Red Sox make Trevor Story signing official, designate Jeisson Rosario for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed free-agent infielder Trevor Story to a six-year contract, the club announced on Wednesday morning. In order to make room for Story on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jeisson Rosario was designated for assignment.

Story, 29, was among this winter’s top free agents after spending the first six years of his major-league career with the Rockies. Although he was a shortstop throughout his time in Colorado, the two-time All-Star will shift to second base with Boston in order to accommodate Xander Bogaerts.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Story will earn $20 million in 2022 and 2023, $22.5 million in 2024 and 2025, and $25 million in 2026 and 2027. There is also a $25 million club option in 2028 that includes a $5 million buyout. He has the ability to opt out of the deal after the 2025 season, but the Red Sox could then exercise an option to retain him through his option year and pay him $25 million per season from 2026 to 2028.

All told, Story is guaranteed to earn at least $140 million and at most $160 million through 2028 if the option is picked up. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, it is the largest deal the Red Sox have given out since they signed left-hander David Price to seven-year, $217 million contract in December 2015.

Originally selected by the Rockies in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Irving High School, Story broke in with Colorado in 2016 and has since hit 158 home runs in 745 big-league contests.

A two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, the right-handed hitting Story batted .251/.329/.471 with 34 doubles, five triples, 24 homers, 75 RBIs, 88 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 53 walks, and 139 strikeouts across 142 games (595 plate appearances) for the Rockies last season.

Story, who will wear the No. 10 with the Red Sox, only took the field as a shortstop in his time with Colorado but will make the transition to second base with Boston. The 6-foot-2, 213 pounder represents an upgrade there and could also take over at shortstop next year in the event that Bogaerts opts out of his deal and signs elsewhere at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.

Rosario, 22, was one of two prospects the Red Sox acquired from the Padres in the August 2020 trade that sent veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to San Diego. The other player Boston got in that deal was Hudson Potts, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday.

Coming into the 2021 season, Rosario was regarded by Baseball America as No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The speedy outfielder spent the entirety of the year with Double-A Portland and struggled to the tune of a .232/.335/.307 slash line to go along with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 36 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 50 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 98 games (405 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

As was the case with Potts, the Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Rosario. If he clears waivers, the club can retain him as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Boston Red Sox)

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)

Former Red Sox shortstop José Iglesias agrees to one-year deal with Rockies, per report

Former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias has agreed to a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies, according to Univision’s Mike Rodriguez.

Iglesias, 32, will earn $5 million with the Rockies in 2022 after spending the 2021 season with both the Angels and Red Sox. He was initially released by Los Angeles on September 3, thus allowing him to latch on with Boston just three days later

A former top prospect who originally signed with the Sox as an international free agent out of Cuba in 2009 and was dealt to the Tigers in July 2013, Iglesias returned to Boston’s lineup for the first time in over eight years last summer.

The Red Sox signed Iglesias as veteran infield depth as they were navigating their way through a COVID-19 outbreak. The right-handed hitter delivered and then some, batting a stout .356/.406/.509 with four doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBIs, and eight runs over 23 games (64 plate appearances) while providing exceptional defense at second base to close out the regular season.

Because he was added to Boston’s major-league roster after the start of September, though, Iglesias was not eligible to play in the postseason. The Red Sox, in turn, outrighted the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder off their 40-man roster in early October, though he remained with the team as part of the “Uber Squad” during their run to the American League Championship Series.

Despite leaving a solid impression on Alex Cora and his teammates, Iglesias and the Red Sox never got close to a reunion at any point this off-season, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

As a result, Iglesias now joins his fifth organization since making his big-league debut in 2011. With the Rockies, his second National League team, Iglesias will look to reach 10 years of major-league service time.

(Picture of Jose Iglesias: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Rockies prospect, LG Twins first baseman Roberto Ramos to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent first baseman Roberto Ramos to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Ramos, 27, was originally selected by the Rockies in the 16th round of the 2014 amateur draft out of the College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, Calif.). He debuted for Low-A Tri-City that summer and made it as far as Triple-A Albuquerque in 2019.

In 127 games with the Isotopes, the left-handed hitter batted .309/.400/.580 (135 wRC+) with 27 doubles, 30 home runs, 105 RBIs, 77 runs scored, 61 walks, and 141 strikeouts across 503 plate appearances.

