Should the Red Sox consider trading Austin Davis?

Seven games into the 2022 season, the two Red Sox relievers who are tied for the team lead in appearances with four apiece are Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis.

Both Brasier and Davis were used by manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen in Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park. The former struck out the side in a scoreless seventh inning. The latter allowed two runners to reach base but also fanned three in a scoreless eighth inning.

In Davis’ case, the left-hander has now yielded three earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over his first three innings pitched this year.

Put another way, Davis has posted a 9.00 ERA, a 2.33 WHIP, an OPS against of .945, a strikeout rate of 29.4%, and a walk rate of 11.7% so far this season. Two of his four outings have been scoreless, though Friday’s performance was undoubtedly his best work to this point.

Of the 21 pitches Davis threw in Friday’s loss to Minnesota, 13 went for strikes. The 29-year-old southpaw induced a total of seven swings-and-misses; three on his slider and changeup and one on his four-seam fastball.

In regards to his four-seamer, Davis averaged 93.6 mph with the pitch across 26 1/3 innings between the Pirates and Red Sox in 2021. On Friday, he averaged 95.6 mph with his heater and topped out at 97 mph with it, per Baseball Savant. For his big-league career, which dates back to June 2018, Davis had only thrown a pitch 97 mph or faster on two separate occasions prior to Friday’s outing.

Since the Red Sox acquired Davis from the Pirates for infielder Michael Chavis last July, the lefty has been one of Cora’s more frequently-used relievers. From the time he debuted for Boston on July 31 of last season, Davis has now made 24 relief appearances for the Sox. The only other hurlers who have seen more action over that stretch are Adam Ottavino (24 appearances), who is no longer with the team, and Hansel Robles (30 appearances).

Despite a career ERA of 5.49 in a Red Sox uniform, it would appear as though the club likes what they have in Davis. With that being said, though, it is worth wondering if Davis’ spot in Boston’s bullpen could be on the line sometime in the near future.

As a result of a shortened spring training, major-league teams were permitted to carry 28 players on their active roster. This, for instance, allowed the Red Sox to carry 10 relievers on their Opening Day squad.

On May 2, however, teams will be required to trim their rosters back down to the traditional size of 26 active players. When that time comes, the Sox will have no other choice but to carry no more than 13 pitchers on their active roster.

The way things stand now, Davis is one of three lefties in Boston’s bullpen alongside the likes of Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm. Josh Taylor, who began the season on the injured list due to a low back strain, could be nearing a minor-league rehab assignment.

With Diekman and Strahm being new free-agent additions and Taylor already earning the trust of Cora last season, would the Red Sox still entertain the idea of carrying four left-handed relievers on their 26-man roster beginning next month?

If Davis is deemed the odd man out once rosters shrink and Taylor returns from the injured list, the Red Sox could not simply option him to Triple-A Worcester, for the Arizona native is out of minor-league options. Because of this, Boston would need to expose Davis to waivers if they wanted to retain his services as a non-40-man roster player in the minors.

Taking that into account and assuming that Taylor will be back before long, what would be stopping the Red Sox from trading Davis away for a prospect who is not on a 40-man roster at some point between now and May 2? Why risk losing Davis for nothing when you could get something back in return?

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox have made similar moves in the past, with the Yoan Aybar-for-Christian Koss swap probably sticking out the most. Davis, of course, is far more established than Aybar and could fetch an intriguing return since he is still under club control for three more seasons after 2022.

At the end of the day, do the Red Sox need to trade Davis? No. Even with Taylor on his way back, perhaps the club still believes Davis can play an important role out of the bullpen this season. If not, though, then perhaps it would be in Boston’s best interest to explore their options now before running into a roster crunch in a few weeks.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers remain ‘very far off’ in contract extension talks, per report

The Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers apparently remain far apart in contract extension talks as Opening Day nears.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Hector Gomez of Z Deportes, a Dominican-based news outlet, tweeted that the Red Sox made Devers an extension offer but Devers rejected it” because it was lower than he is willing to consider.”

Shortly thereafter, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo confirmed Gomez’s report, writing that the Sox recently made an extension offer to Devers, but the two sides are currently “very far off in negotiations.”

This news comes two days after Devers told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that although he and his camp have discussed a long-term deal with the Sox this spring, he did not expect an agreement to come together before Opening Day.

