Red Sox’ Alex Cora says team has to be better defensively in 2021: ‘That’s the bottom line’

During his re-introductory press conference back in November, one of the things that Red Sox manager Alex Cora emphasized was that his team needed to catch up to the speed of the game heading into the 2021 season.

“As a manager, as a coaching staff, I think spring training is going to be a lot different than ’18, ’19,” Cora said in the fall. “I do believe we have to catch up with the speed of the game. You look around and you look at the Padres, you look at the Rays, you look at the Dodgers and how athletic they are and how fast the game is. We have to catch up with that.

“It starts in the offseason, obviously, with workouts, and then we get to spring training,” he added. “It’s not going to be what you saw in ’18, ’19, kind of like building up, building up. Yeah, we’re going to build up, of course, so we don’t get hurt. But, at the same time I think the drills are going to be more dynamic. It’s going to be more game-time stuff, and I think they’re going to have fun doing that. And if we do that and we catch up with the speed of the division and the other teams, we’re going to be in a good spot.”

A little more than three months later, and Cora and Co. are already implementing these dynamic changes into their spring training drills at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers. The Sox skipper said as much when speaking with reporters earlier Friday morning.

“Certain fields are dedicated for defense only,” Cora said via Zoom. “With the guidelines, we have to split them up. So, Fields 1 and 2 are going to be for infielders. Field 1 is going to be only for offense. Field 2 is going to be like a defensive lab. So they’re going to have machines, they’re going to be doing drills, everything is going to be defense. Fields 3 and 4 are going to be for outfielders. Same thing: One of the fields is going to be only for defense, the other one for offense. And for offense, too, they’re going to have cameras and they’re going to have Rapsodo and they’re going to have machines.

“It’s a way to get them up to what I want,” continued Cora. “And at the same time, with everything that is going on, to keep their minds away from the obstacles. Like I said yesterday, we’re lucky to be here. We’re lucky to be working, playing this game. I think we’re going to be more efficient as far as the work. We’re going to have a lot of stuff going on, which is cool.”

Cora added that additional fields will be reserved for pitchers and catchers, while newly-added turf close to the Red Sox clubhouse can be used for catching and infield drills and the batting cages can also be used for defensive work now that some nets have been taken down.

“It’s a pretty cool facility,” he opined. “You have to be open-minded, you have to be creative. We’re doing that and I think that’s going to help us to improve and get better.”

Aside from the COVID-19 protocols put in place by Major League Baseball for spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida, the driving force behind the Sox changing things up at Fenway South is to make defense more of a priority.

That being the case because over the last two seasons, both of which they failed to qualify for the postseason, Boston has put up rather pedestrian numbers.

They rank eighth in the American League in errors (133), seventh in fielding percentage (.984), ninth in defensive runs saved (-26), and sixth in ultimate zone rating (8.3) since 2019, per FanGraphs.

“We have to be better defensively. We have to be better defensively,” Cora said emphatically. “No doubt about it. That’s something championship teams do. I said, we have to be better than ’18 defensively, better than ’19, better than ’20. This is not about range factor or all that stuff that people measure, which is important. As far as first steps and angles going toward the ball, I’m going to challenge them to be better.”

The additions of versatile veterans like Enrique Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez should aid the Sox on the defensive side of things, but the club will still be banking on players like Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, and Christian Vazquez to pick up things on their end as well.

“We’re looking for these guys to improve their defense,” said Cora. “Raffy, Xander, Bobby at first base, Michael, Christian. We have to be better defensively. That’s the bottom line.”

(Picture of Alex Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reach agreement with veteran utilityman Marwin González on one-year deal, per report

The Red Sox and veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez have agreed to a one-year contract, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Per Feinsand, Gonzalez will earn $3 million in 2021 with the chance to earn a little over $1 million more in incentives.

Gonzalez, who turns 33 next month, is coming off a 2020 season with the Twins in which he posted a .211/.286/.320 slash to go along with five home runs and 22 RBI over 53 games (199 plate appearances).

The Red Sox were known to be in the market for a left-handed bat that could potentially complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base, and Gonzalez, a switch-hitter certainly fits that mold.

The Venezuelan has proven to be quite versatile over the course of his nine year major-league career with the Astros and Twins, as he has seen time at every defensive position minus pitcher and catcher.

Most recently, as a member of the Twins from 2019-2020, Gonzalez appeared in 35 games at first base, 22 at second base, 63 at third base, one at shortstop, 18 in left field, zero in center field, and 52 in right field. He also served as a designated hitter, pinch-hitter, and pinch-runner in his time with Minnesota.

