Red Sox, right-hander Garrett Richards agree to one-year, $10 million deal that includes $10 million team option for 2022

The Red Sox and free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards are in agreement on a one-year, $10 million contract for the 2021 season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is pending a physical.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that Richards’ deal with Boston includes a $10 million club option for 2022 and a buyout, which includes escalators “that would increase both the option salary and the cost of the buyout.”

Richards, 32, posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 14 outings (10 starts) and 51 1.3 innings of work for the Padres last season.

The 2020 campaign marked the California native’s first “full” season in quite a while on account of the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2018.

Prior to undergoing the knife nearly three years ago, Richards — a former first-round pick of the Angels in 2009 — was once a highly-touted prospect with the potential to become a frontline starter at the major-league level.

Multiple stints on the injured list have prevented that from happening to this point, but Richards still has plenty of appeal, as last season he placed in the 82nd percentile in fastball velocity, the 97th percentile in fastball spin, and the 99th percentile in curveball spin among big-league hurlers, per Baseball Savant.

Working with a four-seamer, a curveball, and a slider, the former Oklahoma Sooner will look to provide the Sox with the rotation help they are in desperate need.

Boston is after all coming off a 2020 season in which club starters put up the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.34) while finishing second-to-last in innings pitched (246).

The likes of Richards, fellow right-handers Matt Andriese and Garrett Whitlock, and left-hander Martin Perez should address those issues to some degree, though it should be interesting to see if the Red Sox are now out of the running for Jake Odorizzi given these other additions.

By reportedly signing Richards, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 lbs., and utilityman Enrique Hernandez, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have had themselves quite the weekend already.

They will, however, have to clear one spot on Boston’s 40-man roster given the fact that it is currently at 39 players following the trade that sent C.J. Chatham to the Phillies earlier this week.

We will have to wait and see what the Sox have in mind in order to make that happen before the Richards and Hernandez signings become official.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox bring back left-hander Martín Pérez on one-year deal that includes club option for 2022

The Red Sox are bringing back left-hander Martin Perez on a one-year, $5 million deal for the 2021 season, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Per Rosenthal, Perez will earn a base salary of $4.5 million this year and will have the opportunity to earn $6 million in 2022 via a club option. The deal also includes incentives for number of innings pitched for both 2021 and 2022.

If the Red Sox were decline that club option, the southpaw could then earn an additional $500,000 through a buyout, which would take the total value of the contract to $5 million.

Perez, who turns 30 in April, is coming off a debut season with Boston in which he posted a 4.50 ERA and 5.12 xFIP over 12 starts spanning 62 innings of work in 2020.

Those numbers might not look great on the surface, but there was a stretch from July 30 until August 22 and another stretch from September 3 until September 18 where Perez was one of, if not the best starter in Boston’s rotation.

The Venezuelan international originally inked a one-year, $6 million pact with the Red Sox in December 2019. That contract also included a team option — worth approximately $6.25 million — for a potential second year, but the Sox declined said option in early November.

Since that time, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have not made too many major moves to address Boston’s pitching needs, as right-handers Matt Andriese (signed a one-year deal in December) and Garrett Whitlock (Rule 5 Draft selection) have been the only significant additions thus far in terms of potential rotation depth.

With that in mind, perhaps the Sox thought it was in their best interest to shore up their starting rotation a little bit by bringing back a familiar face in Perez.

The fact that the one-time Rangers hurler was even still available was somewhat of a surprise given the notion that the Padres — run by former Texas director of international and professional scouting A.J. Preller — were among the teams interested in his services.

Now that Perez is back in Boston, though, he joins the likes of Andriese, Whitlock, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Tanner Houck among those currently on the team who will have a spot in the rotation to start the year and those who will have to fight for a spot during spring training.

That said, expect more pitching additions (Jake Odorizzi?) for the Red Sox to come relatively soon.

Also, the Red Sox will have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster to make the Perez signing official, so that’s another thing to monitor.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Potential Red Sox target Jake Odorizzi seeking anywhere from $36 million to $42 million in free agency, per report

On Tuesday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Red Sox have ‘serious interest’ in signing free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported in his latest notes column that the 30-year-old’s price range has come into focus now that interest may be heating up.

“One club in contact with free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi says the pitcher expects to land a three-year contract in the $36 million to $42 million range,” Rosenthal wrote. “Such a deal might not be out of reach: Starting pitchers are faring well on the open market, and the Blue Jays offered fellow righty Kevin Gausman three years in the $40 million range before he accepted the Giants’ one-year $18.6 million qualifying offer.”

