Red Sox outright right-hander Marcus Walden to Triple-A Worcester, add him to spring training roster

After being designated him for assignment last Wednesday, right-handed reliever Marcus Walden has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the Red Sox announced Monday afternoon.

Despite losing his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster, Walden has been added to the club’s major-league spring training roster.

The 32-year-old was initially DFA’d last week so that the Sox could clear a 40-man roster spot for veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez.

At that time, the Red Sox had seven days to either trade Walden, release him, or sneak him through waivers, which they ended up doing.

In 15 appearances out of the Boston bullpen last season, Walden struggled to the tune of a 9.45 ERA and 8.59 FIP over 13 1/3 innings pitched in two separate stints with the club.

Going into the 2020 campaign, the California native was coming off a solid showing in 2019 in which he compiled a 3.80 ERA and a 76:32 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 70 relief appearances spanning 78 innings of work.

Walden proved to be one of Alex Cora’s most reliable relievers in ’19, and the Red Sox manager recently acknowledged that it was a difficult decision to cut the righty.

“It’s a tough business,” Cora said last Thursday. “There are certain situations that we like the player, we like the person but it’s a tough one. He didn’t have the best season last year, but at the same time, there’s a lot of good arms out there. It’s tough to make a decision like that but it’s a decision you have to make.”

Walden ultimately returns to the Red Sox in a lesser capacity, but he remains with the organization nonetheless and will look to return to form with the WooSox to begin the 2021 season.

With the addition of Walden, Boston’s spring training roster now stands at approximately 72 players.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Franchy Cordero remain on the club’s COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Marcus Walden: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Marwin González signing official, designate Marcus Walden for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez to a one-year contract for the 2021 season, the team announced Wednesday evening.

In order to make room for Gonzalez on their 40-man roster, Boston also designated right-hander Marcus Walden for assignment.

Gonzalez and the Red Sox originally agreed to a one-year pact for 2021 a little less than two weeks ago.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Gonzalez — who turns 32 in March — will earn a base salary of $3 million this year with the chance to earn up to $1.1 million in additional performance bonuses. There is no player, club, or dual option for a potential second year.

The Venezuelan switch-hitter had spent the last two seasons with the Twins and put up a .248/.311/.387 slash line to go along with 20 home runs and 77 RBI over 167 total games played. He also saw time at every defensive position besides center field in his time with Minnesota.

That versatile aspect of Gonzalez’s game will surely carry over to Boston as well, as the 6-foot-1, 205 pounder could line up to play both corner outfield spots while also serving as a left-handed complement to the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base when needed.

With the additions of Gonzalez and Enrique Hernandez, both of whom are already familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the Sox have put themselves in a position where they are set up to a bevy of lineup combinations and defensive platoons depending on who they are going up against on a given day.

As for Walden, the move to designate him for assignment comes more than four years after he initially signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in December 2016.

Since then, the 32-year-old reliever has proven to be effective at the major-league level for an extended period of time.

Across 70 appearances out of the Boston bullpen in 2019, Walden posted a solid 3.81 ERA and 3.69 FIP over 78 total innings of work.

Coming off that successful campaign — his first full one in the majors — the California native figured to play an important role for the Sox in 2020, but he floundered to the tune of a disastrous 9.45 ERA and 8.59 FIP over 15 outings spanning 13 1/3 innings pitched in two separate big-league stints last year.

Even with a poor, truncated 2020 coming on the heels of a successful, full 2019, Walden’s leash appeared to be short as he is now without a 40-man roster spot for the time being.

The Sox will have seven days to either trade Walden, release him, or sneak him through waivers unless he is claimed by another club first.

With this transaction made, Boston’s 40-man roster remains at full capacity, which means more moves will need to be made in order to accommodate the likes of catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Franchy Cordero, both of whom remain on the team’s COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose right-hander Joel Payamps on waivers to Blue Jays

In the second-most prevalent roster move related to the Red Sox of the day, right-hander Joel Payamps was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays Wednesday evening, per MLB.com’s transaction wire.

Payamps, who turns 27 April, never pitched a game in a Red Sox uniform. He was originally claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks back in November before getting designated for assignment last week in order for Boston to make room on its 40-man roster for fellow righty Garrett Richards.

Because it took a full seven days for him to be claimed by another club, it appeared as though Payamps was on track to get outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, which would likely lead to him taking part in major-league spring training as a non-roster invite.

That is no longer the case, however, as the Dominican native joins the Blue Jays organization with less than a week to go until pitchers and catchers report to their respective spring training complexes.

Prior to briefly becoming a member of the Red Sox, Payamps had appeared in four total games for the D-backs over the last two seasons and had given up four runs (three earned) over seven total innings pitched at the big-league level. That’s good for an ERA of 3.86 for those keep tracking at home.

And while he is with the Blue Jays for the time being, MLB Trade Rumors’ Jeff Todd noted earlier that “it’s certainly possible [Payamps will] end up on the DFA carousel as teams compete to see who’ll be able to slip him through waivers in hopes of stashing him for depth.”

