Chicago White Sox and RHP Kelvin Herrera Agree to Two-Year Contract.

The Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement with free agent reliever Kelvin Herrera on a two-year, $18 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal also includes a vesting option for a potential third year, and per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, that could take the value of this contract northward of $27 million.

Herrera, 29, opened the 2018 season with the Kansas City Royals, where he posted a miniscule 1.05 ERA over a span of 25 relief appearances before being dealt to the Washington Nationals in June.

There, the right-hander had a much more difficult time of things, as his ERA skyrocketed up to 4.34 over a span of just 21 appearances with the Nats.

Injuries were also an issue for Herrera this past season, as he was placed on the 10-day disabled list on two separate occasions in August.

The first occurrence, an impingement of the right rotator cuff on August 8th, saw the Dominican Republic native shelved for nearly two weeks before being activated on August 21st.

Less than a week after that, Herrera was once again placed on the disabled list due to a tear in the lisfranc ligament of his left foot. That saw his season ultimately come to an early conclusion.

Prior to all this injury-related news going down, the Red Sox were reportedly interested in acquiring the services of the flame throwing Herrera at the non-waiver trade deadline on the last day of July.

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters that he had a deal in place for a reliever on that Monday leading up to the deadline, but things fell through because, “[The Nationals] thought they were going to move somebody, and then decided to change their mind. It was a discussion for a reliever. It was one of the few guys we put in that position that we thought would be an upgrade for us.”

With that in mind, it made sense that the Red Sox would be interested in potentially bringing in Herrera as a free agent to stabilize the back-end of their bullpen with the return of Craig Kimbrel still a question mark.

However, the fact that Herrera is coming off a lingering foot injury and still received a hefty chunk of change from the White Sox might mean that the Red Sox were never going to seriously head in this direction.

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Philadelphia Phillies and RHP David Robertson Agree to Two-Year Deal.

The Philadelphia Phillies have reached an agreement with free agent reliever David Robertson on a two-year, $23 million dollar contract, per the team’s official Twitter account. As the tweet reads, the contract also includes a club option worth approximately $12 million for a potential third year.

Robertson, 33, had spent the past season and a half with the Yankees before signing his deal with Philadelphia on Thursday.

Back in November, it was reported that the right-hander was looking to sign on with a club near his home in Rhode Island, thus the Red Sox were viewed as legitimate suitors for Robertson’s services.

Instead, the University of Alabama alum more than likely chose the team that offered him the most money in the Phillies, while also not straying off too far from the Ocean State.

Known for providing quality work out of the bullpen in a variety of roles throughout his 11-year major league career, Robertson posted a 3.23 ERA and 11.8 K/9 over 69 relief appearances and 69.2 innings pitched with New York in 2018. He also recorded five saves.

With this news, one would have to assume that Philadelphia is out of the running for free agent closer Craig Kimbrel after adding Robertson to the back-end of the bullpen.

Whether or not that increases the chances of a reunion between the Red Sox and the seven-time All-Star remains to be seen, but President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has essentially kept that door open for the time being. And as we near closer and closer to spring training, Kimbrel’s price is sure to go down.

The Red Sox have also remained interest in free agents Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton. If I were to guess on where each would be going, I would venture to say one signs with Boston, while the other winds up in the Bronx, best case scenario.

#RedSox Reportedly Sign Carson Smith to Minor League Deal.

The Boston Red Sox have brought back RHP Carson Smith on a minor league contract for the 2019 season, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Smith, 29, originally elected free agency after being outrighted from Boston’s 40-man roster in November, but in a move that may surprise some, the Texas native is back with the organization.

Originally acquired from the Seattle Mariners along with LHP Roenis Elias in exhange for RHP Jonathan Aro and LHP Wade Miley back in December of 2015, Smith’s initial tenure with the Red Sox was riddled with injuries and several stints on the disabled list.

In parts of three different seasons with Boston, the former eighth round pick posted a 2.65 ERA and 10.3 K/9 over just 29 appearances out of the bullpen and 23.2 total innings pitched.

A recipient of Tommy John surgery in 2016, Smith made his first Opening Day Red Sox roster this past season, where he allowed six runs to cross the plate over 14.1 innings of work before his year ultimately came to an end on May 14th.

After serving up an eighth inning solo home run to the Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis, the right-hander slammed his glove in the Red Sox dugout of frustration upon retiring the side in the frame, which resulted in the subluxation of his throwing shoulder. An injury that would eventually see Smith placed on the 60-day disabled list and miss the remainder of the season.

To make matters worse, Smith essentially threw his manager Alex Cora under the bus following his embarrassing injury, saying that, “I think fatigue played a factor. My shoulder just couldn’t handle it. I think my shoulder is tired in general just from pitching. I’ve thrown a lot lately and I think my arm was just tired.”

That matter did not sit well with Red Sox fans back in the spring, but with the departure of Joe Kelly to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox have made adding pitching depth a priority this winter.

Already in the month of December alone the club has agreed to minor league deals with RHPs Erasmo Ramirez and Zach Putnam to go along with Sunday’s signing of Smith.

It remains to be seen if this latest deal with Smith includes an invite to major league spring training, but I’m going to go ahead and say it will.

#RedSox and Heath Hembree Avoid Arbitration with One-Year Deal for 2019 Season.

On Friday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with RHP Heath Hembree.

According to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the two sides will avoid salary arbitration with a deal worth approximately $1.312 million for the 2019 season.

Hembree, 29, posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 67 relief apperances and 60 innings pitched in his fourth full season with Boston in 2018.

