Red Sox designate Kevin Plawecki for assignment, call up Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox designated catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment prior to Saturday’s 9-0 loss to the Royals. In a corresponding move, reliever Franklin German had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after first signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. While primarily serving as a backup to Christian Vazquez, the right-handed hitter slashed .305/.364/.414 with four home runs and 32 RBIs over 89 games in his first two seasons with the club.

While that sort of production earned Plawecki additional playing time during the Sox’ postseason run last October, his numbers have taken a hit this year. Coming into play on Saturday, Plawecki was batting just .217/.287/.287 to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games spanning 175 trips to the plate.

On the other side of things, Plawecki had established himself as a quality game-caller who was well-liked among the Red Sox pitching staff. That being said, he only managed to throw out four of 44 base stealers this season.

Taking those factors, as well as the fact that he is slated to become a free-agent this off-season, into consideration, the Red Sox elected to move on from Plawecki now since he is not in their future plans.

With only 17 games remaining on the schedule, the Sox want to give younger backstops such as Connor Wong and Reese McGuire as many opportunities to catch as possible. Wong, 26, is under club control through 2027 while McGuire, 27, is under club control through 2025.

“We’ve got to be thinking about the future,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday. “Reese and Connor, they’re going to be catching a lot the rest of the season.”

German can now also be considered part of Boston’s future plans after making his big-league debut and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sunday. The right-hander allowed four runs on two hits and two walks without recording an out in the sixth inning, but he is still viewed as one of the more intriguing relief prospects in the organization.

The Red Sox acquired German and Adam Ottavino from the Yankees last January. The former fourth-round draft selection began the 2021 campaign in Double-A Portland’s starting rotation but has not looked back since becoming a full-time reliever.

Upon making the jump from Portland to Worcester in late May, German posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.36 FIP with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 32 relief appearances (38 1/3 innings) for the WooSox. He held opposing hitters to a .153 batting average against.

German, who turns 25 later this month, becomes the sixth different Red Sox player to make their major-league debut this season, joining the likes of Brayan Bello, Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Zack Kelly, and Josh Winckowski. He will wear the No. 71.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Jeurys Familia elects free agency after being outrighted by Red Sox

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox outrighted veteran reliever Jeurys Familia off their major-league roster on Friday. Rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, Familia elected to become a free-agent, the club announced.

Familia, who turns 33 next month, originally signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March after spending the bulk of his big-league career with the Mets.

The right-hander struggled to a 6.09 ERA and 4.88 FIP in 38 relief appearances (34 innings) with Philadelphia before being released in early August. Shortly thereafter, the Red Sox inked Familia to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Worcester. He made just one appearance for the WooSox before having his contract selected on Aug. 13.

Four days later, Familia made his Boston debut against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He gave up one run on three hits in the ninth inning of an 8-3 win, signaling that the difficulties he endured with the Phillies may have carried over to the Red Sox.

Including that performance, Familia posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.14 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings (10 1/3 innings) with Boston. His Red Sox tenure ended on a sour note, as he issued three walks (one intentional) and surrendered a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

When taking questions from the media in front of his locker afterwards, Familia revealed that he had been designated for assignment. The Red Sox made that move official on Wednesday while also adding recently-claimed infielder Yu Chang to the active roster.

Though he could have elected to try and sign with another team before season’s end, Familia told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) that he was instead going to return home to the Dominican Republic to prepare for 2023.

“I’m going to have to take some time off and rest a little bit and then get back to work so I can be ready for next year,” Familia said through interpreter Carlos Villora Benítez.

In his time with the Phillies and Red Sox this season, Familia walked nearly 11 percent of the batters he faced. That ranks in the 15th percentile among qualified major-league pitchers, per Baseball Savant.

“I’ve fallen behind the hitters too much,” said Familia. “When you fall behind the hitters, [there’s a] 90 percent chance the hitter gets on base. I haven’t been able to command my pitches.”

Familia, who broke in with the Mets in 2012 and emerged as an All-Star closer during his time in New York, took note of how difficult it can be for a reliever to go through a rough stretch when they are only being used sparingly. Prior to Tuesday’s outing, for instance, Familia last pitched on September 5.

“Even though they’re struggles I’ve been having the whole season, it’s even more difficult when you pitch and then you have six or seven days off and have to go there and battle,” Familia said. “It’s harder when you’re not pitching day in and day out. It’s not an excuse at all or anything like that. It’s just how it works.”