Given the fact he spent the first seven years of his big-league career — including 2017 — in Houston, Gonzalez is obviously already familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the ‘Stros’ bench coach that year.

The reported addition of Gonzalez comes less than two weeks after the Enrique Hernandez signing was made official, so Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. appear intent on having as versatile team as possible.

As currently constructed, Boston’s 40-man roster is at full capacity, so the club will need to make a flurry of moves in order to officially add the likes of Gonzalez, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Martin Perez.

Also, this is not Gonzalez’s first time with the Red Sox. He spent less than one full day with the team back in December 2011 after being selected from the Cubs in the major-league phase of that year’s Rule 5 Draft before promptly getting traded to the Astros for Marco Duarte.

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

Michael Chavis’ chances of making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster appear slim at the moment

Michael Chavis’ chances of making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster this year are, at the moment, slim. So slim that MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo wrote earlier Friday that “at present, it would be an upset for Chavis to make the Opening Day roster, even if the Red Sox can carry 26 players.”

The 25-year-old is coming off a dismal 2020 season in which he posted a .212/.259/.377 slash line to go along with five home runs, 19 RBI, and 50 strikeouts over 42 games (158 plate appearances).

Since getting his big-league career off to a roaring start in the spring of 2019, Chavis has cooled down considerably, even while getting the opportunity to play multiple defensive positions.

As noted by Cotillo, the Georgia native split time between first and second base during his rookie season, lost out on the starting job at second base to Jose Peraza last summer, platooned with Mitch Moreland at first base for a time, and ultimately got some playing time in the outfield thanks to the emergences of Christian Arroyo and Bobby Dalbec.

In somewhat of a utility role during the closing stages of the 2020 campaign, Chavis did not do anything to distinguish himself — offensively or defensively — and things have not gotten any easier for him since then.

That being the case because earlier this week, the Red Sox officially signed Enrique Hernandez, another right-handed hitter who can play around the infield and outfield, to a two-year, $14 million contract.

Hernandez, Cotillo writes, “will likely get the lion’s share of work at second while also having the ability to play the outfield or back up at shortstop or third base.”

This would leave Arroyo, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians in August and showed flashes of potential with Boston in September, as “the primary backup” at second base, and perhaps other infield spots as well.

Seeing how Arroyo and Hernandez, as well as Dalbec and Xander Bogaerts all hit from the right side of the field, it would appear that the Sox are set in terms of rostering right-handed hitting infielders.

Taking that, and the fact that the club is still “in the market for a left-handed bench option with the ability to play first base” to complement Dalbec (Mitch Moreland, Marwin Gonzalez) into consideration, Chavis starts to become obsolete in a way.

If that notion holds true heading into the regular season, there are a number of things the Red Sox could do.

For starters, they could entertain the idea of trading Chavis, though as noted by Cotillo, “teams may be hesitant to give up anything of value for an unproven player with clear holes in his game.” Especially at a time when “so many middle-tier veteran free agents are still available.”

Trading Chavis, Cotillo writes, would also “signal that the Red Sox are giving up on their former first-round pick, meaning the team would admit another development failure in a decade in which those have been far too frequent.”

Boston selected the 5-foot-10, 210 lb. infielder/outfielder with its top selection (26th overall) in the 2014 amateur draft out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga.

For the steady pace at which he developed, Chavis does only have 113 career Triple-A plate appearances under his belt, which leads to this next point.

That being, the Red Sox can afford to option Chavis to Triple-A Worcester if they so choose since he still has two minor-league options remaining.

Considering the fact that he is a former first-round pick and was at one point one of the organization’s top prospects, Chavis may be someone you do not want to give up quite yet. Especially since he is still under team control through the 2025 season.

Instead, allowing him to get regular playing time in a less stressful environment while “re-tooling his swing and fine-tuning his defense without the pressure of sticking in the majors” could be in the Red Sox’ best interest moving forward, as Cotillo notes.

Then again, in his tenure as Boston’s chief baseball officer thus far, Chaim Bloom has not shied away from reshuffling the club’s 40-man roster. Far from it, in fact.

This offseason alone, the Sox — whether it be by trade or DFA — have jettisoned approximately 19 players off its 40-man roster (not including Dustin Pedroia, who retired on Monday).

