 85 split-finger fastballs, per Baseball Savant. Of those offerings, Houck’s slider was undoubtedly his best pitch as he held opposing hitters to an expected batting average of .144 while producing a 42.4% whiff rate with it.

As far as the splitter is concerned, Houck relied on the pitch in 2021 (7.4%) more than he did in 2020 (3%) and yielded positive results with it by allowing just one hit in 19 attempts while inducing a swing-and-miss 36.8% of the time.

“It’s a pitch that I feel confident in, and I’ve grown very much with it, so I’m excited to see where it takes me in the future,” Houck said of his splitter when speaking with FanGraphs’ David Laurila back in September. “I’ve had success with it as of late, throwing it off my slider, my two-seam, and my four-seam. I’m continuing to develop it, so I imagine that the usage will go up over time.”

Despite the success Houck enjoyed with his splitter and other pitches this year, the question remains as to whether he can stick with the Red Sox as a rotation regular or is rather best suited for a bullpen role.

During last month’s GM meetings, Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was — as MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith wrote — noncommittal to Houck or fellow righty Garrett Whitlock as members of the team’s 2022 starting rotation.

“I would say possibilities,” Bloom said when asked about Houck and Whitlock starting in 2022. “I have said this before, I think the ceiling (is for them) to be really good major-league starters. There are steps on the way to establishing themselves as that. I think it’s great that they have that upside. They’ve done it. They’ve came up as starters. … It gives us options and flexibility heading into the winter. So we’ll see how it all shakes out. We certainly want to have more depth either way. I have no doubt that if that ends up being their role, they would be very capable. It just might not be the best alignment for our team.”

Since that time, the Red Sox have obviously been busy in free agency when it comes to stockpiling rotation depth. In the wake of Eduardo Rodriguez departing for the Tigers, Bloom and his staff have added veteran pitchers with starting experience such as Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and James Paxton leading up to Major League Baseball’s lockout taking effect in early December.

Once the lockout eventually ends and MLB’s transaction freeze is lifted, the Sox figure to be active in free agency and the trade market for starting pitchers yet again.

“I think the big thing for us is that we do know we want a number of capable arms, but it didn’t necessarily have to fall the way that it did,” Bloom recently said in regards to the additions of Wacha, Hill, and Paxton. “We love the guys we got, but we were in touch with the whole market. I think the key for us is to use our resources as best we can. We want to make sure we’re making what, in our mind, are good deals. Those can be small deals or they can be big deals.”

If the Red Sox were to sign another free-agent starter such as Carlos Rodon or deal for a controllable arm like Frankie Montas, that would only push Houck further down the club’s rotation depth chart.

Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Hill should be penciled in to be Alex Cora’s top four starters next spring. After that, it gets a bit murky since Paxton is coming off Tommy John surgery and Wacha may wind up in the bullpen.

With that, Houck will presumably have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Sox’ 2022 Opening Day starting rotation once spring training arrives in a few months. Whether he comes out on top in that competition has yet to be determined.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox re-sign right-handed reliever Michael Feliz to minor-league deal for 2022 season, per report

The Red Sox have re-signed right-handed reliever Michael Feliz to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Feliz, 28, spent the 2021 season with four different organizations. He began the year with the Pirates, was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Reds in May, was released by Cincinnati in late August, and signed a minors pact with Boston shortly thereafter.

After initially being assigned to Triple-A Worcester out of the gate, Feliz had his contract selected by the Red Sox on September 6 while the club was navigating its way through a COVID-19 outbreak.

In four relief appearances for Boston, the Dominican-born righty posted a 3.38 ERA and 6.73 FIP to go along with five strikeouts to one walk over 5 1/3 innings of work before being designated for assignment on Sept. 17.

Three days later, Feliz was claimed off waivers by the Athletics, but Oakland let him go after he made just one appearance with the club.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 250 pound hurler operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.8 mph this year, a slider that opponents only hit .182 off of this year, and a changeup.

Feliz, who does not turn 29 until next June, is represented by Rep 1 Baseball, the same agency that represents Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers.