While Familia’s 2022 season was nothing short of ugly, the 32-year-old c0uld very well bounce back with another team in 2023. That said, he will likely have to entertain minor-league offers this winter in order to make that happen.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Yu Chang activated, Jeurys Familia designated for assignment, Jaylin Davis outrighted

The Red Sox made a series of roster moves before wrapping up a quick two-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, was added to the active roster. To make room on the 28-man roster for Chang, veteran reliever Jeurys Familia was officially designated for assignment.

Additionally, outfielder Jaylin Davis, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Chang, 27, will be playing for his fourth team this season. The Taiwan native began the year with the Guardians before being traded to the Pirates for cash considerations in late May. He was then designated for assignment by Pittsburgh and claimed by Tampa Bay in early July.

Between the three clubs, Chang has batted .236/.278/.349 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (164 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed a more respectable .260/.305/.385 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 36 games (105 plate appearances with the Rays.

Chang originally signed with the Guardians for $500,000 as an international free agent coming out of Taitung in June 2013. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was once regarded as one of the top prospects in Cleveland’s farm system but he has not been able to find his footing at the big-league level.

That being said, the Red Sox still took a chance on Chang and his versatility likely played a role in that since he has experience at all four infield positions. Since he is out of minor-league options, though, Boston will need to keep Chang on its active roster if it does not intend on exposing him to waivers.

Chang, who will wear the No. 12 with the Sox, is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, but he should be available off the bench if needed.

Familia, on the other hand, saw his Red Sox tenure come to an end on Tuesday night after a disastrous 10th inning against the Yankees. The right-hander loaded the bases with two outs before giving up a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres that lifted New York to a 7-6 victory.

After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March, Familia struggled to a 6.09 ERA in 38 appearances before being cut loose by Philadelphia in early August. The former All-Star closer then inked a minors pact with the Red Sox before having his contract selected on Aug. 9.

Since joining Boston’s bullpen, Familia has posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.15 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings spanning 10 1/3 innings of work. Tuesday’s performance was the last straw for the 32-year-old hurler, who made the announcement himself that he had been designated for assignment.

Given that he will likely clear waivers in the coming days, Familia said Tuesday night that he plans on returning home to the Dominican Republic to rest up and then prepare for whatever opportunities may present themselves next year.

UPDATE: Familia cleared waivers on Friday and rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency, the Red Sox announced.

By removing Familia and adding Chang, the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their active roster for the time being. They also have a vacancy on their 40-man roster.

Davis, meanwhile, was designated for assignment so that the Red Sox could add Chang to their 40-man roster on Monday. The 28-year-old was initially claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been removed from Boston’s 40-man roster on two separate occasions.

Each time, Davis cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to Worcester, where he is batting .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games with the WooSox. In two stints with Boston, the right-handed hitter has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. 

(Picture of Yu Chang: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Jeurys Familia for assignment

The Red Sox have designated Jeurys Familia for assignment, the veteran reliever told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) following Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Familia, 32, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox after being released by the Phillies in early August. The right-hander had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester on Aug. 13 and made his Boston debut four days later.

Since then, Familia has posted a dismal 6.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief appearances (10 1/3 innings) for the Sox. The Dominican-born hurler was tagged for three runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s loss.

Given his struggles with the Red Sox and Phillies this season, Familia will likely clear waivers in the coming days. He relayed to NESN’s Jahmai Webster that he planned on returning home to continue working so he will be ready for whatever opportunities are ahead in 2023.

By designating Familia for assignment, the Red Sox have created an opening on both their 28- and 40-man roster. Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, will take Familia’s spot on the active roster, according to Cotillo.

This means that the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their big-league roster for the time being. It also means that they will carry 39 players on their 40-man roster.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim Yu Chang off waivers from Rays, designate Jaylin Davis for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed infielder Yu Chang off waivers from the Rays. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jaylin Davis was designated for assignment, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Chang, 27, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Friday and has also played for the Guardians and Pirates this season. Across 58 games between the three clubs, the right-handed hitter has batted .216/.280/.324 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 164 total plate appearances. That includes a .260/.305/.385 slash line in which he hit three home runs in 36 games (105 plate appearances) with Tampa Bay.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Chang originally signed with Cleveland for $500,000 as a highly-touted international free-agent coming out of Taiwan in June 2013. He was once regarded by Baseball America as one of the top prospects in the Guardians farm system, but has come up short in displaying his tools on a consistent basis at the big-league level.

