Red Sox designate relief prospect Franklin German for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring Richard Bleier from the Marlins for Matt Barnes and cash considerations on Monday. They cleared that spot by designating relief prospect Franklin German for assignment.

German, 25, was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking seventh among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox originally acquired the right-hander from the Yankees alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021.

After beginning the 2021 minor-league season as a starter with Double-A Portland, German ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. That success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned German a promotion to Triple-A Worcester last May.

In 32 relief appearances with the WooSox, German posted a 2.58 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. He pitched to a miniscule 1.54 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .431 OPS against from July 6 through September 14, which resulted in him getting called up by the Red Sox three days later.

German got lit up for four runs while failing to record an out in his big-league debut against the Royals at Fenway Park. He then allowed runs in his next three outings before ending his season with a scoreless appearance against the Blue Jays on October 2. All told, the righty posted an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) to go along with four strikeouts and four walks.

Despite the rough showing in his first go-around at the big-league level, German was named the 2022 Red Sox Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year after forging a 2.72 ERA and 64:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 appearances (49 2/3 innings) between Portland and Worcester. He also compiled a 1.88 ERA (three earned runs in 14 1/3 innings) for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League.

The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive German, who took part in the club’s rookie development program last week. Given that he does not turn 26 until September and still has three minor-league options, it seems likely that German will draw trade interest from other teams in need of relief help.

Though he lacks major-league experience, German does possess a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound hurler hovered around 97.7 mph with his four-seamer last season, per Baseball Savant.

It comes as somewhat of a surprise that German lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster given his standing as an intriguing prospect. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, though, the decision to designate German shows that the Red Sox are high on (and do not want to risk losing) other relievers like Ryan Brasier, Zack Kelly, Wyatt Mills, and Kaleb Ort.

(Picture of Franklin German: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire lefty reliever Richard Bleier from Marlins for Matt Barnes

The Red Sox have acquired left-handed reliever Richard Bleier from the Marlins in exchange for right-hander Matt Barnes and cash considerations, the club announced earlier Monday evening. In order to make room for Bleier on the 40-man roster, righty Franklin German was designated for assignment.

Bleier, who turns 36 in April, comes over to the Red Sox after spending the previous two-plus seasons with the Marlins. The lefty posted a 3.55 ERA and 3.27 FIP with 32 strikeouts to 10 walks in 55 relief appearances (50 2/3 innings pitched) for Miami last year.

A native of Miami Beach, Bleier was college teammates with Chris Sale at Florida Gulf Coast University before being selected by Texas in the sixth round of the 2008 amateur draft. He spent time in the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Nationals organizations before breaking in with the Yankees in 2016. After one season in the Bronx, Bleier was traded to the Orioles in February 2017. He established himself as a solid reliever in parts of three seasons with Baltimore and was traded to Miami in August 2020.

All told, Bleier owns a lifetime 3.06 ERA and 3.49 FIP with 171 strikeouts to 49 walks in 308 career appearances (two starts) spanning 299 2/3 innings of work seasons between the Yankees, Orioles, and Marlins. He has proven to be particularly effective against left-handed hitters in his seven big-league seasons, as evidenced by the fact that lefties have hit just .225/.260/.313 off him in his career. That includes a .676 OPS against in 2022.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Bleier operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, a cutter, a slider, a changeup, and a rarely-used four-seam fastball that typically sits between 90-91 mph. Last year, the veteran southpaw ranked in the 94th percentile of all major-league pitchers in walk rate (4.5 percent), the 90th percentile in barrel rate (4.5 percent), and the 77th percentile in chase rate (32.3 percent), per Baseball Savant.

Bleier is under contract for $3.5 million in 2023. He also has a $3.75 million club option for 2024 that comes with a $250,000 buyout, so the Red Sox have control over him for the next two seasons. Boston was in need of a left-handed reliever after trading Darwinzon Hernandez to the Orioles and Josh Taylor to the Royals in recent weeks.

