César Puello opts out of minor-league deal with Red Sox, signs minors pact with Mets

The Red Sox have lost some upper-level minor-league outfield depth, as outfielder Cesar Puello signed a minor-league contract with the Mets on Saturday, according to Newsday’s Tim Healey.

Puello, 30, triggered the June 1 opt-out clause in his minor-league deal with the Red Sox earlier this week and was subsequently granted his release on Thursday.

The right-handed hitter struggled in his first season with Triple-A Worcester, slashing .158/.370/.184 (78 wRC+) to go along with one double, no home runs, seven RBI, six runs scored, eight walks, eight strikeouts, and six stolen bases over 15 games and 54 plate appearances.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison, Puello was also having trouble getting consistent playing time with the WooSox. Releasing him also allowed the Red Sox to promote fellow outfielder Johan Mieses from Double-A Portland to Worcester.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Puello originally inked a minor-league pact with Boston in February 2020. The 6-foot-2, 217 pounder appeared in five games for the club last September after spending the majority of the summer at the alternate training site. He was later designated and outrighted by the Sox in October before re-upping on another minors deal in December.

Before joining the Red Sox, Puello spent parts of two big-league seasons (2017, 2019) with the Angels, Rays, and Marlins.

Puello originally signed with the Mets as an international free agent out of the Dominican back in 2007 and spent the first nine years of his professional career with the organization he is now returning to. He will report to Triple-A Syracuse.

(Picture of Cesar Puello: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox taxi squad: Michael Chavis among 5 players traveling with team for first road trip of season

As the Red Sox prepare to begin their first road trip of the season, the club will be carrying five additional players with them as part of their taxi squad.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the five players that comprise Boston’s first taxi squad of the year are catcher Chris Herrmann, infielder Michael Chavis, outfielder Cesar Puello, and right-handers Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber.

These players, as Cotillo notes, “would be the first ones activated if someone on the 26-man active roster” gets hurt.

Per Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, clubs are allowed to carry up to five taxi squad players for each road trip this season. One of these players must be a catcher, which is where Herrmann comes in.

Additionally, players on a club’s taxi squad are allowed to work out with the major-league team before games, but are not allowed to be in uniform or in the dugout during games.

When the Red Sox return to Boston after completing their seven-game road trip against the Orioles and Twins next Thursday, the likes of Herrmann, Chavis, Puello, Brewer, and Weber will all return to the team’s alternate training site in Worcester, which is where they were to begin the year.

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

Red Sox invite nine minor-leaguers to major-league spring training

In case you missed it, the Red Sox added nine non-roster invitees to their spring training roster on Tuesday afternoon. Those nine players?

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson

Besides McCarthy, all players listed here spent the 2020 season with the Red Sox organization in some capacity.

The likes of Pereda, Ockimey, Puello, Gonsalves, Blair, and Simpson spent time at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, while the likes of Baldwin and Espinal did not.

Puello was the only one who saw major-league time with the Sox last year, as the 29-year-old appeared in five games for Boston in September and went 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate with one run scored while also recording a pair of outfield assists in limited action.

McCarthy, meanwhile, yielded three earned runs over five appearances and six innings of work for the Royals this past season, his fifth in the majors. The 28-year-old inked a minor-league pact with Boston last month after being outrighted from Kansas City’s 40-man roster in October.

Another pitcher listed here with big-league experience is Gonsalves, a former top prospect of the Twins organization. The former fourth-round draft pick appeared in seven contests (four starts) for Minnesota in 2018, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.71 FIP over 24 2/3 innings pitched.

Still just 26 years old, Gonsalves was claimed off waivers by the Mets last fall before again being claimed off waivers by the Sox over the summer.

Some within the organization still believe the left-hander has plenty of upside, which was made evident by his impressive performance at the alternate site as well as the club re-signing him to a minor-league deal in November.

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

With the additions of these nine players, the Red Sox currently have 49 players on their 2021 spring training roster as February draws closer. That number of players is likely to change between now and then, though, since chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. still have plenty of time for roster shuffling if they so choose.

