Red Sox sign veteran left-hander Tyler Olson to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed veteran left-hander Tyler Olson to a minor-league deal, per FanSided’s Robert Murray.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo adds that Olson will head to Fort Myers to start the year at minor-league spring training as opposed to the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester.

Olson, 31, did not pitch in the majors in 2020 after signing a minor-league deal with the Cubs last February.

Prior to that, the veteran southpaw had seen major-league action in five consecutive seasons, as he posted a 3.83 ERA and 4.01 FIP over 124 appearances and 94 innings of work between the Mariners, Yankees, and Indians from 2015-2019.

A former seventh-round draft pick of Seattle out of Gonzaga University in 2013, Olson’s best work in the big-leagues came in his first season with the Indians 2017.

Upon getting called up by the club for the first time in late June of that year, the Washington state native did not allow a single run — earned or unearned — while scattering just 13 hits and six walks to go along with 18 strikeouts over 30 relief outings spanning 20 innings pitched through the end of the season. He held opponents to a .188/.263/.217 clip over that span.

While the 2018 and 2019 campaigns did not go nearly as well for Olson as 2017 did, he can still provide upper-minors depth as a left-handed relief option.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-3, 2015 pound hurler works with a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a changeup, and a slider.

(Picture of Tyler Olson: Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Chaim Bloom explains what went into Red Sox acquiring Christian Arroyo last season

Christian Arroyo came into spring training this year looking to prove he deserved a spot on the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster.

The 25-year-old infielder was originally claimed off waivers by Boston from the Indians last August, and after finally making his team debut a month later, he showed flashes of his potential.

Over a limited 14-game sample, Arroyo posted a .240/.296/.446 slash line to go along with three home runs and eight RBI over 14 games and 54 plate appearances. He played second base and shortstop.

The Florida native made it through the offseason without losing his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster, but he came into the spring in a somewhat precarious position given the fact he is out of minor-league options.

In other words, Arroyo has to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster. Otherwise, he would have to be exposed to waivers if the club wanted to send him down to the minors.

With that proposition in mind, Arroyo has been one of Boston’s more impressive performers at the plate thus far in Grapefruit League play in southwest Florida.

Following a 1-for-2 showing in a pinch-hitting capacity on Wednesday, the right-handed hitter is slashing .290/.333/.516 with a pair of homers and four RBI through his first 33 plate appearances of the spring.

It wasn’t too long ago that Arroyo, formerly a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants, was one of the top prospects in baseball. He was even included in the blockbuster trade that sent Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Giants in December 2017.

Arroyo did not do much in his time in Tampa Bay, as he appeared in just 36 total games between 2018 and early 2019 on account of multiple stints on the injured list before being dealt to Cleveland in July 2019.

Despite not playing too much with the Rays, though, the young middle infielder still established a relationship with Chaim Bloom, then Tampa Bay’s senior vice president of baseball operations.

That relationship carried over to Bloom’s first season as Red Sox chief baseball officer last year, as was highlighted when Arroyo was claimed by the club.

Since then, the two have surely gotten to know each other even better, and Bloom’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Arroyo going back to September.

“He looks, to me, better than at any point that we had him when I was with the Rays,” Bloom told WEEI’s Will Flemming and Rob Bradford earlier Wednesday. “Body-wise, he came in looking good. And I’ve seen him — whether it was last year or this spring — drive pitches that I didn’t see him drive in the past and just hit them harder.”

Despite the obvious connection he was with Arroyo from their time in Tampa Bay, Bloom was quick to not take all the credit when it came to acquiring the Hernando High School product in the first place.

“This is one where I think because of the connection and with the past, to the extent that it works I’ll be getting a lot of credit,” Bloom said. “But I would want to credit a lot of our crew in the front office for when this guy became available. Identifying him, doing work to see what was under the hood, and seeing some bat potential in there that he hadn’t realized.

“It was tough for him because he couldn’t stay healthy — either at the major-league level or Triple-A — for a couple of years,” he added. “So you’re kind of piecing together different samples, trying to look under the hood, figuring is there still some life to his player, who has a very good prospect pedigree. And we all felt strongly that it was worth taking the chance.”

With Danny Santana being sidelined while recovering from a right foot infection and Yairo Munoz being reassigned to minor-league camp on Wednesday, Arroyo would seem to have the edge on obtaining one of the final spots on the Sox’ 26-man Opening Day roster.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has already made it clear that the club is planning to roll with 14 pitchers and 12 position players to kick off the 2021 campaign, so it should be interesting to see how Arroyo plays into that equation in the coming weeks.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Red Sox should consider claiming former Indians outfielder Greg Allen off waivers

So far this offseason, the Red Sox have done a fine job in bolstering their outfield depth.

Slugging outfielder Hunter Renfroe signed a one-year deal with the club last month, while the likes of Cesar Puello and Michael Gettys have been signed to minor-league contracts for 2021.