The addition of Bleier is just the latest to what figures to be a new-look Red Sox bullpen in 2023. Since the hot stove season began in November, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have signed veterans like Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodriguez while acquiring Wyatt Mills from Kansas City and trading away Barnes, Hernandez, and Taylor. Bleier and Rodriguez now project as the top two lefty options available out of the bullpen for manager Alex Cora heading into the spring.

In finding a trade partner for Barnes, the Red Sox were able to offload some the 32-year-old’s salary for this coming season. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston is sending a little more than $5.5 million to Miami in this deal to cover part of Barnes’ $7.5 million salary for 2023 (and his $2.25 million club option for 2024). For competitive balance tax purposes, the Red Sox will be taking on approximately $9.25 million ($3.75 million for Bleier plus $5.5 million for Barnes), which represents a slight decrease from the $9.375 million Barnes would have cost on his own.

Barnes, who turns 33 in June, briefly held the title as the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox after Xander Bogaerts left for the Padres in free agency last month. He was expected to have an important role in the Red Sox bullpen in 2023 after a strong finish to his 2022 campaign, but he instead lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster when the signing of Adam Duvall was made official last Tuesday.

That Barnes was traded comes as somewhat of a surprise, but the former All-Star will now have the chance to bounce back with a new organization. The Red Sox originally selected Barnes with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Connecticut. He debuted for Boston in 2014 and currently ranks second in franchise history in both career relief appearances and relief strikeouts.

To begin the 2022 season, Barnes struggled to a 7.94 ERA (5.29 FIP) in his first 20 outings. The Red Sox placed him on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation in early June. Upon returning to action in early August, Barnes proceeded to put up a far more encouraging 1.59 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 20 strikeouts to nine walks over 24 outings (22 2/3 innings) to close out the year.

Despite those improved results, some within the Red Sox organization “believe Barnes’ late-season showing was not as impressive as the numbers show,” according to Cotillo. While Barnes was initially expected to be a key part of Boston’s bullpen in 2023, Cotillo reports that the club “plans on prioritizing flexibility when it comes to its bullpen,” meaning younger pitchers with minor-league options — such as Mills or Kaleb Ort — took precedence over Barnes.

Barnes becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to jettison the organization this winter, joining other mainstays such as Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi, who all signed elsewhere in free agency. With Barnes’ departure, Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale are now the only three players remaining from Boston’s 2018 World Series championship team.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Red Sox surprisingly designate Matt Barnes for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of outfielder Adam Duvall on Tuesday. They did so in surprising fashion by designating reliever Matt Barnes for assignment.

Barnes, 33, briefly held the distinction of being the longest tenured member of the Red Sox after Xander Bogaerts left for the Padres in free agency last month. The right-hander was originally selected by Boston with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Connecticut.

After starting in college and in the minor-leagues, Barnes broke in with the Red Sox as a reliever towards the tail end of the 2014 season. It took the young hurler some time to find his footing at the big-league level, but he established himself as a consistent presence in Boston’s bullpen by leading the team in relief appearances (62) in 2016.

Barnes made 62 or more appearances per season from 2016-2019. During Boston’s run to a World Series title in 2018, the righty yielded just one earned run over 8 1/3 innings of relief that October.

On the heels of the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Barnes got his 2021 campaign off to a scorching start. Through the end of July, he owned a 2.30 ERA with 66 strikeouts to 11 walks with 23 saves in 27 opportunities. By that point in time, he had already played in his first All-Star Game and had signed a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension that included a club option for 2024.

Barnes began to struggle down the stretch, however, as he posted a 9.26 ERA from August 1 through the end of the season and lost the closer’s role. He was also left off Boston’s American League Championship Series roster. Those struggles carried over into 2022 as well. In his first 20 appearances (17 innings) of the season), Barnes got shelled to the tune of a 7.94 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 12 walks.

The Red Sox placed Barnes on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation on June 1. He did not return to the big-league club until early August and proceeded to put up a far more encouraging 1.59 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 20 strikeouts to nine walks over 24 outings (22 2/3 innings) to close out the year.