Defensively, Chang comes with experience at all four infield positions, so he should provide Boston with depth across the diamond. With the Rays, Chang saw the majority of his playing time (26 of 36 appearances) come at second base. That could be noteworthy when considering Trevor Story left Sunday’s 1-0 win over the Orioles in the seventh inning due to left heel pain.

Chang, who does not turn 28 until next August, is out of minor-league options, so he will have to stick with the Red Sox or will otherwise need to be exposed to waivers again if the club intends to remove him from the major-league roster. On that note, the Taitung native is technically under team control through the end of the 2025 campaign.

As for Davis, the Red Sox initially claimed the 28-year-old waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been designated for assignment on two separate occasions.

In two stints with Boston this season, Davis has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. With Triple-A Worcester, the right-handed hitter has slashed .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games.

The Red Sox will have the next seven days to place Davis on outright waivers or release waivers. Since he has previously been outrighted this season, Davis would have the ability to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency in the event he clears waivers once again.

(Picture of Yu Chang: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

The Red Sox have outrighted reliever Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Sawamura, like Austin Davis, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could shake up their bullpen and call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester. While Davis has since been claimed by the Twins, Sawamura has cleared waivers and will remain in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

The 34-year-old righty out of Japan originally signed a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball. The contract also included a dual player/club option for 2023.

In 49 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, Sawamura posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 50 2/3 innings of work. That includes a 6.46 ERA in 15 outings since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA in 26 outings at Fenway Park. The 6-foot, 212-pound hurler currently ranks in the ninth percentile in hard-hit rate (44.8%) and the seventh percentile in walk rate (12.2%), per Baseball Savant.

Since making his major-league debut last spring, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA (4.59 FIP) across 104 appearances (103 2/3 innings) with Boston. He will now provide the club with experienced bullpen depth in Worcester through the end of the season.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Sawamura’s dual option for next season is still intact. The club option is worth $3.7 million, meaning the Red Sox can bring him back for that price in 2023. If they decline, Sawamura can then exercise a $1.9 million player option to return or decline it and be paid $1 million in the form of a buyout. If Sawamura is back with the Sox in some capacity next spring, he will still not count towards the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose Austin Davis on waivers to Twins

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have lost left-hander Austin Davis on waivers to the Twins, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Davis and fellow reliever Hirokazu Sawamura were both officially designated for assignment on Monday, allowing Boston to call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester in order to bolster a struggling bullpen.

The Red Sox originally acquired Davis from the Pirates in exchange for infielder Michael Chavis ahead of last July’s trade deadline. The 29-year-old southpaw made 19 relief appearances for Boston down the stretch last season and unsurprisingly made the Opening Day roster earlier this spring.

To begin his first full season with the Sox, Davis got off to a promising start by posting a 2.16 ERA and 3.45 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 16 walks over 31 outings (two starts) spanning 33 1/3 innings of work through July 7. He put up those numbers while holding opposing hitters to a .202/.309/.294 slash line against.

From that point forward, however, Davis’ season took a turn for the worst. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty struggled to the tune of a 10.71 ERA and 4.74 FIP to go along with 25 strikeouts to 13 walks across his next 19 appearances (one start) and 21 innings pitched. Not even shaving his beard could prevent him from surrendering four runs (two earned) to the Rays in Sunday’s 12-4 loss at Fenway Park.

That would prove to be Davis’ final appearance in a Red Sox uniform. The Arizona native is out of minor-league options, meaning the club had no choice but to designate him for assignment in order to remove him from the roster. Teams have until 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday to add postseason-eligible players to their roster, so it now appears as though Davis could be part of Minnesota’s October plans if the Twins make it that far.

With that being said, it should be interesting to see if Davis makes his Twins debut in Wednesday’s series finale against the Red Sox at Target Field.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester; Austin Davis, Hirokazu Sawamura designated for assignment

UPDATE: This is now official. The Red Sox have called up Kelly and Ort from Triple-A Worcester and have designated Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the club announced before Monday’s series opener against the Twins.

Kelly will wear the No. 76, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to do so and the first since Hector Velazquez donned the number from 2017-2019.

After designating Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment on Sunday, the Red Sox are expected to call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, according to multiple reports.

Kelly and Ort will join the Red Sox and their new-look bullpen in Minnesota ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field. The former will need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster while the latter is already on it.

When Kelly gets into a game, it will mark his major-league debut. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons in the Red Sox organization after originally signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. Prior to that, Kelly had gone undrafted out of Division II Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.) and signed with the Athletics for just $500 in January 2017.