That being said, you can never have enough depth at any position, and it just so happens an intriguing outfielder technically became available earlier this week. That outfielder’s name? Greg Allen.

The 27-year-old was designated for assignment by the Padres on Thursday in order for the club to make room on its 40-man roster for South Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim.

With San Diego this past season, Allen appeared in just one game after being part of the trade that sent Mike Clevinger from the Indians to the Friars in late August.

Prior to that blockbuster trade, Allen spent parts of four major-league seasons with the Tribe starting in 2017, accruing a .239/.295/.344 slash line to go along with eight home runs, 57 RBI, and 31 stolen bases over 220 total games played.

Seven of those 220 games have come at Fenway Park, where Allen owns a career-best 1.249 OPS over 27 plate appearances.

In addition to providing speed on the base paths, the California native has proven to be a capable major-league defender who can play all three outfield positions adequately.

Looking back at the 2019 campaign, Allen posted a positive-six defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating of 5.0 while logging 570 1/3 innings — 360 2/3 in left, 132 2/3 in center, 77 in right — in the Indians outfield.

He also ranked sixth among major-league left fielders in sprint speed (29 feet per second) and 44th among major-league outfielders in outs above average (3) in 2019, per Statcast.

Having presented all this information, the Red Sox could very well look into adding Allen to their outfield mix despite the former top prospect’s light-hitting ways.

It’s a scenario that is reminiscent of Christian Arroyo’s over the summer.

Boston claimed the infielder off waivers from the Indians on August 13, promptly designated him for assignment a week later, and then outrighted him on August 23 before purchasing his contract on September 8.

It’s a unique — and somewhat risky — way to go about adding depth, but the Sox managed to do it with Arroyo, who is out of minor-league options, as is the case with Allen.

On top of that, trying to stash Allen away would address an offseason need by bolstering Boston’s outfield defense. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom conveyed this school of thought last month in the wake of the Renfroe signing.

“I always talk about depth and it’s so important, but I do think we still have room to add without straining our roster,” Bloom said when speaking with reporters via Zoom. “The good thing here is we have a number of outfielders who are all good enough athletes to play center field. But we still also have room to augment that with a center fielder or a corner outfielder. So we now have options and different paths we can take. But it would be nice to increase our depth as we go forward.”

Bringing on Allen seems like a potentially sound way for Bloom and Co. to increase the Red Sox’ depth going forward. But, another roster move would be required in order for that to happen.

This is the case because the club’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity.

To make it clear, this is just a suggestion. Allen won’t clear waivers until late next week, and I’m assuming he doesn’t have enough service time to refuse an outright assignment to the minors given the fact he isn’t supposed to reach free agency until the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Christian Arroyo’s Performance With Red Sox This Year Left Chaim Bloom ‘Hungry for More’ in 2021

Going into the 2020 season, Christian Arroyo likely wasn’t on the Red Sox’ radar.

The 25-year-old infielder opened the year with the Indians and managed to appear in just one game as a defensive replacement before getting designated for assignment on August 6.

A week later, Arroyo was claimed off waivers by Boston. All the while, the club’s brass was watching another former top prospect struggle at the major-league level in the form of Jose Peraza.

Peraza, who inked a one-year deal with the Sox last December after getting non-tendered by the Reds coming off a disappointing 2019 campaign, was viewed as a potential solution to Boston’s lingering second base problem.

The 26-year-old Venezuelan got off to a hot start with his new club by racking up seven hits in his first five games of the year, but eventually cooled off to the point where he was eventually optioned to the alternate training site for the remainder of the season on September 9.

Peraza’s demotion came a day after the Red Sox selected Arroyo’s contract from Pawtucket, thus promoting him to the major-league roster for the first time on September 8.

With more at-bats to be had now that his fellow second baseman had been sent down, Arroyo showed glimpses of his potential and reminded everyone why the Giants took him with the 25th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft.

In 14 games with the Red Sox, the Tampa native slashed .240/.296/.440 with three home runs and eight RBI over 54 plate appearances, which came with him primarily playing second and batting out of the nine-hole.

Those numbers certainly are not off the charts, and Arroyo would probably be one of the first people to tell you that. But again, the ex-Rays infielder had his moments, and those moments left Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom very impressed with someone he was already familiar with.

“I knew he was a fundamentally sound player,” Bloom said of Arroyo’s potential when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams earlier this week. “I knew he had versatility and ability. At the plate, I saw him drive pitches that I’ve never seen him drive before. That was impressive to see. He had a very confident approach at the plate.”

With all the uncertainties surrounding what the Red Sox will do at second base this offseason, Arroyo could emerge as a favorite to land the starting gig next spring. That possibility comes given the notion that Peraza will presumably get non-tendered, Dustin Pedroia will lose his 40-man roster spot, and top prospect Jeter Downs will begin the year in Triple-A.