Odorizzi, a veteran of nine major-league seasons between the Royals, Rays, and most recently the Twins, is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he was limited to just four starts and 13 2/3 innings of work due to multiple stints on the injured list.

The former first-round draft pick was once acquired by Tampa Bay from Kansas City at a time when Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom played an integral role within the Rays’ front office in 2012, so there certainly is a connection there.

In addition to said connection, Odorizzi does not come with a qualifying offer attached to him, as was the case with Gausman before he returned to the Giants like Rosenthal pointed out.

This is the case because the one-time All-Star has already had the qualifying offer extended to him by the Twins last offseason, and players can only be offered a qualifying offer just once in their careers.

Having said that, it was somewhat surprising to read that Odorizzi is in pursuit of a multi-year deal considering how little he pitched in 2020. Then again, this winter’s class of free-agent starting pitchers is rather weak outside of Trevor Bauer and Tomoyuki Sugano.

While it’s not exactly known if the Red Sox are interested in acquiring the services of Bauer, they are definitely interested in the 31-year-old Sugano, who has until Thursday — the final day of his posting period — to sign with a major-league club.

(Photo of Jake Odorizzi: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox showing ‘serious interest’ in free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi, per report

The Red Sox have serious interest in free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Odorizzi, who turns 31 in March, is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he posted a 6.59 ERA and 6.12 FIP, though he only made four starts and pitched 13 2/3 innings on account of three separate injured list stints.

The first of those three stints lasted from July 23 until August 8 due to a right intercostal strain, the second lasted from August 22 until September 16 due to a chest contusion, and the third lasted from September 18 through the end of the season due to a right middle finger blister.

Prior to this past season, Odorizzi earned himself his first career All-Star nod in 2019 thanks in part to putting up a 3.50 ERA and .671 OPS against over 30 starts and 159 innings of work. Minnesota went 21-9 in games started by the Illinois native.

As mentioned by Feinsand in the tweet above, Odorizzi first jumped on to the scene with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 after being part of the trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals the previous winter.

Having said that, it’s likely that Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom played a role in the Rays acquiring Odorizzi, among others, when he was still working under Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay.

In his five seasons with the Rays (2013-2017), Odorizzi made 127 appearances (124 starts) spanning 698 total frames pitched.

Over that rather large sample size, the former first-round draft pick of the Royals posted an ERA of 3.82, a SIERA of 4.13, and an xFIP of 4.33. He was traded by Tampa Bay to Minnesota in exchange for minor-league infielder Jermaine Palacios shortly before the start of the 2018 season.

Perhaps reuniting with a familiar face in Bloom would benefit Odorizzi as he looks to bounce back in 2021 and re-establish his value headed into next winter.

We will have to wait and see on that, but it is worth mentioning that the Red Sox were able to sign another former Rays hurler in Matt Andriese earlier last month partly due to the fact that he had already established a relationship with Bloom when the two were in Tampa Bay.

(Top picture of Odorizzi: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

RECAP: #RedSox Fall Behind Early, but Bounce Back in Big Way with 10-4 Win over Twins.

On the night after Mookie Betts walked off the Minnesota Twins with his 25th home run of the season in the tenth inning on Friday, the Red Sox carried over that instant offense by piling up nearly a dozen runs against Minnesota on Saturday. It certainly was not easy, as the team actually trailed for about a third of the game, but in the end, came away with their 73rd win of the year to get back to 40 games over the .500 mark.

Making his 22nd start of the season, Rick Porcello was part of the reason the Red Sox were down early in this one, but by the time he departed, the team was in a fairly decent spot while the New Jersey native had settled in to eventually notch his 13th winning decision.

Pitching into the sixth inning, the righty surrendered four earned runs on five hits and just one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

In the 5.2 innings he appeared in, the most costly miscues Porcello made came in back-to-back innings starting in the second.

Trailing by one run, Twins DH Logan Morrison launched a 434 foot bomb of a solo home run to tie things up at one.

Just an inning later, two straight one out singles from Minnesota’s 9-1 hitters, followed by a two out, two-run triple off the bat of shortstop Jorge Polanco had the Twins up by a couple of runs early. They tacked on another on a Brian Dozier RBI single, but according to his post game interview session, Porcello did not seem as peeved about that as he did the Polanco triple.

From the top of the fourth on though, the 29 year-old hurler retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced, with some help from Andrew Benintendi, before getting the hook with his pitch count reaching 100 (66 strikes).

Out of those 100 pitches, Porcello relied on his off-speed arsenal the most last night, as he went to his slider and curveball a combined 53% of the time. Only going to his four-seam fastball 22 times, Porcello topped out at 92.3 MPH with it on his 46th pitch of last night’s contest.