Despite those improved results, some within the Red Sox organization “believe Barnes’ late-season showing was not as impressive as the numbers show,” according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. While Barnes was initially expected to have an important role within Boston’s bullpen in 2023, Cotillo reports that the club “plans on prioritizing flexibility when it comes to its bullpen,” meaning pitchers with minor-league options — such as Kaleb Ort or Wyattt Mills — now take precedence over Barnes.

Barnes, who turns 33 in June, currently ranks second in Red Sox history in both career relief appearances and relief strikeouts. Boston will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Barnes, who has the ability to reject an outright assignment since he has already accrued more than five years of major-league service time.

If the Red Sox are unable to find a trade partner for Barnes, they will be on the hook for his $7.5 million salary in 2023 as well as the $2.25 million buyout that is attached to his club option for 2024. If Barnes clears waivers and becomes a free agent, he could be had by another team for only the prorated league minimum.

With Barnes’ anticipated departure, Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale are now the only three players remaining from the Red Sox’ 2018 World Series championship team.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Adam Duvall signing official, designate Matt Barnes for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed outfielder Adam Duvall to a one-year contract for the 2023 season, the club announced earlier Tuesday evening. In order to make room for Duvall on the 40-man roster, reliever Matt Barnes was designated for assignment.

Duvall initially agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with Boston last week. As was previously reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald and Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, the 34-year-old can earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses (based on number of plate appearances), meaning he can receive a maximum of $10 million in 2023.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons between the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins, Duvall projects as the Red Sox’ new primary center fielder with Enrique Hernandez moving to the infield in the wake of Trevor Story undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month. The right-handed hitter batted .213/.276/.401 with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 21 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 86 games (315 plate appearances) for Atlanta last season before being shut down in July with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required surgery.

Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. The Kentucky native broke in with San Francisco during the 2014 season and was then traded to Cincinnati the following July. In his first full season with the Reds (2016), Duvall hit 33 home runs and was named to his first All-Star team. He hit 31 more homers in 2017 and was subsequently dealt to the Braves at the 2018 trade deadline.

After 2 1/2 seasons with the Braves, Duvall became a free agent for the first time and signed with the Marlins in February 2021 only to be traded back to Atlanta five months later. Between the two National League East rivals, he slashed .228/.281/.491 with a career-best 38 home runs and league-leading 113 RBIs in 146 games. He also helped the Braves win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his work in right field.

While 2022 was considered a down year for Duvall, the Red Sox have every reason to believe he will bounce back in 2023. It certainly helps that his swing should play at Fenway Park, where he is a lifetime .333 (6-for-18) hitter with four home runs in four career games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Defensively, Duvall has past experience at all three outfield spots. When it comes to center field in particular, though, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder has accrued four defensive runs saved and five outs above average across 593 2/3 career innings at the position. Last year, he ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5), the 79th percentile in arm strength (averaged 89.1 mph on his throws), the 74th percentile in outfield jump, and the 67th percentile in sprint speed, per Baseball Savant.

Duvall, who does not turn 35 until September, completes a new-look Red Sox outfield mix that already includes Masataka Yoshida, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran. Hernandez, of course, could man center field on days Duvall sits.

In addition to signing Duvall and designating Barnes for assignment on Tuesday, the Red Sox also acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later from the Royals in exchange for lefty reliever Josh Taylor.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Connor Seabold for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster before making the signing of veteran starter Corey Kluber official on Thursday afternoon. They did so by designating fellow right-hander Connor Seabold for assignment.

Seabold, who turns 27 later this month, was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranked seventh among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox originally acquired the California native from the Phillies alongside Nick Pivetta in the August 2020 trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia.

For the better part of the last two seasons, Seabold has served as upper-minors rotation depth for the Red Sox. He posted a 3.50 ERA in 11 starts (54 innings) for Triple-A Worcester in 2021 and followed that up by producing a 3.32 ERA in 19 starts (86 2/3 innings) with the WooSox in 2022.

Unfortunately, that success has not translated to the major-league level as of yet. Seabold made his big-league debut in September 2021 and made five additional starts for Boston last season. In those six outings, the righty allowed 25 earned runs on 38 hits, 10 walks, and 19 strikeouts over 21 1/3 cumulative innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 10.55 and FIP of 6.82.