All that being said, Bloom anticipates Arroyo will get more of a chance to show what he’s capable of once position players report to Fenway South this coming February.

“We were able to give him an opportunity down the stretch but if you look at it in the grand scheme it was not a long [opportunity],” Bloom added. “But it’s still a small sample. Certainly, what he did made you hungry for more.”

Arroyo, who turns 26 in May, is under team control with the Red Sox through the end of the 2024 season.

Red Sox Outfielder Andrew Benintendi ‘Available’ in Trade Talks, per Report

With exactly one week to go until the trade deadline, the Red Sox have reportedly made injured outfielder Andrew Benintendi available in trade talks, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Per Rosenthal, the subject of Benintendi being on the trading block came up when discussing what the Indians’ plans are in regards to right-handers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac.

Earlier this month, both Clevinger and Plesac broke the Indians’ COVID-19 protocols when the pair of hurlers broke curfew and didn’t stay in the team hotel after a game against the White Sox in Chicago.

The two were subsequently optioned to Cleveland’s alternate training site on August 14, and one or the other could be dealt before August 31 seeing how their teammates may not accept them back due to a lack of accountability on their part.

That being said, Rosenthal notes that the Indians “trading one of them for a power-hitting outfielder would be a logical step for a team that ranks last in the majors in OPS from its outfielders.”

This is where Benintendi comes into the picture. Not necessarily because he is a power-hitting outfielder, but rather, like Clevinger, the 26-year-old outfielder has amassed three-plus years of service time and is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Despite that common link, Benintendi is currently on the 10-day injured list due to a strained rib cage that will likely sideline him well into September. Even before that, the former first-round pick had struggled at the plate to begin the year, going 4-for-his-first-39 (.103) with one RBI and four runs scored through 14 games played.

Clevinger, on the other hand, posted a 3.24 ERA and .802 OPS against over his first three starts and 16 2/3 innings pitched this season before getting demoted.

As Rosenthal notes, Clevinger was originally slated to make $4.1 million this season, and that figure will only go up in the 29-year-old’s final two years of arbitration eligibility. For a frugal team such as the Indians, they may want to get out from under Clevinger’s contract before it becomes too much of a burden.

Benintendi, meanwhile, is on a much more cost-controlled deal after inking a two-year, $10 million extension back in February that buys out his first two years of arbitration eligibility.

If you want to boil this all down, it basically comes down to the notion that the Indians are a team in need of outfield help, while the Red Sox, who currently boast the second-worst starters’ ERA in baseball (6.04), are in need of starting pitching help.

As noted by Rosenthal, this sort of scenario “demonstrate[s] the challenge of finding the right fit” in trade talks going forward.

If Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is aggressive and active enough, though, Benintendi, and a plethora of other Sox players, could be moved between now and the end of the month. It likely all depends on the return that Boston would be getting back.

Red Sox Infielder Christian Arroyo Clears Waivers, Gets Outrighted To Pawtucket

Three days after getting designated for assignment, Red Sox infielder Christian Arroyo has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Pawtucket.

With this move made, Arroyo remains in the Sox’ 60-man player pool and will likely report to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket within the coming days.

The 25-year-old was originally claimed off waivers by Boston from the Indians on August 13 and was subsequently placed on the 10-day COVID-19 related injured list three days later. The reason behind that was not because of a positive test, but rather due to the actual intake process.

Despite being activated from the IL on August 19, though, Arroyo was designated for assignment on August 20 in order for the Sox to make room on their 40-man roster for left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez, who had been on the COVID-19 related injured list himself.

Upon designating Arroyo, a former first-round pick of the Giants in 2013, it appeared that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co.’s intentions were to sneak the Florida native through waivers, which they were of course able to accomplish on Sunday.

Prior to joining the Red Sox, Arroyo had appeared in 71 games with the Giants, Raysn and Indians since making his big-league debut with San Francisco in April 2017.

In those 71 games, the former top prospect slashed .215/.280/.342 with six home runs and 27 RBI over 251 plate appearances.

While in Pawtucket, Arroyo will presumably see time all around the infield seeing how he has major-league experience at second base, third base, and shortstop.

As for when we could see Arroyo in Boston, he would have to be added back to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in order for that to happen.

Red Sox Claim Former Top Prospect Christian Arroyo off Waivers From Indians

The Red Sox have claimed infielder Christian Arroyo off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, the club announced Thursday afternoon.

Arroyo, 25, has been added to the club’s 60-man player pool and must be added to the active roster seeing how he is out of minor-league options.

A former first-round pick of the Giants back in 2013, Arroyo was most recently with the Indians up until last week, when he was designated for assignment on August 6.