That being said, it would not be shocking to see that Bloom and Co. do not value Chavis to the point where they deem him worthy of a 40-man spot moving forward, and instead attempt to trade him for a non-40-man minor-leaguer — as was the case with Yoan Aybar in December — or designate him for assignment with the intention to sneak him through waivers.

Of course, given what Chavis still has going for him (relatively young, under team control, somewhat versatile), another team would likely try to claim him for themselves if he was placed on waivers.

In that scenario, the Red Sox would be losing Chavis for nothing, but that would probably be a risk they were willing to take if they designated him for assignment in the first place.

As Cotillo writes, Chavis’ “future will be one of the storylines to follow throughout spring training.” Personally, I do not think it would be a bad thing if he started out the season in Worcester, but we will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign utilityman Kiké Hernández to two-year deal

The Red Sox have officially signed utilityman Enrique Hernandez to a two-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Dustin Pedroia officially retiring from the game of baseball on Monday opened up a spot on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, allowing Boston to sign Hernandez nearly two weeks after he agreed to a multi-year deal with the club.

Hernandez, 29, will earn approximately $14 million with this new contract ($6 million in 2021, $8 million in 2022), though the deal does include deferrals, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

The native of Puerto Rico had spent six of the first seven years of his big-league career with the Dodgers and is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games (148 PAs) for Los Angeles.

In the postseason, Hernandez proved to be a valuable piece of the Dodgers’ puzzle by posting a .755 OPS while clubbing two homers and driving in four runs en route to Los Angeles’ first World Series title in 32 years.

Capable of playing multiple defensive positions around the infield and outfield, Hernandez’s versatility, as well as his lifetime .820 OPS against left-handed pitching, should come in handy for the Sox in 2021.

Hernandez’s new manager, Alex Cora, selected the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. right-handed hitter to play for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, when he served as the team’s general manager. But, their relationship goes back much further than that.

“I know a lot of people are talking about Enrique,” Cora said on the TC & Jerry Podcast last week, before the signing was made official. “I call him Enrique because he was my batboy when I played winter ball when he was eight years old. He’s a good player, he’s a solid player… Looking from afar, he’s a guy that is versatile. I think he’s a better hitter than what people think, he has a lot of pop. But at the same time, what he brings to the equation outside the clubhouse is amazing. He’s a very humble kid from a great family. His dad actually is a cancer survivor. They’ve been amazing. A family that we really respect here in Puerto Rico.”

Hernandez will speak to reporters via Zoom at 5 p.m. eastern time Tuesday evening. He will also wear the No. 5 for the Red Sox, becoming the 38th player in team history to do so.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Pitcher List’s Sarah Griffin joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Pitcher List writer Sarah Griffin.

Among the topics Sarah and I discussed were her ascension into sports journalism and Baseball Twitter, her thoughts on the Red Sox’ offseason and other moves Chaim Bloom has made/might make, predictions for 2021, and much more.

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Sarah for taking some time out of her day to have this conversation with me. You can follow her on Twitter by clicking here and check out her work on Pitcher List by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

What the Adam Ottavino trade means for the Red Sox’ 40-man roster

After the Red Sox made their acquisition of right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees official on Monday, the club’s Opening Day roster took another step towards its completion.

That said, the reason the Sox were able to announce the addition of Ottavino so quickly is because they had an open 40-man roster spot for him following the trade that sent infielder C.J. Chatham to the Phillies last week.

Now that the 35-year-old hurler is officially a Red Sox, though, more questions arise pertaining to other players Boston has reportedly signed to major-league contracts recently. Those players would be none other than left-hander Martin Perez, utilityman Enrique Hernandez, and right-hander Garrett Richards, of course.

Perez agreed to a one-year deal with the Sox that includes a club option for 2022 on January 16, Hernandez agreed to a two-year deal on January 22, and Richards agreed to deal with a similar structure to Perez’s on Saturday.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, all three of these deals are still pending physicals and likely won’t be made official until later this week.

Between now and the time said deals are made official, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to trimming down the club’s 40-man roster in order to accommodate Perez, Hernandez, and Richards.

One way to make room for this trio would be designate three players currently on the 40-man for assignment. Right-handers Joel Payamps, Chris Mazza, and Marcus Walden, left-hander Jeffrey Springs, and outfield prospect Marcus Wilson were among the candidates Cotillo suggested could be DFA’d.

Another way to make room, or at least make room for one player, would be for the Red Sox to trade a DFA candidate to another club in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, as they did with Chatham. That way, a 40-man roster spot could be cleared to go along with some compensation in return.