Seabold has dealt with his fair share of injuries in his time with the Red Sox organization. He was sidelined with right elbow inflammation during the early stages of the 2021 campaign and spent time on the injured list with a pectoral strain and right forearm extensor strain in 2022. Perhaps as a result of those arm issues, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound hurler averaged just 92.1 mph on his four-seam fastball in the majors, per Baseball Savant.

With the addition of Kluber, the Red Sox have only further bolstered a starting rotation mix that already included Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello, James Paxton, and Tanner Houck. When you add others like Josh Winckowski, Kutter Crawford, Bryan Mata, Chris Murphy, and Brandon Walter, Seabold undoubtedly became more expandable.

The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Seabold, who has one minor-league option year remaining and could be of interest to other clubs as a result. If he clears waivers, the Red Sox would be able keep Seabold in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Regardless of his fate, though, Seabold becomes the latest in a long line of players to be lopped off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster this winter. He joins the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Yu Chang, Franchy Cordero, Tyler Danish, Jeter Downs, Eric Hosmer, and — most recently — Darwinzon Hernandez.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade Darwinzon Hernandez to Orioles for cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded reliever Darwinzon Hernandez to the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Hernandez, 26, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for newly signed infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner.

Boston originally signed Hernandez for just $7,500 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2013. The Ciudad Bolivar native established himself as arguably the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox farm system before making his major-league debut at the age of 22 in April 2019.

Hernandez made one start for the Red Sox early on before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis that July . The left-hander posted a 4.32 ERA — but much more respectable 2.81 FIP — with 46 strikeouts to 20 walks over 27 relief appearances (25 innings) from that point forward to wrap up what was an otherwise solid rookie campaign.

Injuries and a bout with COVID-19 limited Hernandez to just seven outings during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. He bounced back by forging a 3.38 ERA (4.80 FIP) in 2021, but he did so while averaging exactly seven walks per nine innings.

This past spring, Hernandez failed to break camp with the Red Sox and instead began the 2022 season at Triple-A Worcester. The burly lefty was then forced to undergo surgery in May after suffering a torn right meniscus that kept him sidelined well into the summer. He made his return to the majors on July 14 got rocked for 16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings (21.60 ERA) before being sent down in mid-August.

While with the WooSox last year, Hernandez produced a 5.73 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 27 walks over 23 appearances (seven starts) spanning 33 innings of work. He returned to his home country this offseason to play winter ball for the Cardenales de Lara. There, he pitched to a 3.86 ERA to go along with 23 punchouts to nine walks across 16 1/3 frames of relief.

Hernandez, who does not turn 27 until next December, has one minor-league option remaining and is not yet eligible for salary arbitration. Those factors, as well as the fact that his pitch arsenal consists of a high-octane four-seam fastball, a mid-80s curveball, and a high-70s curveball, surely made the 6-foot-2, 255-pound southpaw appealing to a team such as the Orioles.

Although Hernandez has dealt with command issues in the past, he does own a career strikeout rate of 32.3% in parts of four big-league seasons. If Baltimore can harness his ability to induce swing-and-misses without giving up too many walks, perhaps Hernandez can get back on track with a new organization.

Hernandez becomes the latest former Red Sox prospect the Orioles have acquired in some capacity this winter. Last month, they signed right-hander Eduard Bazardo to a minor-league pact and selected fellow righty A.J. Politi in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. They also signed first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero to a split contract on Dec. 2.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate former top prospect Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner official on Friday afternoon. They cleared that spot by designating reliever Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment.

Hernandez, 26, originally signed with the Red Sox for just $7,500 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in August 2013. Despite receiving a modest signing bonus, it did not take the left-hander all that long to establish himself as arguably the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Heading into the 2019 season, Hernandez was ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 3 overall prospect. The Bolivar native made his major-league debut that April before making his first career start against the Rangers less than two months later.