Improving to 13-4 on the year now, best for second in the American League, not that it matters, Porcello will look to turn a new page once the calendar flips to August. In five starts this month, we saw quite possibly the best of the former Cy Young Award winner with six shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles and we may have seen the worst of him with that eight run stinker against the Blue Jays right before the All-Star Break.

Finishing the month with his ERA 0.43 points higher than it was at the beginning, Porcello’s next start should come sometime against next week/weekend’s series against the New York Yankees.

Anyway in relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree entered the game last night with two outs in the top half of the sixth and a runner at second.

As he has done so well recently, Hembree stranded the runner, Brian Dozier, in scoring position at third base following a successful stolen base attempt to keep the Twins deficit at one. After his team tacked on an insurance run in their half of the sixth, the South Carolina native came back out to toss a scoreless seventh frame en route to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Tyler Thornburg would come on in place of Hembree in the eighth, and he sat down the only three batters he faced to extend his scoreless innings streak to 3.2 following an ugly outing last weekend in Detroit.

And finally, by the time Joe Kelly came in to get some work in the ninth, the Red Sox had jumped out to a 10-4 lead to put this game away in the eighth.

Craig Kimbrel, despite a blown save on Friday, was available but was not needed.

In the lone inning he pitched in, Kelly did not walk one batter for the first time since July 13th on his way to locking down the win for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Minnesota’s starter Jake Odorizzi.

Having spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing with the Twins last winter, Odorizzi had made 17 starts against Boston to go along with a not so shiny 4.45 ERA in those starts. Based on that information, last night was kind of the same deal, meaning the Red Sox saw him well.

The scoring started early on, as three straight one out hits from the Red Sox’s 2-4 hitters was highlighted by a Mitch Moreland RBI single to drive in Andrew Benintendi from second and give his team an early 1-0 lead.

After the Twins jumped all the way out to a 4-1 lead of their own in the third, the Red Sox did not get on the board again until their half of the fourth.

With one out in the inning, a Rafael Devers ground-rule double followed by an Eduardo Nunez walk put the Red Sox in an ideal scoring spot to try to trim the Twins lead down.

Even though Sandy Leon failed to advance Devers to third on a fly out to center field, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through a few minutes later.

On the first pitch he saw from Odorizzi, an 84 MPH slider, the Red Sox outfielder ripped a 103.3 MPH triple just out of the reach of his counterpart Jake Cave off the center field wall to score both Devers and Nunez and make it a 4-3 game.

Had he got out of the box quicker, we could have been looking at a three-run inside the park home run, but that was not case.

With the tying run just 90 feet away now, Mookie Betts followed through with his first of two RBI doubles on the night to score Bradley from third and even things up at four runs a piece.

An inning later, JD Martinez delivered the go-ahead run the Red Sox needed by mashing his 32nd big fly of the season over everything in left field.

412 feet, 107 feet off the bat on that home run that ended up sailing over Lansdowne and landed on the roof of the parking garage across the street from Fenway.

That long ball put the Red Sox up 5-4 going into the fifth, and they would not have to look back in what ended up being somewhat of a blowout.

From that point in the game on, an Andrew Benintendi RBI single in the sixth increased the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Fast forward to the bottom half of the eighth, and nine batters came to the plate in what turned out to be a four run inning.

Capped off by an RBI double from Mookie Betts, a bases loaded RBI walk from Rafael Devers, and a two RBI double off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, the Red Sox found themselves up 10-4 by the time the eighth had come to a close.

Some notes from this win:

In the third inning of last night’s contest, Mookie Betts swiped his 20th bag of the season, marking 100 total in his career.

From @SoxNotes: At 25 years old, Mookie Betts is the youngest player ever to reach 100+ HR and 100+ stolen bases with the Red Sox. Betts has also become the first Red Sox player ever to record 20+ HR and 20+ steals in as many as 3 seasons.

From @RedSoxStats, pertaining to Heath Hembree: Inherited runners in Hembree’s 9 games this month: 2 3 2 0 1 0 1 2 1 … so far none have scored.

Over his last 25 games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .302/.371/.558 with four home runs and 23 RBI.

It was announced this morning that Rafael Devers is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain after he came up lame rounding second base in the eighth inning last night. Tzu-Wei Lin has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket in his place.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will be going for the series win later on this afternoon.

Looking to impress in his debut with his new club, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against another righty in the Twins’ Jose Berrios, who held the Red Sox to one run on five hits in 6.1 innings pitched back on June 19th.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Sunday.