Shortly before the start of the 2020 campaign, Ramos had his contract with the Rockies purchased by the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization. The hulking 6-foot-3, 220 pounder did not wait long to make his impact felt overseas, as he slashed .278/.362/.592 (141 wRC+) with 38 homers and 86 RBIs over 117 games (494 plate appearances) in his first season with the Twins.

Last year, however, Ramos was limited to just 51 games due to a lower back injury. He managed all of eight home runs and 25 RBIs while posting a .739 OPS over that stretch before being released by LG in late June.

This off-season, Ramos returned to his home country of Mexico to suit up for Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific Winter League, though the Hermosillo native only appeared in five games before being placed on the reserve list in November.

Ramos, who does not turn 28 until December, seems likely to begin the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. There, he should represent some intriguing first-base depth behind Triston Casas, although he does have limited experience at other positions like third base, left field, and right field.

(Picture of Roberto Ramos: Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss could provide Double-A Portland with much-needed versatility in 2022

Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday. He was among 28 minor-leaguers who spent the week participating in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers.

One of nine infielders on the Sox’ minicamp roster, Koss was acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitching prospect Yoan Aybar in December 2020.

That move was primarily made so that the Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster, but it also provided the club with an intriguing, versatile infielder.

Upon acclimating himself to a new organization, Koss spent the entirety of the 2021 minor-league season with Low-A Greenville, where he batted .271/.325/.451 (106 wRC+) with 18 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 55 RBIs, 65 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 31 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 104 games spanning 468 plate appearances.

On the surface, it would appear that Koss had a solid, above-average year at the plate. However, it is worth mentioning that the right-handed hitter actually got off to a slow start before picking things up over the summer.

From July 1 on, in fact, Koss slashed a more impressive .297/.340/.529 (127 wRC+) while cutting his strikeout rate down from 25.7% to 18.6% over the final 64 games (285 plate appearances) he played in.

SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall had the chance to see Koss during this stretch, and observed that the then-23-year-old “may not have the highest ceiling, but he was solid enough at shortstop and should add positional versatility as he moves up the system. He does not have a standout tool, but has a bunch of average tools in his locker.” 

Defensively, Koss saw the majority of his playing time with the Drive come at shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 182 pounder logged 842 1/3 innings and committed 15 errors at that position while accruing 73 innings and committing no errors as a second baseman.

Following the conclusion of the regular minor-league season, Koss spent his fall in the Arizona Fall League after replacing catcher Connor Wong on the Scottsdale Scorpions’ roster.

Appearing in 14 games for Scottsdale, Koss posted a .525 OPS and swiped a pair of bags while playing every infield position besides first base.

Originally selected by the Rockies in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of University of California, Irvine, Koss’ most appealing tool is undoubtedly his speed. He was named the Red Sox’ minor-league Baserunner of the Year for 2021, after all.

A native of Riverside, Calif. who spent two summers (2017, 2018) playing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League, Koss ended the 2021 season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 31 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the publication to begin the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland.

Given his ability to play multiple defensive positions, Koss could provide the Sea Dogs with a shifty, utility infielder who has the ability to play three different positions on any given night.

As is the case with many Red Sox minor-leaguers heading into the 2022 season, Koss can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career come December. Boston would need to add the 24-year-old to their 40-man roster by late November in order to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Christian Koss: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

Adam Ottavino ‘a big part’ of what Red Sox are trying to accomplish, Alex Cora says: ‘I’m happy that he’s pitching for us’

When the Red Sox traded for Adam Ottavino last month, the move was greeted with plenty of shock since he was coming over in a trade with the Yankees that seemingly came out of no where.

As it turns out, though, Ottavino could prove to be a vital piece of Boston’s late-inning bullpen puzzle this coming season. The veteran reliever has already made a positive first impression on Red Sox manager Alex Cora at the onset of spring training in Fort Myers.

“Very smart individual,” Cora said Saturday in regards to Ottavino. “He’s very quiet. He moves very smoothly and very slow around. But, when you talk to him, he opens up. He knows a lot about pitching. He knows himself. Like he told me a few days ago, he’s excited to be here.”

Boston acquired Ottavino — as well as right-handed pitching prospect Frank German and cash considerations — from New York on January 25 in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

The 35-year-old right-hander is six months removed from a 2020 campaign with the Yankees in which he posted a 5.89 ERA and .770 OPS against over 24 appearances and 18 1/3 innings pitched.