“We had a conversation with the team,” Devers said to Speier (through translator Carlos Villoria-Benítez). “We didn’t get to anything. But I still have one more year. I have this one and the next year. And I’m ready to play with Boston, with the Red Sox. We’re not going to talk about it [more] this spring. Let’s see how this season goes.”

Devers is set to earn $11.2 million in 2022 after agreeing to a one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration last month. The 25-year-old All-Star remains under club control for two more years and is eligible to become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

A client of Rep 1 Baseball, the left-handed hitting Devers just put the finishing touches on an impressive spring in which he clubbed six home runs, collected 12 RBIs, and posted a 1.512 OPS over 12 games (32 plate appearances) in the Grapefruit League.

It would seem as though Devers is on the verge of another productive year at the plate, as Gomez also reports that the Silver Slugger Award winner has shifted his focus to the 2022 season as he looks “to further increase his market value.”

Along those same lines, Cotillo writes that Devers and the Red Sox are unlikely to engage further in extension talks prior to Opening Day on Friday, noting that the former does not want to “talk about a long-term deal once the regular season begins.”

Considering that Devers is not eligible for free agency for another two seasons, there is obviously still plenty of time for the Red Sox to get a deal done. As noted by Cotillo, these recent developments may suggest that Boston is indeed serious about locking up Devers long-term.

Although the two sides may be far apart in negotiations at the moment, Sox officials — including chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom — have made it very clear that they would like players such as Devers and Xander Bogaerts (who can opt out of his deal and become a free agent this winter) to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo joins the show to preview the 2022 season

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by MassLive.com’s Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo to preview the 2022 season.

Chris and I discuss the key moves Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox made this off-season, including the acquisitions of Trevor Story, Jake Diekman, and Matt Strahm via free agency. We also delve into how the Sox’ starting rotation is stacked up to begin the season with Chris Sale on the 60-day injured list due to a broken rib.

Other topics covered include Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts contract extension talks, the makeup of the bullpen with Matt Barnes as the likely closer, the state of Boston’s 40-man roster, injured players (like Sale, James Paxton, and Josh Taylor) who could make an impact when healthy, prospects and other players who could make their Red Sox debuts this year, the importance of Alex Cora, the toughness of the American League East, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

My thanks to Chris for once again taking some time out of his busy schedule to have a fun conversation with yours truly. You can follow Chris on Twitter (@ChrisCotillo) by clicking here and read his work for MassLive.com by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Trevor Story: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Latest Baseball America mock draft has Red Sox selecting prep infielder Cole Young with top pick

In their latest 2022 mock draft, Baseball America has the Red Sox selecting North Allegheny Senior High School shortstop Cole Young with their first-round (24th overall) pick.

Young, 18, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 draft-eligible prospect, ranking ninth among high schoolers in this year’s class. At present, the Pennsylvania native is committed to play college baseball at Duke University.

Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Young is in the midst of his senior season with North Allegheny, which only just began on Wednesday. Last year, the left-handed hitting infielder batted .437/.594/.859 with four doubles, four triples, six home runs, 23 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 19 stolen bases, 25 walks, and five strikeouts over 27 games (101 plate appearances) for the Tigers.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Young “separated himself over the summer as the best shortstop in the 2022 prep class and perhaps the best pure hitter not named Termarr Johnson. … Young does most things on the field well, headlined by a sound offensive approach and a clean, flat bat path that he uses to spray the ball all over the field. He handles 90-plus mph velocity well and he has a solid understanding of the strike zone, tracking the ball well and keeping his barrel in the hitting zone for a long time.”

Defensively, Young “has a chance to stick at shortstop, where he’s a capable and fluid defender, if not an explosive one. He plays low to the ground, has a solid first step—and above-average speed underway—with above-average arm strength and good instincts.”

As for why he has the Red Sox taking Young off the board with the 24th overall selection, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo writes that Young “would represent solid value” for Boston since he is a pure hitter who possesses sound tools all the way around.

MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, has Young ranked as their No. 14 draft-eligible prospect. They note that Young “is the kind of player who needs to be seen more than once to be truly appreciated, as his feel for the game is greater than any jump off the page tools.”

Since he plays the infield and hits from the left side of the plate, Young — who turns 19 in July — has drawn comparisons to former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew and current Mariners second baseman Adam Frazier.

The Red Sox, in recent years, have not shied away from taking high school infielders early in the draft. Since Chaim Bloom took over as chief baseball officer in October 2019, Boston has selected Marcelo Mayer (2021, fourth overall) and Nick Yorke (2020, 17th overall) with their last two first-round picks.