Finally, there is the Dustin Pedroia conundrum that needs to be addressed. Again, this only creates a resolution for one spot but it seems pretty apparent that Pedroia, who has played in just nine total games the last three seasons, will not play out the final year of his contract.

The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported last week that the 37-year-old second baseman “is not planning a comeback and a resolution could come this month.”

Given the fact that Pedroia is somewhat of a franchise legend, Abraham noted that while the Sox “will want to do this correctly,” they are also running low on non-impact players on their 40-man roster.

Put another way, cutting Pedroia now as opposed to giving him a ceremonial sendoff in-season would not do the former American League MVP’s legacy justice.

So, the Red Sox have some roster-related decisions to make and they do not have much time to make them. What sort of moves will Bloom have in store? We will have to wait and see.

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

Red Sox would like to address bench depth by adding left-handed hitter, per report

While the Red Sox continue to fill out their major-league roster, one area of concern they would like to address between now and Opening Day is bench depth, or more specifically, adding a left-handed hitter who could come off the bench, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Per Cotillo, it would be ideal if this left-handed bat could complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base. Among the free-agents who could do this, Cotillo notes that Marwin Gonzalez, Brad Miller, and old friend Mitch Moreland stand out above the rest.

Gonzalez, a switch-hitter, spent the 2020 season with the Twins and played 23 games at third base, 21 games at second base, nine games at first base, and eight games in right field.

When facing right-handed pitching as a left-handed hitter last year, the 31-year-old slashed .209/.295/.357 to go along with five home runs and 16 RBI over 132 plate appearances.

For his career, which spans nine seasons, Gonzalez is a lifetime .261/.321/.411 hitter off of right-handers when hitting from the left side of the batter’s box.

Cotillo linked the Venezuelan-born utilityman to the Sox earlier this month, citing that Boston ‘was in’ on Gonzalez. One reason for this is likely because of the relationship Gonzalez has with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the versatile veteran’s bench coach for the Houston Astros in 2017.

Miller, meanwhile, hits strictly from the left side of the plate and is also capable of playing several defensive positions.

Last year with the Cardinals, the 31-year-old played every infield position besides first base, which he has done in the past.

In 48 games (171 plate appearances) with St. Louis, Miller posted a solid .807 OPS while clubbing seven homers and 25 RBI.

Narrowing that down to what he did against right-handed pitching — when he got most of his playing time — in 2020, the Orlando native proved to be quite effective by posting a .240/.364/.464 slash line. Six of his seven home runs on the year came against righties.

Over the course of his eight-year big-league career, Miller owns a lifetime wRC+ of 111 off of right-handed pitching, which pales in comparison to his lifetime wRC+ of 84 off of left-handed pitching.

Unlike Gonzalez, Miller does not have a connection to Cora, but he does have one to Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

That being the case because the former Clemson Tiger spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Rays from 2016 until June 2018, so it’s likely he and Bloom got to know each other a little bit during their time together in Tampa.

On Friday night, Cotillo tweeted that Miller was a guy the Red Sox “are looking at,” so there’s that.

Finally, we arrive at someone who has a connection to both Bloom and Cora in Moreland, who spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Sox on three separate contracts before being dealt to the Padres in late August.

That trade turned out to be a win for Bloom and Co., as they received prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario in exchange for Moreland while San Diego declined the 35-year-old’s club option for 2021 in early November.

The move also cleared up a spot for Dalbec to get the call up from the alternate training site and make his major-league debut. It’s safe to say the 25-year-old made the most of that opportunity.

Before said three-player trade went down, Moreland was on an absolute tear to kick off his 2020 campaign in Boston after re-signing with the club in January.

Over the course of 22 games, the Mississippi native slashed a robust .328/.430/.746 in addition to clobbering eight homers and driving in 21 RBI in just 79 plate appearances.

Moreland’s playing time decreased when he arrived in San Diego, as did his on-field performance, but the former All-Star could still prove to be a valuable, veteran addition to the Red Sox if he were willing to embrace a bench role and maybe even mentor Dalbec.

While being limited to just first base, designated hitter, and pinch-hit duties, the left-handed hitting Moreland does carry with him a career OPS of .794 against right-handed pitching.

He was also one of Bloom’s first free-agent signings as Boston’s CBO last January and is lauded as an impact leader and veteran presence by Red Sox players and coaches — Cora included — alike.