After splitting time between the Athletics and Angels organizations, Kelly suffered an elbow injury in the spring of 2020 that would ultimately require surgery. He was released by Los Angeles that May in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Since then, however, Kelly has only seen his stock rise. The native Virginian posted a 2.18 ERA over 36 appearances (45 1/3 innings) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year and leveraged that performance into his first-ever invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November.

With the WooSox this season, Kelly has pitched to a stellar 2.72 ERA and 2.81 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks over 44 relief appearances spanning 49 2/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s cutter.

Ort, who debuted for Boston last September, has produced a 9.00 ERA and 4.06 FIP with 13 strikeouts and seven walks across 12 outings (15 innings) at the major-league level this season. The Red Sox originally acquired the 30-year-old from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Frequently pitching behind Kelly in Worcester, Ort owns a 2.88 ERA (2.68 FIP) in 39 appearances for the WooSox this year. He has put up those numbers while converting 16 of a possible 18 save opportunities.

When Davis and Sawamura are officially designated for assignment and Kelly and Ort are officially called up, the Red Sox will have 26 players on their 26-man roster and 39 players on their 40-man roster. At this point in time, it is not yet known how they will use that open spot.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, per report

In addition to Austin Davis, the Red Sox are also designating right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Sawamura, like Davis, pitched in relief of Nick Pivetta in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park. The 34-year-old hurler was tagged for three runs on four hits, two walks, and one strikeout on 37 pitches (22 strikeouts) in a rough sixth inning.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Sawamura has posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 49 appearances spanning 50 2/3 innings of work for Boston. That includes an underwhelming 6.46 ERA since the All-Star break.

The Red Sox originally signed Sawamura out of Japan last February. After spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Tochigi native inked a two-year. $3 million deal with Boston that included a dual player/club option as well as a buyout for the 2023 season.

Since then, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA and 1.44 WHIP to go along with 101 strikeouts and 59 walks across 104 relief outings (103 2/3 innings) at the big-league level.

Boston will have the next seven days to either place Sawamura on outright waivers or release waivers. If he goes unclaimed, the Red Sox would remain on the hook for the remainder of Sawamura’s salary this season, plus the buyout for 2023 that is now valued at $1 million.

By designating both Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the Sox have created two vacancies in their bullpen heading into Monday’s series opener against the Twins in Minnesota. They are expected to fill those holes by calling up right-handers Kaleb Ort and Zack Kelly from Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox to designate Austin Davis for assignment, per report

The Red Sox are going to designate left-hander Austin Davis for assignment before Monday’s game against the Twins in Minnesota, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings.

Davis, 29, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 3.95 FIP to go along with 61 strikeouts to 29 walks over 50 appearances (three starts) spanning 54 1/3 innings of work for the Red Sox this season.

Boston originally acquired Davis from the Pirates in the trade that sent Michael Chavis to Pittsburgh last July. Red Sox manager Alex Cora frequently turned to the lefty reliever during the latter half of the 2021 season and that remained to be the case this year.

To begin his first full season in Boston, Davis produced a solid 2.16 ERA and 3.46 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 16 walks across his first 31 outings (two starts) and 33 1/3 innings pitched through July 7. He was putting up those numbers while holding opposing hitters to a .202/.309/.294 slash line against.

Since July 8, however, Davis has struggled to the tune of a 10.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts to 13 walks in his last 19 appearances (one start) and 11 innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits, one walk, and one punchout over two innings of relief in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.

Davis, who turns 30 in February, is out of minor-league options. The Red Sox will have the next seven days to either outright or release the Arizona native. If he clears waivers, however, Davis could reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency since he has already accrued more than three years of big-league service time.

By designating Davis for assignment, the Red Sox have created an opening on both their 26- and 40-man rosters. It remains to be seen how they will fill those spots, though they are required to carry 13 pitchers until rosters expand on Thursday.

If the Sox elect to fill Davis’ vacancy with a reliever who is already on the 40-man roster, Darwinzon Hernandez and Kaleb Ort are potential options who are currently with Triple-A Worcester. Tyler Danish was just optioned to Worcester on Sunday so he can not be called back up for the next 15 days unless he is replacing an injured player.

If Chaim Bloom and Co. look beyond the 40-man roster for Davis’ replacement, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports that there is ‘a good chance’ right-hander Zack Kelly gets called up to replace Davis in the bullpen.

Kelly, 27, has spent the last two years in the Red Sox organization after signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. In 44 appearances for the WooSox this season, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler has pitched to a 2.72 ERA (2.81 FIP) with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks across 49 2/3 innings of work.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)