(Picture of Cole Young: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox claim Ralph Garza off waivers from Twins, designate Kyle Tyler for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Ralph Garza off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, the club announced on Thursday afternoon. In order to make room for Garza on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Kyle Tyler was designated for assignment.

Garza, who turns 28 next month, had been designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday so that Minnesota could accommodate the addition of star free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa.

The 27-year-old was originally selected by the Astros in the 26th round of the 2015 amateur draft out of the University of Houston and broke in with Houston just last year.

Just nine outings into his Astros career, though, Garza was designated for assignment on August 1 and was subsequently scooped up by the Twins three days later.

After spending a little more than a week with Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate, Garza was recalled by the big-league club on Aug. 14. He closed out the year with the Twins by posting a 3.26 ERA and 4.88 FIP to go along with 15 strikeouts to seven walks over 18 relief appearances spanning 19 1/3 innings of work.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Garza — a Texas native — operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a slider, sinker, four-seam fastball, cutter, changeup, curveball. His slider was his most-used pitch last year (31.1%) and opponents hit just .118 off it, per Baseball Savant.

Boston has already optioned Garza to Triple-A Worcester, so he should provide the Sox with some additional bullpen depth who has minor-league options remaining.

Tyler, on the other hand, loses his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster just two days after getting claimed off waivers from the Angels earlier this week. The 25-year debuted with Los Angeles last season and yielded a 2.92 ERA (5.20 FIP) in five appearances out of the Halos’ bullpen.

The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Tyler. It’s certainly possible that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are optimistic they can sneak the Oklahoman through waivers and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Ralph Garza: David Berding/Getty Images)

Ranking the top 33 prospects in the Red Sox farm system

Using information from four different publications (Baseball America, FanGraphs, MLB Pipeline, and SoxProspects.com), BloggingtheRedSox.com has ranked the top 33 prospects in the Red Sox farm system heading into the 2022 season.

To nobody’s surprise, this group is headlined by the infield trio of Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke. This is certainly interesting when you consider the fact that Mayer (2021), Yorke (2020), and Casas (2018) were the last three players the Red Sox selected in the first round of the amateur draft.

Mayer is regarded by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as Boston’s top overall prospect, while FanGraphs and SoxProspects have him at No. 2. Casas, on the other hand, is ranked No. 1 by FanGraphs and SoxProspects but No. 2 by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Yorke is ranked No. 3 by all four.

This is how the order was determined. For instance, the average of Casas’ four rankings and Mayer’s four rankings comes out to 1.5 [(1+1+2+2)/4)]. The tiebreaker went to Mayer since he is younger then Casas. From there, Yorke and 30 additional Red Sox prospects were ranked, with left-hander Jeremy Wu-Yelland rounding things out at No. 33.

With that, here is the full list of 33 beginning with Mayer and ending with Wu-Yelland. Let’s get to it.

1. Marcelo Mayer, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 1
FanGraphs organizational rank: 2
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 1
SoxProspects organizational rank: 2

Average: 1.5

2. Triston Casas, 1B

Baseball America organizational rank: 2
FanGraphs organizational rank: 1
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 2
SoxProspects organizational rank: 1

Average: 1.5

3. Nick Yorke, 2B

Baseball America organizational rank: 3
FanGraphs organizational rank: 3
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 3
SoxProspects organizational rank: 3

Average: 3

4. Jarren Duran, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 4
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 4
SoxProspects organizational rank: 4

Average: 4

5. Brayan Bello, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 5
FanGraphs organizational rank: 8
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 5
SoxProspects organizational rank: 6

Average: 6

6. Jeter Downs, 2B

Baseball America organizational rank: 6
FanGraphs organizational rank: 11
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 6
SoxProspects organizational rank: 5

Average: 7

7. Blaze Jordan, 3B

Baseball America organizational rank: 7
FanGraphs organizational rank: 16
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 7
SoxProspects organizational rank: 7

Average: 9.25

8. Bryan Mata, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 8
FanGraphs organizational rank: 12
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 8
SoxProspects organizational rank: 10

Average: 9.5

9. Wilkelman Gonzalez, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 13
FanGraphs organizational rank: 4
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 10
SoxProspects organizational rank: 12

Average: 9.75

10. Jay Groome, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 10
FanGraphs organizational rank: 13
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 12
SoxProspects organizational rank: 8

Average: 10.75

11. Brandon Walter, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 11
FanGraphs organizational rank: 10
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 9
SoxProspects organizational rank: 17