The right-hander also held left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average against to go along with a career-high 11.4 K/9 for a whole campaign.

A former fifth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, Hembree took Steven Wright’s spot on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster prior to Game Two against the New York Yankees and did not surrender a single run in any of the four postseason appearances he made on the way to a World Series championship.

With the departure of Joe Kelly and the somewhat probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, it’s quite likely that the South Carolina native will see an increase in usage in 2019 depending on what the Red Sox’ plans are for the remainder of the offseason.

Hembree found success early in the 2018 season by stranding inherited runners on base on a consistent basis, but the ability to do that seemed to fade as the year progressed, and the reliever’s numbers inflated as a result of that.

Per the Red Sox themselves, this signing now leaves 10 players, Matt Barnes, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman, and Steven Wright, who remained unsigned and eligible for arbitration.

#RedSox Were in Attendance for Troy Tulowitzki’s Workout on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reported that up to 11 major league clubs were in attendance for free agent infielder Troy Tulowitzki’s workout in Southern California earlier that morning.

Among those teams observing the five-time All-Star’s workout near California State University Long Beach was the Boston Red Sox.

There’s no indication that the defending World Series champions are heavy favorites to land Tulowitzki, but given the fact it will only cost the major league minimum to sign him because of the Toronto Blue Jays buying out the remainder of his $38 million contract earlier in the month, doing one’s due diligence in this case does make sense.

Sure, the ex-Colorado Rockie, now 34, is probably far from the Gold Glove shortstop he used to be, but if he’s willing to take on a utility role and is able to stay healthy over the course of a full season, then surely he can provide a club with solid defense and a steady bat when needed.

Last playing with the Blue Jays in 2017, Tulowitzki slashed .249/.300/.378 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI in 66 games before being placed on the disabled list on July 29th with a sprained right ankle. He would not play for the remainder of the season.

In 2018, the Santa Clara native was once again placed on the 60-day disabled list prior to the start of the season due to bilateral bone spurs in both heels.

Once saying that he’ll, “pack my bags and go home,” if he’s not playing shortstop in 2019, Tulowitzki seems more willing now to move around the infield, but would still like to see regular at bats at one position, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

As of right now, I would say that a union between the Red Sox and Tulowitzki is unlikely.

With the way the team’s infield is currently set with Dustin Pedroia manning second, Xander Bogaerts manning short, and Rafael Devers manning third, the need for the former first round pick really isn’t there at the moment.

Other utility players such as Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, and Tzu-Wei Lin would also cause a bit of a log jam if Tulowitzki were to join the mix.

So, unless something drastically changes in the coming weeks, I don’t see anything happening between the two sides.

 

 

#RedSox Reportedly Sign Former Chicago White Sox Reliever Zach Putnam to Minor League Contract.

On the same day they signed RHP Erasmo Ramirez to a minor league deal, the Red Sox made another minor move on Tuesday, as they signed former White Sox reliever Zach Putnam to a minor league contract as well, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. It is not clear if this deal includes a Major League invitation to spring training at the time this is being written.

Putnam, 31, missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery while with Chicago in early 2017.

A former fifth round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians back in 2008, Putnam provided the White Sox with stability out of the bullpen over the course of his four-year tenure with the club.

In 139.1 innings of relief from 2014 to 2017, the right-hander posted a 2.71 ERA and 1.18 WHIP to go along with a solid 9.6 K/9 ratio.

A native of Michigan, Putnam also, “posted a gaudy 16.1 percent swinging-strike rate,” and limited hard contact to the tune of an 27.2 opponents’ hard-hit rate in his time on the South Side, according to MLBTradeRumors.com

Given the circumstances, I would say this move has the makings to be a low risk-high reward signing for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox.

According to FanGraphs, Putnam was the 48th best reliever in the American League  in terms of fWAR (1.6) from 2014 to 2017.

I understand that he is older now than he was in that span and is coming off major shoulder surgery, but it would not be a surprise to me at all that come June or July, Putnam is up and contributing to the Red Sox’ cause out of the bullpen.

#RedSox Reportedly Agree to Terms on a Minor League Deal with RHP Erasmo Ramirez.

On Tuesday afternoon, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported that the Boston Red Sox and free agent RHP Erasmo Ramirez were ”nearing’ an agreement on a minor league contract for the 2019 season.

A few hours later, SoxProspects.com updated their transactions log with the news that the two sides had agreed to a contract. Although nothing has been confirmed by the Red Sox themselves, I’m going to go ahead and run with this deal being official.

Ramirez, 28, had spent the last season and a half with the Seattle Mariners, the team that originally signed him as an international free agent out of El Salvador back in 2007.

A native of Nicaragua, Ramirez posted a 6.50 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 10 games started and 45.2 innings pitched with Seattle in 2018.

Those numbers may not look promising, but one positive from the right-hander’s 2018 campaign was a three-start stretch in August where he surrendered just three total earned runs in 16 innings of work. The Mariners went unbeaten in those three games.

Electing free agency after being outrighted from Seattle’s 40-man roster in November, Ramirez is capable of providing the Red Sox with both rotation and bullpen depth in the minors. He also received an invitation to Major League spring training.

I can’t imagine the chances of seeing Ramirez up with Boston in 2019 are all that high, but I do believe that this is a solid depth signing nonetheless.

It also looks like the veteran hurler got married on Tuesday, so congratulations to him on that.

Rough translation: Congratulations were married || to Erasmus Ramirez, who just the day he reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox, also marries. An interesting coincidence. Greetings and blessings.