Upon closer inspection, however, six of the 12 earned runs Ottavino surrendered last year came against the Blue Jays on September 7, an outing in which he failed to record a single out. If you take that one blowup away, his ERA on the season drops to 2.98.

For his major-league career, which dates back to 2010, Ottavino has not surprisingly had more troubles against left-handed hitting (.792 OPS against) than right-handed hitting (.615 OPS against), but the ex-Rockie will still get the chance to face hitters from both sides of the plate with his new club.

“We talked a little bit about the way we’re going to use him, and we’re not going to limit him to righties,” added Cora. “He’s going to get lefties and righties out. He worked hard in the offseason to improve a few things. He threw a bullpen today, actually Christian [Vazquez] caught him. This is a guy that was very dominant in Colorado. He was dominant two years ago [in New York]. He had a bad outing against Toronto last year. So, he’s a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish and I’m happy that he’s pitching for us.”

Working primarily with a sinker, slider, cutter, and changeup, Ottavino originally attended Northeastern University before getting selected by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft.

While at Northeastern from 2004-2006, the Brooklyn native got the chance to watch the Red Sox from up close since the university’s campus is just a few blocks away from Fenway Park.

“When I was in college, I went there regularly,” Ottavino said last month of his past experiences at Fenway. “I would get the standing room tickets after practice, especially if [Curt] Schilling or Pedro [Martinez] was pitching. Try to watch those guys from behind home plate up the stairs there.”

In addition to watching the Sox when he was younger, playing for them is actually something he has envisioned doing as recently as his free agency in the winter of 2018/2019.

“The Red Sox were one of my top teams I wanted to go to at that time,” said Ottavino, who ultimately wound up signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Yankees. “They reached out early in the process but it never really got off the ground… The team had just won the World Series, so there was nothing not to like there. Boston has always been a place I saw myself playing. So it was definitely one of the teams at the very beginning of the process I was hoping would reach out to me. And they did and it never got off the ground. But I still appreciate the interest, for sure.”

Now that he is with the Red Sox, the 6-foot-5, 246 lb. hurler figures to be part of a group of relievers made up of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Hirokazu Sawamura, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor; all of whom will be vying for the role as Boston’s closer over the next month-plus.

That being said, Cora was rather mum about which sort of specific role Ottavino will be undertaking out of the bullpen once the 2021 season does begin.

“He’s going to get big outs in the last third of the game,” the Sox skipper said with a wry smile. “Whenever you ask me about these guys (Barnes, Brasier, etc.), that’s going to be the answer.”

(Picture of Adam Ottavino: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade: infield prospect Christian Koss acquired from Rockies in exchange for left-hander Yoan Aybar

The Red Sox have acquired infield prospect Christian Koss from the Rockies in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Yoan Aybar. The club made the trade official earlier Thursday evening.

Koss, who turns 23 in January, was selected by Colorado in the 12th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of California, Irvine.

In 53 games with rookie-level Grand Junction of the Pioneer League last year, the Riverside native posted an impressive .322/.447/.605 slash line (172 wRC+) to go along with 11 home runs and 51 RBI over 238 plate appearances.

Named a mid and post-season Pioneer League All-Star thanks to his efforts, Koss opened the 2020 campaign regarded by Baseball America as the Rockies’ No. 29 prospect.

Capable of playing every infield position besides first base at the moment, the right-handed hitting, right-handed throwing Koss is listed at 6-foot-1 and 182 lbs.

Koss is Rule 5 eligible next winter, so the 2021 season will prove to be an important one for him regardless of where he begins the year, which will likely be High-A Salem.

As for Aybar, the now-former Sox prospect was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November, yet he was the only member of the 40-man roster to not be included in the club’s 60-man player pool this past season.

Originally signed as an outfielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, the stout southpaw converted into a pitcher full-time in 2018, most recently posting a 4.61 ERA over 44 relief appearances and 56 2/3 innings pitched between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem last year.

With Aybar being traded to another organization, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is currently down to 39 players, with plenty more moves to come as the offseason continues.

Red Sox Option Dylan Covey to Pawtucket in Order to Make Room on Roster for Chris Mazza

Before making his first career major-league start on Sunday night, right-hander Chris Mazza needed to be added to the Red Sox’ active roster. In order to make that happen, the Sox optioned fellow righty Dylan Covey to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket prior to Sunday’s contest against the Yankees.