Last week, Cotillo wrote that a reunion between Moreland and the Sox cannot be ruled out at this point, so that is also something to monitor.

At the end of the day, it would appear that while the Red Sox may be ready to make Dalbec their everyday first baseman, they do not want to put too much on his plate to at least start off the 2021 campaign.

The power-hitting prospect did well against both lefties and righties in his first go-around in the majors last September, but there remains a a possibility that Boston would like to see him play some third base (his natural position) in addition to first base as well.

In that scenario, if there was a game where the Red Sox wanted to sit Rafael Devers for whatever reason, they could slide Dalbec over to third while Moreland, Miller, Gonzalez, or another free-agent/in-house candidate could man first base in his place.

That is all just speculation, though. We will just have to wait and see what Bloom and Co. actually have in mind for Boston’s infield plans moving forward.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add infielder Jack López on minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire. It’s unclear at this point if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Lopez, who turned 28 last month, was originally drafted by the Royals in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Deltona High School (Fla.).

Since then, the native of Puerto Rico has spent time in the Royals and Braves’ organizations, accruing a career .237/.290/.324 slash line to go along with 42 home runs, 282 RBI, and 130 stolen bases over 820 total minor-league contests between the Rookie League, Class-A, Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels.

This winter, Lopez has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League for Indios de Mayaguez, who are currently in that league’s championship series against Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s hometown Criollos de Caguas.

In 13 games with Mayaguez, Lopez has posted a .655 OPS over 52 plate appearances while also drawing eight walks and swiping three bases.

Capable of playing all over the infield and in addition to some corner outfield, Lopez could potentially serve as upper-level minor-league depth in his new role with the Sox.

The 5-foot-10, right-handed hitter’s baseball roots run deep, as he is the son of former minor-league backstop and major-league bullpen catcher Juan Lopez and the nephew of former Royals infielder Onix Concepcion.

A one-time commit to the University of Miami, Lopez already has some Red Sox connections given the fact that he is followed on Instagram by the likes of Cora and Enrique Hernandez.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz

(Picture of Jack Lopez: Scott Audette/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox, utilityman Kiké Hernández agree to multi-year deal, per report

The Red Sox and free-agent utilityman Enrique Hernandez have reached agreement on a multi-year deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that Hernandez’s new contract with Boston is good for $14 million over two years. It also includes deferrals and is pending a physical.

Hernandez, 29, had spent the previous six seasons with the Dodgers, most recently slashing a modest .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games played in 2020.

He also put together a decent postseason for Los Angeles en route to their first World Series title since 1988 by posting a .755 OPS across 15 games and 31 plate appearances this past October.

A right-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Hernandez has proven to be quite the versatile player in his tenure with the Dodgers, seeing playing time all around the infield, outfield, and even the pitcher’s mound (one appearance in 2018).

Going back to last season, Los Angeles deployed the Puerto Rican at second base 27 times, in right field seven times, in left field four times, in center field three times, and at first base and shortstop two times each.

Based off these totals, one might assume Hernandez’s best position defensively is second base, which in this case is true.

Per FanGraphs, the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. infielder/outfielder played 220 1/3 innings at second base in 2020. In those 220 1/3 innings, he was worth positive-8 defensive runs saved despite posting a negative-2.6 ultimate zone rating.

Going into the offseason, the Red Sox sought out to address their second base issues coming off a 2020 season in which that particular position group  put up an American League-worst .586 OPS and league-worst wRC+ of 55.

The addition of Hernandez, who by no means is an offensive superstar, might not be too appealing on the surface, but this is really a solid pickup for the Sox.

That being the case because when they don’t need him to play second base, the club could start him at a bevy of other positions, including all three spots in the outfield if necessary.

As an added bonus, which the Red Sox likely took into consideration here, Hernandez owns a lifetime wRC+ of 120 in 893 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching.

That attribute could very well come in handy if Hernandez was to be used a platoon option with Andrew Benintendi in left field, assuming Benintendi is still on the team by Opening Day.

Of course, given his connections to Puerto Rico, Hernandez should be familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who, as Team Puerto Rico’s general manager for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, picked the former sixth-round draft pick to play for his home island’s team.

In signing Hernandez to a two-year deal, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have now added four free-agents (Hernandez, Martin Perez, Matt Andriese, Hunter Renfroe) on major-league contracts so far this winter.

Of that group, Hernandez is the first to get a deal with a guaranteed second year as opposed to a club option.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)