The hard-throwing right-hander becomes the third minor-league signing the Red Sox have made in the last two days, joining the likes of outfielders Christin Stewart and Rob Refsnyder. Boston has brought back right-handers Caleb Simpson, Zack Kelly and Michael Gettys on minor-league deals for the 2022 campaign as well.

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

Red Sox ‘have expressed interest’ in free agent reliever Jeurys Familia, per report

The Red Sox have expressed interest in free agent reliever Jeurys Familia, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Familia, 32, became a free agent earlier this month after wrapping up a three-year, $30 million deal with the Mets he originally signed in December 2018.

First signed out of the Dominican Republic by New York as an international free agent in July 2007, Familia made his major-league debut in September 2012 and has since spent the vast majority of his 10-year career with the Mets.

Ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, the Mets dealt Familia to the Athletics, but quickly brought him back on that aforementioned three-year pact just a few months later.

This past season, the veteran right-hander posted a 3.94 ERA and 4.40 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to two walks over 65 relief appearances spanning 59 1/3 innings of work.

Per Baseball Savant, Familia operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, and split-finger fastball. His four-seamer, which averaged 97.2 mph this year, may just be his best pitch considering the fact that opposing hitters batted just .073 against it in 2021.

A one-time All-Star, Familia does have plenty of experience when it comes to closing out games, as he registered 43 saves for New York in 2015 and a major-league best 51 saves in 2016.

That said, the 6-foot-3, 240 pound righty has recorded a grand total of one save since re-joining the Mets behind Edwin Diaz in 2019, though he did hold opponents to a 3.83 ERA when pitching in the seventh inning or later this season.

As things stand currently, the Red Sox would benefit from making some additions to their bullpen that is at the moment without Adam Ottavino, Garrett Richards, and Hansel Robles — all of whom are free agents.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire veteran reliever Hansel Robles from Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Scherff

The Red Sox have acquired veteran reliever Hansel Robles and cash considerations from the Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Scherff, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Robles, who turns 31 on August 13, posted a 4.91 ERA and 4.82 FIP to go along with 43 strikeouts and 24 walks over 45 relief appearances spanning 44 innings of work for Minnesota this season.

The right-hander, formerly of the Mets and Angels, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Twins back in December and has converted 10 of a possible 12 save opportunities so far this year, though he has struggled to the tune of a 9.64 ERA in 10 outings (9 1/3 innings) in the month of July alone.

Per Baseball Savant, Robles operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, and sinker. He has averaged 96.7 mph with his four-seamder — his go-to pitch — in 2021, which ranks in the 91st percentile among all major-leaguers.

Since he is on a one-year deal, Robles is essentially a rental since he can become a free agent at the end of the season. In the meantime, the Dominican-born righty will join a Boston bullpen mix that includes the likes of Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Yacksel Rios, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Austin Davis (more on him later).

Scherff, meanwhile, becomes the second intriguing pitching prospect the Red Sox have had to part ways with along with Aldo Ramirez — who was sent to the Nationals in exchange for All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber late Thursday night.

Originally selected by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Colleyville Heritage High School (Colleyville, Texas), the 23-year-old began his pro career as a starter but has since been converted into a reliever.

After opening the 2021 campaign with High-A Greenville and posting a 2.78 ERA and 2.73 FIP over 17 appearances and 22 2/3 innings, Scherff earned a promotion to Double-A Portland on July 6.

In six outings spanning 6 2/3 innings pitched with the Sea Dogs, the young right-hander allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts.

At the time he was traded, Scherff was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 53 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is also eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so the Red Sox create some more roster flexibility in dealing him away since they were unlikely to protect him, or in other words, add him to their 40-man roster by November 20.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox manage just 5 hits in 9-1 defeat to Yankees, marking third straight series loss

For the third straight time dating back to before the All-Star break, the Red Sox won the first game of a series and followed by dropping the next two contests, as they fell to the Yankees by a final score of 9-1 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.