For what it’s worth, Payamps, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 225 lbs., still has one minor-league option left for 2021, if you were curious.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo was the first to report that Payamps had been claimed by Toronto.

(Picture of Joel Payamps: Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox claim right-hander Joel Payamps off waivers from Diamondbacks, designate Robert Stock

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Joel Payamps off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the club announced Wednesday.

In order to make room for Payamps on Boston’s 40-man roster, right-hander Robert Stock was designated for assignment. Righty Ryan Weber and left-hander Matt Hall were also outrighted to Triple-A Worcester.

Payamps, 26, had spent the previous two seasons with Arizona, appearing in a total of four games while allowing four runs (three earned) over seven total innings pitched in those appearances. He was designated for assignment last Friday.

The Dominican Republic native was originally signed by the Rockies as an international free agent in 2010 and has 145 career minor-league outings (119 starts) under his belt.

Per Statcast, Payamps utilizes a four-pitch mix that is comprised of a four-seam fastball, a slider, a sinker, and a changeup. He averaged 94.2 mph and topped out at 95.8 mph with his heater this past season.

With the addition of Payamps to the 40-man roster via a waiver claim, the Red Sox needed to create some room, and they did so by designating Stock.

The 31-year-old was initially claimed off waivers by Boston from the Phillies back on July 27.

In his debut season with the Sox, Stock posted a 4.73 ERA and 3.34 FIP over 10 appearances and 13 1/3 innings pitched spanning three separate stints with the big-league club.

Given the fact he can reach 99 mph with his heater, Stock may be someone that Boston would like to stash away in the minors for bullpen depth. The Washington native will of course have to clear waivers in order for that to happen, though.

As for Weber and Hall, the two hurlers who represented 40% of the Sox’ Opening Day rotation this year were outrighted to Triple-A after being designated for assignment on November 20.

Assuming both Weber and Hall accept their minor-league assignments as opposed to electing free agency, they too could provide integral swingman depth for the Red Sox since both are capable of starting and working out of the bullpen.

With Wednesday’s moves made, Boston’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity. Expect more transactions like this one to be made by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. as the offseason continues.

UPDATE: As pointed out by SoxProspects’ Chris Hatfield, Payamps is out of minor-league options, so the Red Sox could very well look to sneak him through waivers as they did with second baseman Christian Arroyo over the summer.

Former Red Sox Catcher Blake Swihart Released by Rangers

Former Red Sox catcher and top prospect Blake Swihart has been released by the Rangers, the club announced Tuesday.

Swihart, 28, originally signed a minor-league pact with Texas back in December after spending the first eight-plus years of his professional career with Boston.

Last April, the Red Sox designated Swihart, a former 2011 first-round draft pick, and dealt him to the Diamondbacks in exchange for outfield prospect Marcus Wilson.

The New Mexico native appeared in 30 games for Arizona from April 22 until May 31, going a measly 9-for-64 at the plate (.141) with three home runs and nine RBI before getting placed on the injured list with an oblique strain.

From there, Swihart was eventually activated from the IL on August 7, got into one game on August 11 against the Dodgers where he went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts off the bench, and was subsequently DFA’d a day later.

After clearing waivers and getting outrighted, the one-time University of Texas commit played 16 games and posted a .143/.234/.304 slash line for the DBacks’ Triple-A affiliate in Reno from the middle of August until the beginning of September. At that point, Swihart opted to become a free agent, leading to his joining the Rangers on a minor-league contract, as previously mentioned.

In his brief stint with Texas, Swihart had a decent spring training, going 5-for-16 at the plate with one home run and four RBI prior to the COVID-19-induced shutdown.

Assigned to the Rangers’ alternate training site last month, Swihart had been one of four non-roster backstops in Texas’ 60-man player pool.

Now a free agent for the second time in 11 months, Swihart will have the opportunity to sign wherever he so chooses depending on how much interest he garners on the open market.

Brewers Designate Former Red Sox Utiltyman Brock Holt for Assignment

The Brewers have designated former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt for assignment, the club announced Saturday.

After signing a one-year deal with Milwaukee back in February, Holt had gotten off to a tough start with his new club.

Through his first 16 games with the Brewers, the 32-year-old was 3-for-30 (.100) at the plate with one run scored and one RBI over 36 plate appearances while playing third base and both corner outfield positions.

Holt’s struggles thus far could be linked to the fact he sprained his ankle after stepping on a baseball before Opening Day. The Texas native has still been able to make a handful of fine defensive plays despite that ailment, but it was not enough to remain on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster moving forward.

As it goes with all players who get designated, Holt will either be claimed, traded, or clear waivers entirely within the next seven days. Because the former All-Star has more than three years of service time, he can reject an outright assignment and opt for free agency if he so chooses.