Hernandez spent another month in the minor-leagues before being recalled again in mid-July. In 27 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen from that point forward, Hernandez posted a 4.32 ERA — but much more respectable 2.81 FIP — with 46 strikeouts to 20 walks over 25 innings of relief.

On the heels of a relatively strong rookie campaign, it appeared as though Hernandez had momentum heading into 2020. But a bout with COVID-19 in July and a left AC joint sprain in August limited him to just seven outings (8 1/3 innings) during the pandemic-shortened season.

To his credit, Hernandez bounced back in 2021 by making a career-high 48 relief appearances. While his 3.38 ERA and 29.7 strikeout rate were undoubtedly solid, Hernandez did walk 31 batters in 40 innings of work, which led to him having a 4.80 FIP.

With those discouraging peripherals in mind, Hernandez was left off Boston’s Opening Day roster last April and began the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. The burly lefty then sustained a torn right meniscus in May that required surgery. After a lengthy recovery period, he returned to the Red Sox in July but struggled to the tune of a 21.60 ERA (16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings) before being sent back down in August.

Hernandez did not fare much better with the WooSox down the stretch, as he yielded nine runs (eight earned) with 10 strikeouts to nine walks across nine appearances (eight innings) through the end of the minor-league season. He returned to his home country this offseason and produced a 3.86 ERA in 19 outings (16 1/3 innings) for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League, but he still issued nine walks to the 74 batters he faced in that time frame.

Given his well-documented control issues (32.3 percent career walk rate in 85 1/3 big-league innings) , it seems as though the Red Sox were ready to move on from Hernandez if the occasion arose, as it did on Friday. Boston will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Hernandez, for his part, does not turn 27 until next December and still has one minor-league option remaining. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound southpaw also possesses upside in the form a high-octane four-seam fastball, a mid-80s slider, and a high-70s curveball. Taking all those factors into consideration, Hernandez could very well draw interest from a team in need of bullpen depth and be traded or claimed off waivers in the coming days.

Regardless of his fate, though, Hernandez becomes the latest in a long line of Red Sox players to be cut from the club’s 40-man roster this winter, joining the likes of Eric Hosmer, Jeter Downs, Tyler Danish, Eduard Bazardo, Abraham Almonte, Franchy Cordero, and Yu Chang.

After removing Hernandez and adding Turner on Friday, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity. They will need to clear another spot once the signing of veteran starter Corey Kluber is made official.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Justin Turner signing official, designate Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed infielder Justin Turner to a one-year contract for the 2023 season that includes a player option for 2024, the club announced on Friday. In order to make room for Turner on the 40-man roster, reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was designated for assignment.

Turner agreed to a one-year deal with Boston last month after spending the previous nine seasons with the Dodgers. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 38-year-old will receive a base salary of $8.3 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses. If Turner exercises his player option, he will lock himself into a $13.4 million salary for 2024. If he declines it, he would receive $6.7 million in the form of a buyout and become a free agent again next winter.

All told, Turner is guaranteed to make at least $15 million in 2023. If he returns via the player option in 2024, the deal would be worth $21.7 million over the next two seasons and would max out at $22.7 million if he hits on his incentive bonuses. For luxury tax purposes, the average annual value of Turner’s contract comes out to $10.85 million, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Turner became a free agent in November after the Dodgers declined his $16 million club option for 2023. In 128 games for Los Angeles last year, the right-handed hitter batted .278/.350/.438 with 36 doubles, 13 home runs, 81 RBIs, 61 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 89 strikeouts over 532 plate appearance. From May 10 through the end of the season, he slashed .306/.388/.488 with 12 homers and 68 runs driven in across 102 games.

In signing with the Red Sox, Turner is expected to take over as the club’s primary designated hitter after J.D. Martinez left for the Dodgers in free agency. The 5-foot-11, 202-pounder could also serve as a right-handed hitting complement to Rafael Devers and Triston Casas — who both hit from the left side of the plate — at third base (his natural position) and first base, respectively.

Turner, who does not turn 39 until November, was originally selected by Cincinnati in the seventh round of the 2006 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton. After bouncing around between the Reds, Orioles, and Mets organizations, the Long Beach native found a home with the Dodgers in 2014. During his decorated tenure in Los Angeles, Turner was selected to two All-Star teams (2017 and 2021) and won his first World Series title in 2020. He was also the recipient of the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award.