Through his first 71 games in the majors dating back to 2017, Arroyo hasn’t exactly lived up to his former top-prospect status. He posted a .548 OPS over 135 plate appearances in his rookie year with San Francisco before getting dealt to the Rays that December. As a matter of fact, the Florida native was part of the trade that saw three-time All-Star Evan Longoria head out west.

Given the fact he spent 1 1/2 years within the Rays’ organization, Arroyo likely formed some type of relationship with then-Rays executive vice president, now-Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, hence the move being made by Boston to claim him on Thursday.

In those 1 1/2 seasons with the Rays, Arroyo slashed a collective .243/.322/.388 with three home runs and 13 RBI over 36 games total games prior to getting traded to Cleveland last July.

Arroyo missed a significant amount of time in 2019 due to right forearm tendinitis and was only able to appear in one game as a defensive replacement with Cleveland this season.

Speaking of his defense, Arroyo is capable of playing all around the infield, so he comes with plenty of versatility, which is always a plus.

With the addition of Arroyo, the Red Sox’ 60-man player pool is now at full capacity.

Red Sox Agree to Major-League Deal With Catcher Kevin Plawecki

In their first move of the new decade and new year, the Red Sox have reportedly agreed to a one-year, major-league deal with free-agent catcher Kevin Plawecki, per Robert Murray and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Plawecki, who turns 29 in February, slashed .222/.287/.342 with three home runs and 17 RBI over 59 games with the Cleveland Indians this past season.

The former Met was non-tendered by Cleveland on December 2nd, the same day the club acquired catcher Sandy Leon from Boston in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Adenys Bautista.

Because the Red Sox’ 40-man roster was already at full capacity prior to this signing, expect an additional roster move to be made once this deal becomes official.

Since it is a major-league contract that Plawecki signed, it would appear that the 2012 first-round pick out of Purdue University is locked in to become Christian Vazquez’s backup this coming season.

The addition of Plawecki also stays consistent with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. continuing to make low risk, high reward kind of signings, like with Martin Perez and Jose Peraza.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the deal is for one year and is worth $900,000. Plawecki is also eligible for arbitration.

Gordon Hayward Has Career Night as Celtics Hold on to Top Cavaliers for Fifth Straight Win

In the venue that severely altered his career just a little more than two years ago, Gordon Hayward put together his best performance as a Boston Celtic in a 119-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night.

The 29-year-old had it all going in this one, leading the C’s in scoring with 39 points to tie a career-high on 17/20 (85%) shooting to go along with eight assists, seven total rebounds, and a team-leading +/- of 12 in 33 minutes of play.

The final five of those 39 points wound up to be huge for the Celtics, as Hayward drilled his only corner three of the night coming off some quality ball movement from Daniel Theis, Marcus Smart, and Brad Wanamaker to give his side a 110-99 edge with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

That more than likely should have sealed things for Boston, but a quick 14-6 run on the part of the Cavs made it a three-point contest with 93 seconds to go.

Fast forward about a minute in game time later, coming off a jump ball, and Hayward came through in the clutch yet again, this time beating out Cavs forward Kevin Love to corral a missed three pointer from Kemba Walker, his first and only offensive board, and putting it back in the bucket for an easy two.

Hayward’s 17th make, the most he has ever hit on in a single game in his career, put the Celts up by five, and 119-113 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

“He was aggressive going to the basket,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens following his team’s fifth straight victory, “He just kept making the right play over and over.”

Through six games this season, the Indiana native is averaging 20.3 points per on 56.5% shooting (50% from three).

Now in his third full year with Boston, it appears that Hayward is finally comfortable and is settling into things nicely. Consistency is key, and Hayward has been exactly that to start out the early stages of the 2019-2020 campaign.

At 5-1 now, the Celtics’ next game will come against the Charlotte Hornets in the Queen City on Thursday night. A homecoming of sorts for Kemba Walker.

Rafael Devers Is Your American League Player of the Week

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been named American League Player of the Week for August 12th through the 18th.

The 22-year-old put together quite the week at the plate against the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, slashing .593/.633/1.185 with 10 extra-base hits, three of which being home runs, and 11 RBI over his last six games.

That stretch included a run of eight straight hits that began with a six-hit, four-double performance in Cleveland on Tuesday, marking the first time since at least 1908 that a major leaguer had achieved that feat, and extended into Wednesday.

Against the Orioles on Sunday, Devers became the first big leaguer this season to surpass the century mark in RBI with a two-run homer, his 27th, in the seventh inning of a 13-7 victory.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Devers leads American League third baseman in games played (123), runs scored (103), runs driven in (101), slugging percentage (.575), and is tied with Houston’s Alex Bregman atop the fWAR leaderboards (5.5).

2019 has certainly been a breakout year for Devers to say the least. In what is only his second full season in the majors, the breakout star appears to be a lock to finish in the top three for American League Most Valuable Player voting in the fall.