That possibility could open up a potential pathway for Holt to reunite with the Red Sox, the club he had spent the previous nine seasons with. Of course, that would likely only happen if he clears waivers and becomes a free agent, for I could not see Chaim Bloom and Co. using a 40-man roster spot on this version of Holt right now.

Red Sox Activate Darwinzon Herndandez From COVID-19 Related Injured List, Designate Christian Arroyo for Assignment

Before taking on the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, the Red Sox made yet another roster move, activating left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez from the 10-day COVID-19 related injured list and designating infielder Christian Arroyo for assignment.

Hernandez, 23, had been on the injured list since July 14 after testing positive for COVID-19 while at home in Venezuela.

Upon recovering from the virus, the southpaw reported to Fenway Park late last month for Summer Camp workouts and was subsequently shuttled down to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket to continue to build up his stamina.

While in Pawtucket, Hernandez had been getting stretched out and most recently worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in an intrasquad game this past Sunday.

Per Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Hernandez will likely be used as a bulk-inning reliever first before a potential move to the starting rotation is made towards the later stages of the 2020 season.

Because Hernandez was not counted towards Boston’s 40-man roster while he was on the IL, the Red Sox needed to clear a roster spot in order to activate the young hurler, hence the move, albeit a surprising one, to designate Arroyo.

Arroyo, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians last Thursday, was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list himself on Wednesday and appeared as if he would make his Red Sox debut in this series against the Orioles.

That outlook has since changed though, and I would have to imagine the Sox would like to see the 25-year-old former top prospect slip through waivers. If not, Arroyo’s tenure with the Red Sox was certainly a short one.

With this transaction made, the Sox’ 60-man player pool is now at 59, so the club has one open slot to work with there. Pretty solid breakdown from The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch on that matter here:

Red Sox’ Jonathan Lucroy Clears Waivers, Gets Outrighted to Club’s Alternate Training Site in Pawtucket

Three days after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox, veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket on Saturday.

Lucroy, 34, originally inked a minor-league deal with Boston back in February and was one of three backstops to make the club’s Opening Day roster late last month.

That being said, even despite enjoying a fair amount of success during spring training and Summer Camp, Lucroy got the short end of the stick in terms of playing time behind Christian Vazquez, as Kevin Plawecki emerged as the Sox’ true backup.

Prior to getting DFA’d, the two-time All-Star appeared in just one regular season game for Boston as a defensive replacement on Opening Day and never got an at-bat.

Now, after no other team put in a claim for him, Lucroy will remain with the Sox organization as serviceable roster depth at the catching position if he so chooses. Of course, seeing how he has accrued more than nine years of major-league service time, it would not shock me if Lucroy has the choice to become a free agent, either. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

For the time being, as the above tweet states, the Red Sox have 60 players in their 60-man club player pool.

Red Sox Claim Left-Hander Stephen Gonsalves off Waivers From Mets

The Red Sox have claimed left-hander Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to their alternative training site in Pawtucket, the club announced Saturday evening.

Gonsalves, who turned 26 earlier this month, was designated for assignment by the Mets on Thursday in order to open a spot on their 40-man roster.

A former top prospect of the Twins organization, Gonsalves last appeared in the majors in 2018, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.71 FIP over seven appearances (four starts) and 24 2/3 total innings pitched for Minnesota.

In the minors, Gonsalves only made eight appearances between three different levels in 2019 as he was hampered by elbow issues or more specifically, a stress reaction in his left elbow/forearm.

The 2013 fourth-round draft pick out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego was let go by the Twins this past November before subsequently getting picked up by the Mets. Obviously, his tenure with New York only lasted a little more than eight months.

Per his Statcast page, Gonsalves operates with a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a cutter, and a slider. He will likely serve as rotation depth for Boston.

By adding Gonsalves, the Red Sox now have 38 players on their 40-man roster. Their player pool size has also reached maximum capacity at 60.

Former Red Sox Right-Hander Hector Velazquez Claimed off Waivers by Orioles

Three days after he was designated for assignment, former Red Sox right-hander Hector Velazquez was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The 31-year-old was initially designated in order for Boston to make room on their 40-man roster for fellow right-hander Collin McHugh, who they signed to a one-year deal on Thursday.

Velazquez had spent the previous three seasons with the Red Sox after his contract was purchased from the Mexican League’s Pirates de Campeche in February 2017.

Over those three years, Velazquez worked as both a starter and a reliever, posting a 3.90 ERA and 4.41 FIP over 89 appearances (19 starts) and 166 total innings pitched.

The native of Mexico served as an important member of the World Series-winning team in 2018, which has by far been his best season in the majors to this point, but he also experienced a great deal of struggle in 2019, a year in which he was shuttled between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket on several occasions.

Having brought on a plethora of pitching depth in Chaim Bloom’s first offseason as chief baseball officer, Velazquez probably became more and more expandable, and he ultimately lost his spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster spot late last week.

Of course, it is unfortunate that he was not able to sneak through waivers like Brian Johnson did last November, but it will be fascinating to see how Velazquez fares with a new organization.