The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hansel Robles, the team announced earlier Saturday afternoon.
Robles was designated for assignment on Wednesday so that top pitching prospect Brayan Bello could be added to the big-league roster ahead of his big-league debut. The move also created a space on the 40-man roster for the addition of Michael Feliz, who has since been designated for assignment himself.
Originally acquired from the Twins at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for Alex Scherff, Robles quickly became one of Alex Cora’s most trusted relievers during the latter half of the 2021 season. After making 14 straight scoreless appearances in September and being heavily relied upon during the playoffs, Robles was brought back on a minor-league contract in March.
It was therefore no surprise that the 31-year-old right-hander made Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, thus locking him into a guaranteed salary of $2.25 million for the 2022 campaign.
Robles got his first full season in a Red Sox uniform off to a solid start, allowing just one earned run across nine April appearances. Things began to take a turn for the worst in May, though, and those struggles were compounded by a trip to the injured list (back spasms) that lasted about two weeks.
Upon returning from the IL on June 9, Robles gave up runs in five of his next 10 outings, bringing his ERA on the season up to 5.84 and his FIP up to 5.74. During this rough stretch, Robles’ fastball velocity was down from where it usually was. He lost his spot on the 40-man roster after giving up a run in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 8-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.
Given the fact that any team that claimed Robles would be on the hook for the rest of his 2022 salary, it was not surprising to see that the Dominican-born righty cleared waivers. Since he has accrued enough major-league service time, he exercised his right to reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency.
Now free to sign with whichever club he chooses, Robles will still be collecting from the Red Sox until the end the season.
(Picture of Hansel Robles: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)