After starting the season with seven wins in seven tries against their division rivals, the Sox have lost their last two to the Bronx Bombers and a scored a total of two runs in those defeats.

Martin Perez made his 19th start of the season for Boston on Sunday, and he ran into some early trouble shortly after tossing a 1-2-3 first inning.

That being the case because Gleyber Torres greeted the veteran left-hander by crushing a leadoff home run off him to begin things in the bottom of the second before back-to-back one-out singles in the third resulted in another New York run crossing the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees added on to their lead in the fifth, which turned out be an inning in which Perez failed to record an out in, as he yielded two straight singles to Rougned Odor and Ryan LaMarre that put runners at second and third with no outs on account of a throwing error from right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled Perez in favor of right-hander Garrett Whitlock, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a Greg Allen sacrifice fly before getting out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 62 (41 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler ended up surrendering three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park on Saturday.

The Red Sox lineup, which had struggled mightily throughout the night against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, had a golden opportunity to get on the board in their half of the sixth, with one out and runners in scoring position following a hard-hit double from Xander Bogaerts.

That double knocked Taillon out of this contest, and the Yankees brought in Chad Green to face off against Rafael Devers in a prime run-scoring spot, but the slugging third baseman struck out on a controversial check-swing call, while Hunter Renfroe grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Whitlock, after recording the final out of the fifth, came back out for the sixth and proceeded to sit down the final three hitters he faced in order to keep his side within the three runs they trailed by.

From there, however, the Red Sox bullpen let this one get away from them, as Darwinzon Hernanez entered in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before serving up a two-run blast to Rougned Odor to put Boston in a 5-0 hole.

The left-hander then walked LaMarre and Allen back-to-back, prompting Brandon Workman to take over for him to only issue three consecutive free passes — two of which came with the bases loaded — with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, allowing New York to jump out to a 7-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the eighth, after plating their only run of the evening on a Renfroe RBI single in the top half of the frame, the Red Sox fell victim to more walk issues, as Yacksel Rios walked the first batter who came to the plate against him in Odor before giving up a two-run homer to LaMarre, who spent part of the 2016 season in the Boston outfield.

That put the Yankees up by a commanding eight runs at 9-1, which would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 56-38 on the season as they have now dropped six of their last eight games despite clinging on to a half-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Arroyo suffers hamstring injury

Christian Arroyo was originally starting Sunday’s contest at first base for the first time in his professional career, but his debut at the position did not go according to plan.

The 26-year-old suffered a left hamstring strain after attempting to stretch out for a ball in order to complete a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the third inning.

After doing a split and rising to his feet, Arroyo was in visible discomfort and had to exit immediately. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base and seems likely to land on the injured list.

Next up: Blue Jays in Buffalo

The Red Sox will make the trek from the Bronx to Buffalo to take on a surging Blue Jays club in the first of a three-game series at Sahlen Field on Monday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Ross Stripling is lined up to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester

Before making up their series finale against the Marlins at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox outrighted right-hander Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Brewer, 28, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last Thursday so that the club could make room on its 40-man roster for Brandon Workman.

In one lone appearance out of the Boston bullpen this season, Brewer yielded four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits, three walks, and one strikeout in one inning of relief against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31.

Originally acquired in a November 2018 trade with the Padres, the righty has posted a 4.98 ERA, a 5.20 FIP, and a 78:51 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 70 total appearances (four starts) in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers and was not traded, Brewer will report back to Worcester, where he put up a 9.00 ERA in four outings (four innings pitched) in two separate stints with the affiliate.

With the WooSox, Brewer rejoins a bullpen mix that includes plenty of other relievers with big-league experience, such as Marcus Walden, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Brandon Brennan, Matt Hall, Bobby Poyner, and Austin Brice.

Among those relievers, Brennan is the only name listed above currently on Boston’s 40-man roster. Eduard Bazardo, who has made two appearances with the Red Sox this season, is also on the 40-man, but he has been on the injured list since May 24 due to a lat strain.

(Picture of Colten Brewer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/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)