Average: 11.75

12. Connor Seabold, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 21
FanGraphs organizational rank: 7
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 15
SoxProspects organizational rank: 11

Average: 13.5

13. Gilberto Jimenez, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 23
FanGraphs organizational rank: 5
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 18
SoxProspects organizational rank: 9

Average: 13.75

14. Miguel Bleis, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 20
FanGraphs organizational rank: 6
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 17
SoxProspects organizational rank: 15

Average: 14.5

15. Josh Winckowski, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 9
FanGraphs organizational rank: 27
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 14
SoxProspects organizational rank: 13

Average: 15.75

16. Tyler McDonough, 2B/OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 16
FanGraphs organizational rank: 14
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 19
SoxProspects organizational rank: 21

Average: 17.5

17. Thaddeus Ward, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 19
FanGraphs organizational rank: 18
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 16
SoxProspects organizational rank: 20

Average: 18.25

Ward underwent Tommy John surgery last June and will not be ready for the start of the 2022 season. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

18. Alex Binelas, 3B

Baseball America organizational rank: 17
FanGraphs organizational rank: 17
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 22
SoxProspects organizational rank: 18

Average: 18.5

19. Chris Murphy, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 12
FanGraphs organizational rank: 38
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 11
SoxProspects organizational rank: 14

Average: 18.75

20. Brainer Bonaci, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 18
FanGraphs organizational rank: 20
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 21
SoxProspects organizational rank: 22

Average: 20.25

21. Ronaldo Hernandez, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 27
FanGraphs organizational rank: 9
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 24
SoxProspects organizational rank: 23

Average: 20.75

22. Matthew Lugo, SS

Baseball America organizational rank: 14
FanGraphs organizational rank: 31
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 13
SoxProspects organizational rank: 28

Average: 21.5

23. Kutter Crawford, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 15
FanGraphs organizational rank: 21
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 25
SoxProspects organizational rank: 27

Average: 22

24. David Hamilton, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 25
FanGraphs organizational rank: 15
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 26

Average: 22

25. Connor Wong, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 29
FanGraphs organizational rank: 23
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 16

Average: 22.67

26. Noah Song, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 30
FanGraphs organizational rank: 19
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 19

Average: 22.67

27. Ceddanne Rafaela, IF/OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 22
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 28
SoxProspects organizational rank: 24

Average: 24.67

28. Nathan Hickey, C

Baseball America organizational rank: 24
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 23
SoxProspects organizational rank: 29

Average: 25.33

29. Eddinson Paulino, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 28
FanGraphs organizational rank: 34
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 20
SoxProspects organizational rank: 25

Average: 26.75

30. Christian Koss, INF

Baseball America organizational rank: 26
FanGraphs organizational rank: Not Ranked
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 27
SoxProspects organizational rank: 31

Average: 28

31. Nick Decker, OF

Baseball America organizational rank: 39
FanGraphs organizational rank: 29
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 29
SoxProspects organizational rank: 30

Average: 31.75

32. Chih-Jung Liu, RHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 32
FanGraphs organizational rank: 30
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: 30
SoxProspects organizational rank: 39

Average: 32.75

33. Jeremy Wu-Yelland, LHP

Baseball America organizational rank: 31
FanGraphs organizational rank: 41
MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked
SoxProspects organizational rank: 35

Average: 35.67

Other prospects who missed the cut but are still worth monitoring this season include pitchers Eduard Bazardo, Durbin Feltman, Luis Perales, and Jacob Wallace as well as position players like Cameron Cannon, Tyler Dearden, Ryan Fitzgerald, Niko Kavadas, Enderso Lira, and Stephen Scott, among others.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim right-hander Kyle Tyler off waivers from Angels, designate infielder Hudson Potts for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels, the club announced on Tuesday. In order to make room for Tyler on the 40-man roster, infielder Hudson Potts was designated for assignment.

Tyler, 25, made his major-league debut with Los Angeles last September after originally being selected by the Halos in the 20th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma native posted a 2.92 ERA and 5.20 FIP to go along with six strikeouts and six walks over five appearances (12 1/3 innings pitched) out of the Halos’ bullpen.

Before getting called up for the final few weeks of the 2021 campaign, Tyler had spent the entirety of the year between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, producing a 3.66 ERA and 3.69 FIP with 92 strikeouts and 25 walks across 20 outings (14 starts) spanning 86 total innings of work.