Red Sox re-sign outfielder César Puello to minor-league contract, per report

The Red Sox have re-signed outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. It’s likely this contract includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Puello, 29, appeared in five games — two in left field, three in right — for Boston this past season after initially inking a minor-league pact with the club in February. He previously spent time with the Angels, Rays, and Marlins after making his big-league debut with Los Angeles in 2017.

In those five contests in 2020, the Dominican national went 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate with one run scored, two walks drawn, and two strikeouts from September 19 through September 27. He was outrighted from Boston’s 40-man roster on October 28

Prior to having his contract purchased in late September, Puello was added to the Sox’ 60-man player pool in late June and took part in workouts at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket throughout the summer.

Now that he is back with the organization, Puello will once again look to provide valuable outfield depth for a club in need of it at the moment. Expect him to start the 2021 minor-league campaign with Triple-A Worcester.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league contracts (h/t SoxProspects.com):

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson

Red Sox 40-Man Roster Crunch: Jose Peraza, Cesar Puello, and Dylan Covey All Outrighted Wednesday

With the offseason now officially underway following Tuesday’s conclusion of the World Series, the Red Sox are moving full steam ahead in terms of trimming down their 40-man roster.

On Monday, the club announced that five players, including Tzu-Wei Lin and Zack Godley, had been outrighted off the 40-man. On Wednesday, the club announced another three players have been outrighted. Those three players? Right-handed pitcher Dylan Covey, outfielder Cesar Puello, and infielder Jose Peraza.

Covey has been outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, or Worcester, while Puello and Peraza have elected free agency.

All three players outrighted Wednesday had joined the Red Sox in some capacity within the past 12 months, with Peraza signing on as a major-league free agent last December, Puello signing on as a minor-league free agent in February, and Covey coming over in a trade with the Rays in July.

Between the three of them, Peraza saw the most time at the major-league level in 2020, though the 26-year-old’s season essentially came to a premature close when he was optioned to the alternate training site on September 9. That demotion came after he had slashed a dismal .225/.275/.342 with one home run and eight RBI through his first 34 games with Boston.

Puello, meanwhile, had his contract selected by the Sox on September 19 and was subsequently added to the 40-man roster. In just five games with his new club, the former Marlins outfielder went 3-for-8 at the plate while seeing time at both corner outfield positions.

As for the only pitcher involved in this set of moves, Covey actually had somewhat of an interesting season with the Sox.

On the surface, the 29-year-old’s ERA of 7.07 and OPS against of .799 over eight appearances and 14 innings pitched does not exactly jump out at you, but upon closer inspection, Covey posted a 3.91 FIP and 3.84 xFIP. That would suggest that the California native ran into some tough luck over the course of his inaugural season in Boston.

With that being said, the Red Sox could very well be glad they were able to retain Covey’s services going into next year depending on what their outlook on him consists of.

Following Wednesday’s transactions, as well as Jackie Bradley Jr. expectedly becoming a free agent, the Sox’ 40-man roster currently stands at 31 players. That number could drop down to 30 in the next few days if chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. decide not to pick up left-hander’s Martin Perez’s $6.5 million team option for 2021. We will have to wait and see on that.

Red Sox Sign Outfielder César Puello to Minor-League Deal, Invite Him to Major League Spring Training

As pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday, the Red Sox have made another roster addition, signing outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to big league camp.

Puello, who turns 29 at the beginning of April, had spent the 2019 season between the Angels and Marlins, slashing .248/.356/.384 with four home runs and 18 RBI over 44 total games between the two clubs.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 2007, the Red Sox will be the ninth organization Puello has spent time with.

Despite only playing in 44 games last year, Puello was worth 1.0 fWAR thanks to some exceptional defense in the Angels and Marlins outfield, per FanGraphs. He logged time at all three outfield positions as well.

Puello will earn $625,000 if he makes it to the majors this year, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

With this signing, as well as the other non-roster invitees mentioned in the tweet above, the Red Sox now have 65 players attending major-league spring training this year. That number will have to be trimmed down to 26 by the time March 26th comes around.