The Red Sox have acquired minor-league right-hander Theo Denlinger from the White Sox in exchange for reliever Franklin German, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.
Denlinger, 26, was originally selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Bradley University (Ill.). The Cuba City (Wis.) High School product signed with the club for just $10,000 and made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League.
Last season, Denlinger posted a 4.47 ERA and 4.18 FIP with 66 strikeouts to 21 walks in 40 relief appearances (48 1/3 innings) between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. The righty initially broke camp with the Dash and pitched to a 3.60 ERA across eight outings (10 innings) before earning a promotion in early May.
With the Barons, Denlinger forged a 4.70 ERA and 4.63 FIP to go along with 49 strikeouts to 18 walks over 32 appearances spanning 38 1/3 innings of work. He also converted five of eight save opportunities. Among the 132 pitchers who accrued 30 or more innings in the Southern League last year, Denlinger ranked 29th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.50) and 30th in strikeout rate (29.5 percent), per FanGraphs.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Denlinger features a 94-96 mph fastball with big movement and a slider that “looks good on paper” but is considered by scouts to be “very vulnerable,” according to FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen.
Denlinger, who turns 27 in July, has been assigned to Double-A Portland. He very well could wind up in the Sea Dogs bullpen with fellow 2021 draftee Taylor Broadway, who the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman/Reese McGuire trade last August.
German, on the other hand, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for lefty Richard Bleier, who they acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Matt Barnes and cash considerations.
Boston originally acquired German alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021. The righty worked out of Portland’s starting rotation to begin the 2021 season, but ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. hat success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned 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.
The 25-year-old got shelled 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, German produced an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) with four strikeouts and four walks in his first taste of big-league action.
Despite that rough showing, the Red Sox were able to find a trade partner for German, who still has three minor-league options remaining and is coming off a 2022 season in which he was named Boston’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year.
Regardless of how he pans out with the White Sox, German becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox be lopped off the 40-man roster and join a new organization this winter. He joins the likes of Barnes, Darwinzon Hernandez, Connor Seabold, Eduard Bazardo, Tyler Danish, Eric Hosmer, Franchy Cordero, and Jeter Downs, among others.
(Picture of Franklin German: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)