At the midway point of the 2021 season, Tyler was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 28 prospect in the Angels’ farm system. The 6-foot, 185 pound hurler operates with a four-pitch mix that includes a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup, per Baseball Savant.

Boston was able to claim Tyler off waivers when he was designated for assignment by Los Angeles this past Saturday so that they could accommodate the addition of free-agent reliever Ryan Tepera.

Tyler, who does not turn 26 until December, has minor-league options remaining and has already been assigned to Triple-A Worcester. He should be joining the Red Sox at major-league camp soon and has the chance to provide his new club with versatile pitching depth as both a starter and reliever.

Potts, meanwhile, was one of two prospects (the other being outfielder Jeisson Rosario) the Red Sox acquired from the Padres in the trade that sent veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to San Diego in August 2020.

After being added to Boston’s 40-man roster that November, Potts missed the first month of the 2021 minor-league season due to an oblique injury. As a result, the right-handed hitting 23-year-old was limited to just 78 games with Double-A Portland and struggled to the tune of a .217/.264/.399 slash line with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs over 307 plate appearances.

A former first-round pick of the Padres in 2016, Potts entered the 2022 season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 53 prospect in the system. By taking him off their 40-man roster, the Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, waive, or release Potts.

If Potts goes unclaimed and clears waivers, he would remain with Boston as a non-40-man roster player. Since the Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity, they will need to clear another spot before making the signing of Trevor Story official.

(Picture of Kyle Tyler: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to six-year, $140 million deal with Trevor Story, per report

It is Story time in Boston. The Red Sox have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal with free-agent infielder Trevor Story, as was first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, it’s a six-year contract worth at least $140 million. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds that Story has the ability to opt out of the deal after the fourth year, but the Red Sox can negate that by picking up a seventh-year option for $20 million. That would take the total value of the deal up to $160 million over seven years.

Story, 29, is expected to become the Sox’ everyday second baseman despite appearing exclusively as a shortstop in his six seasons with the Rockies. Xander Bogaerts, who can opt out of his contract after the 2022 season, will remain at shortstop for Boston.

In agreeing to such a deal with Story, the Red Sox have finally made a big splash in free agency this off-season. Since Chaim Bloom took over as Boston’s chief baseball officer in October 2019, the largest contract the Sox had given out was to Enrique Hernandez, who inked a two-year, $14 million deal with the club last winter.

Story’s deal will surpass Hernandez’s by at least 900%, if not more. He will also be under contract through the end of the 2025 season at the very earliest and through the end of the 2028 season at the latest.

A former first-round (45th overall) draft selection of the Rockies out of Irving High School in 2011, Story broke in with Colorado in 2016 and immediately established himself as a power threat from the right side of the plate by hitting 27 home runs his rookie season.

From the time he made his big-league debut in 2016, Story has hit a total of 158 home runs over 745 games in the process of being recognized as a two-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner who has finished in the top-12 of National League MVP voting on three separate occasions.

Most recently, the right-handed hitter slashed .251/.329/.471 with 34 doubles, five triples, 24 home runs, 75 RBIs, 88 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 53 walks, and 139 strikeouts across 142 games (595 plate appearances) with the Rockies in 2021.

Colorado extended Story a qualifying offer in November, which the Excel Sports Management rejected to remain a free-agent. This means that the Red Sox now have to surrender their second-highest pick in this year’s draft while also having their international signing bonus pool reduced by $500,000.

In addition to the qualifying offer, the Rockies apparently offered Story more than the $140 million he received from the Red Sox, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Story, though, chose Boston over Colorado for competitive reasons.

On that note, Story coming to Boston changes the team’s positional outlook drastically. Although all 6,304 2/3 defensive innings in the majors have come at shortstop, Story — as previously mentioned — will see the lion’s share of his playing time with the Red Sox come at second base.

With Story at second base, Christian Arroyo will likely shift into a utility role and may even see time in the outfield. Hernandez, on the other hand, will presumably see the majority of his defensive reps come in center field, as was the case last year.

Bogaerts, of course, has the ability to become a free-agent next winter if he chooses to opt out of the final three years of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed with Boston in April 2019. If Bogaerts elects to go that route and winds up with another team, the Red Sox would have a viable replacement at shortstop in the form of Story for 2023 and beyond.

Story, who does not turn 30 until November, is set to earn an average annual value of $23.33 million with the Sox — making him the highest-paid position player on the team and the second-highest player overall behind only left-hander Chris Sale ($25.6 million).