In his second stint with Boston after initially getting recalled from Pawtucket back on August 8, Covey, who just turned 29 on Friday, surrendered three earned runs on five hits, no walks, and two strikeouts over three relief appearances and 4 1/3 total innings pitched.

All three of those runs came in Friday’s loss to the Yankees, as the California native now owns a 7.11 ERA and .692 OPS against through his first four outings as a member of the Red Sox dating back to July 25. He will likely be up with the big-league club again before the end of the 2020 season.

As for Mazza, the 30-year-old will make his second appearance with the Red Sox a little more than two weeks after making his team debut at Yankee Stadium on August 1.

Mazza limited New York to just one hit and two walks while fanning three over 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in that outing, and he will now get the chance to start a game for the first time as a major-leaguer.

Prior to coming over to the Sox in December, the Bay Area native made 13 starts for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse last season and posted a 3.77 ERA and .234 batting average against over 74 innings pitched.

That being said, expect Mazza to get anywhere between three to five innings of work in on Sunday depending on how he looks early on. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN and WEEI.

Red Sox Rookie Left-Hander Kyle Hart Will Make Second Start of Season Against Phillies on Wednesday

After allowing seven runs (five earned) over two-plus innings in his major-league debut against the Rays on Thursday, Red Sox rookie left-hander Kyle Hart will get another start against the Phillies on Wednesday, manager Ron Roenicke announced earlier Saturday.

Per Roenicke, the reasoning behind this is that the Red Sox “wanted to try to give [Hart] more than just one start” rather than option him back down to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.

The 27-year-old southpaw may have struggled for the most part in his first career start against Tampa Bay, but he did show some glimpses of promise, like when he struck out four of the first 11 hitters he faced or recorded five swings-and-misses

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier prior to Saturday’s announcement from Roenicke, “No young Red Sox pitcher has made more than one big league start as a first-time call-up since 2015, when Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens made their debuts.”

By naming Hart as Wednesday’s starter, the Red Sox are perhaps trying to five Hart a boost of confidence and reassurance after a shaky debut. Roenicke divulged into this more during his pregame media availability on Saturday.

“It’s hard enough to do well and perform here in the big leagues,” the Sox skipper said. “So I think with Kyle, just go out there again and relax and pitch the way you can. And hopefully we get a good start from him.”

As previously mentioned, Hart allowed seven runs, two of which were unearned, on seven hits (two home runs) and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on Thursday against Tampa Bay. He needed 73 pitches (44 strikes), to get through two-plus innings while retiring six of the 17 hitters he faced.

Facing off against the Phillies at Fenway Park on Wednesday, the former 19th-round pick out of Indiana University will be opposed by a club that entered Saturday with the highest collective wRC+ (142) against left-handed pitching in the National League so far this season, according to FanGraphs.

Red Sox Lineup: Michael Chavis Starts at First Base as Jose Peraza Returns for Second of Four Against Yankees

After allowing more than eight runs in their fifth consecutive game in yet another loss on Friday, the Red Sox will look to bounce back against the first-place Yankees in the Bronx on Saturday.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will make his fifth start of the season for Boston, while left-hander James Paxton will be making his fourth start for New York.

The Red Sox are 3-1 in Eovaldi’s starts this year, so this outing comes at a perfect time seeing how Boston is currently riding a five-game losing streak in which they have been outscored 52-25.

Paxton, meanwhile, is coming off his best start of the season in his last time out against the Rays on August 9 in which he yielded three runs, fanned 11, and walked only one batter. The 31-year-old surrendered five runs (three earned) on seven hits in just three innings of work in his first start of the year against the Sox on August 2.

Here’s how the Red Sox will be lining up against Paxton and behind Eovaldi to begin things on Saturday night.

With a left-hander on the mound for New York, Kevin Pillar moves to the leadoff spot for the sixth time this season while Michael Chavis takes over for Mitch Moreland at first base.

Also worth noting, Jose Peraza is back starting at second base and batting out of the nine-hole after taking a 105 mph comebacker off his right knee while pitching in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss to the Rays.

Among these nine hitters, J.D. Martinez and Jackie Bradley Jr. have seen Paxton the best. The former owns a lifetime OPS of 1.415 with two home runs in 17 career at-bats against the Yankees starter, while the latter owns a lifetime OPS of 1.129 in 15 career at-bats against him.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their first victory since Sunday. They are winless in four attempts against the Yankees so far in 2020.