Hernandez, on the other hand, lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster in order to accommodate the addition of Turner. The 26-year-old left-hander was once considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system but has struggled to find his footing on a consistent basis since debuting in 2019.

This past season, Hernandez allowed 16 earned runs over seven appearances (6 2/3 innings) at the major-league level. With Triple-A Worcester, the Venezuelan-born southpaw posted a 5.73 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 27 walks over 23 outings (one start) spanning 33 innings of work. For his big-league career, he owns a lifetime 5.06 ERA in 85 1/3 innings.

Hernandez does not turn 27 until December and still has one minor-league option remaining, so he could be of interest to other teams in need of relief help. With that being said, the Red Sox will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Justin Turner: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Red Sox release Eric Hosmer

The Red Sox have officially released first baseman Eric Hosmer, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Hosmer, 33, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals.

Boston originally acquired Hosmer — as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson — from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with a boost at first base, but he was limited to just 14 games with the club due to low back inflammation that kept him sidelined from late August until early October. During that time, top prospect Triston Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well enough to establish himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman heading into the 2023 season.

As chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo over the weekend, the Red Sox designated Hosmer for assignment with Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — at the forefront of their future plans.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” Bloom said. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

According to Cotillo, the Red Sox “worked hard” to trade Hosmer in recent weeks but were ultimately unable to find a partner. Hosmer opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month, so the acquiring team would be getting three years of control. Once he was designated for assignment, it became a foregone conclusion that Hosmer would be released since the team that claimed him would then be on the hook for the aforementioned last three years of his deal.

Now that he has cleared waivers and has been cut loose by the Red Sox, Hosmer — who is represented by Scott Boras — is free to sign elsewhere. Per Cotillo, whichever club signs Hosmer will only be responsible for the league minimum salary next year while the Padres pick up the rest of the tab.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose Jeter Downs on waivers to Nationals

The Red Sox have lost infielder Jeter Downs on waivers to the Nationals, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Downs, 24, was designated for assignment last week after the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the addition of Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida.

Boston originally acquired Downs — as well as outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Connor Wong — from the Dodgers in the February 2020 trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. The native Colombian came into the Red Sox organization as one of its top prospects and a top-100 prospect in all of baseball, but he has since seen his stock fall significantly.

After the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 minor-league season, Downs did not make his organizational debut until last spring with Triple-A Worcester. The right-handed hitter struggled to the tune of a .191/272/.333 slash line to go along with 14 home runs, 39 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases over 99 games (405 plate appearances) with the WooSox in 2021. He then showed some signs of promise in the Arizona Fall League and was subsequently added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November.

Downs returned to Worcester this past season and batted .197/.316/.412 with 16 home runs and 33 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases across 81 games (335 plate appearances). He made his major-league debut in June, but he went just 6-for-39 (.154) at the plate with one double and one home run while punching out in 51.2% of his plate appearances. Downs was sent back down to the WooSox in late July and then suffered a season-ending left ankle sprain on August 18.

The Red Sox, for their part, remained intrigued by Downs’ speed and power and were encouraged by the defensive improvements he has made since being traded. At the same time, though, his high swing-and-miss rates were certainly concerning and were part of the reason why the club ultimately elected to cut him loose.

“This was a tough one,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of the decision to designate Downs last week. “The fact that he was in a position where we considered him and chose him to be designated, I think just speaks to some of the struggles we’ve had getting him on track. I still think there’s a lot of physical ability there but we haven’t been able to unlock it consistently. Certainly know he’s still young and there’s no reason to write him off but he has obviously had some struggles.”

In being claimed by the Nationals, Downs will now be joining his fourth pro organization. He was first drafted by the Reds in 2017 and was then traded to the Dodgers in 2018 before being dealt to the Red Sox in early 2020. Downs does have two minor-league options remaining, so he could be shuttled between Washington and its Triple-A affiliate in 2023.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)