The Red Sox have yet to make the signing of Story official. Their 40-man roster is currently at full capacity, so they will need to create an opening there before doing so.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Red Sox hire Charlie Madden as bullpen catcher

The Red Sox have hired Charlie Madden as a bullpen catcher, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham. The move comes after Madden was officially released by the club on Wednesday.

Madden, 26, was originally selected by Boston in the 24th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Mercer University. The Georgia native was a lifetime .220/.291/.344 hitter in the minors before the 2020 season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following spring, Madden was in minor-league camp with the Red Sox and was expected to begin the 2021 season with Triple-A Worcester. Although he was assigned to the WooSox’ roster, the right-handed hitting backstop actually joined the big-league club in May.

At that time, Madden was told by director of player development Brian Abraham that he would be used as a taxi squad catcher. It was initially unclear how long Madden’s stint as a catcher on the taxi squad would last, but he remained with the team for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the postseason.

“The reason Charlie is here is because our staff knew he had all those qualities,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) back in October. “And when you’re looking for someone to do this job, you want someone wired like Charlie; with a head on his shoulders like Charlie has. He’s been great as a part of this group. All the credit … to our people who knew him and identified him as a good candidate for this.”

Becoming Boston’s taxi squad catcher allowed Madden to work closely with the team’s coaching staff and pitchers, including fellow 2017 draftee Tanner Houck, who credits Madden for his ability to ‘break down analytics and present it in a simple, understandable way.’

“He understands all of the analytical side but then he can sit there and talk about it in a baseball format and not just say, ‘Oh, well, the numbers are saying this,’” Houck explained to Smith last fall. “He can say, ‘From a hitter’s perspective I would probably see this.’ Or ‘In this situation, I’d probably be sitting (on this pitch) if I was facing you.’”

With Madden joining Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff for the 2022 season as a bullpen catcher, he will be sharing those responsibilities with Mani Martinez.

An opening for a second bullpen catcher came about when Mike Brenly, who served in the role from 2016 through 2021, was promoted to major-league staff assistant in December.

(Picture of Charlie Madden: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox make signing of Jake Diekman official, place James Paxton on 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have officially signed left-hander Jake Diekman to a two-year deal that also includes a team option for 2024, the club announced on Wednesday. In a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster, fellow southpaw James Paxton was unsurprisingly placed on the 60-day injured list as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery

Diekman, 35, first agreed to a multi-year contract with the Sox over the weekend and was spotted at the Fenway South Complex with Matt Strahm on Monday. He then passed his physical on Wednesday, leading to his signing becoming official.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Diekman’s deal includes $8 million in guaranteed money. He will earn a base salary of $3.5 million over the next two seasons with the chance to earn an additional $4 million in 2023. If the Red Sox decline his club option, Diekman will net $1 million in the form of a buyout.

A former 30th-round draft choice of the Phillies out of Cloud County Community College in 2007, Diekman has pitched for five different teams over the course of his 10-year big-league career. The Nebraska native became a free agent this winter after spending the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Athletics.

In 67 appearances (third-highest on the team) out of Oakland’s bullpen in 2021, Diekman posted a 3.86 ERA and 4.46 FIP to go along with 83 strikeouts to 34 walks over 60 2/3 innings of work. His splits against left-handed hitters were similar to his splits against right-handed hitters, as he yielded a .716 OPS against the former and a .711 OPS against the latter.

There were 14 left-handed relievers across Major League Baseball who tossed at least 60 innings last year. Among them, Diekman ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.3), first in strikeout rate (31.7%), 11th in walks per nine innings (5.0), 11th in walk rate (13%), ninth in batting average against (.211), 13th in WHIP (1.34), and ninth in xFIP (4.09), per FanGraphs.

Throughout his career, Diekman has primarily been a four-pitch pitcher who operates with a four-seam fastball (averaged 95.3 mph in 2021), a slider, a sinker, and a changeup. Based off the data available on Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 195 pound hurler had one of the top whiff rates (35.1%) in all of baseball last season.

Diekman, who will wear the No. 35 with the Sox, brings plenty of experience to his new team and should prove to be a versatile, high-leverage relief option for manager Alex Cora. He recorded seven of his 14 career saves last year and has otherwise made 479 lifetime appearances between innings seven through nine.

With the additions of Diekman and Strahm, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has bolstered the left side of Boston’s bullpen to complement the likes of Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor.

(Picture of Jake Diekman: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)