Red Sox ‘going through the process’ when it comes to making a decision on Brandon Workman, Alex Cora says

When it comes to their decision regarding what to do with Brandon Workman, the Red Sox are still mulling over their options.

Workman, who triggered an opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Sox on Tuesday, threw a bullpen session at Polar Park in Worcester Wednesday afternoon.

The veteran reliever can become a free-agent in the next 24 hours if Boston chooses not to promote him to the major-leagues and instead cuts him loose so that he can pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“I spoke to Chaim [Bloom],” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros. “Work was going to throw a bullpen today, again. But he’s not there — he opted out. We still got, what? 24 hours to make a decision.”

After inking a one-year deal with the Cubs over the winter and getting released by the club in late April, the 32-year-old signed a minor-league pact to reunite with the Sox last month.

In seven appearances for Triple-A Worcester, the right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP while striking out 10 and walking four in seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings pitched in the month of May.

“His last two outings were outstanding,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott recently said of Workman. “I feel like that was the Brandon Workman we’d seen in the past. I feel like he came here on a mission to show he could be that guy and I think he was more trying to impress, that he has the stuff and was just a little disconnected with his delivery [at first]. The last two outings he got back to where he felt good, he got into his legs better and everything for me ticked up, quality, consistency. I don’t know what’s going to happen with him, but I was really happy with the last two outings, he looked pretty good.”

If the Red Sox opt to promote Workman, they will need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to do so. One possible way to make that happen would be to designate a fellow reliever currently for assignment.

Colten Brewer, who yielded four runs in his season debut against the Astros on Monday, could be the casualty in this scenario depending on which reliever (Brewer or Workman) the Red Sox view as a better bullpen option moving forward.

“We’re going through the process,” said Cora. “We’re talking a lot [about] where we’re at roster-wise, what benefits or doesn’t benefit us. So the conversations are ongoing.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Who is Johan Mieses? Red Sox minor-league outfielder currently leads Double-A Northeast with 11 homers in 22 games

When thinking about which Red Sox minor-leaguers may lead the organization in home runs slightly less than a full month into the 2021 minor-league season, one might guess it’s either one of top prospects Triston Casas or Jarren Duran, or maybe even slugging first baseman Josh Ockimey.

The truth is, neither of those three lead the Red Sox farm system in long balls to this point in the minor-league season. That honor would fall to perhaps a less recognizable name in the form of outfielder Johan Mieses.

Through 22 games with Double-A Portland this spring, Mieses is slashing .288/.374/.725 (190 wRC+) to go along with two doubles, a team-leading 11 home runs, 22 RBI, 18 runs scored, nine walks, and 17 strikeouts over 91 plate appearances.

In six games this past week alone, Mieses went 9-for-23 (.391) at the plate in the process of hitting two doubles, clubbing four home runs, collecting 10 RBI, and scoring five times to be named the Double-A Northeast League Player of the Week.

Mieses, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league deal with Boston back in November 2019 after spending the first seven years of his professional career between the Dodgers and Cardinals organizations.

While he did not spend any time at the team’s alternate training site or fall instructional league last year in the wake of the 2020 minor-league season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dominican native did re-sign with the Sox in November.

A former top prospect of the Dodgers who was involved in the trade that sent infielder Breyvic Valera from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2018, Mieses hits from the right side of the plate, throws with his right hand, and is listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds.

Among the top hitters in the Double-A Northeast (formerly the Eastern League), Mieses comes into play Tuesday ranking fifth in runs scored, 11th in hits (23), first in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage, and third in OPS (1.099).

In addition to primarily batting out of the cleanup spot, Mieses has seen the majority of his playing time come in right field with some left field and designated hitter mixed in there as well.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization two falls ago, the right-handed hitting outfielder had played 22 games at the Triple-A level while with the Cardinals in 2019. In those 22 games, he posted a .339/.414/.677 slash line with six homers and 17 RBI in 70 plate appearances.

Considering the fact that he is performing well in Double-A this season and has a solid — albeit small — track record of success at the next level, one has to wonder if Mieses could be on the verge of earning himself a promotion to Triple-A Worcester sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Johan Mieses: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox bring back Brandon Workman on minor-league deal: ‘Hopefully he becomes a factor this season,’ Alex Cora says

Over the winter, Red Sox manager Alex Cora attempted to recruit then-free agent reliever Brandon Workman back to the team he began his professional career with.

Cora ultimately came up short in his recruitment pitch, as Workman inked a one-year deal with the Cubs in February.

“My last conversation was Super Bowl Sunday with him,” Cora said. “And it was recruiting, actually, at that time. It didn’t work out.”

Workman was designated for assignment and subsequently released by Chicago last week less than a full month into his tenure there. The right-hander had posted a 6.76 ERA over 10 outings (eight innings pitched).

Upon hitting the open market again, Workman was available for any club to pursue. The Red Sox were one of this interested teams, but Cora did not take part in any recruiting this time around.

“I didn’t recruit him,” said Cora. “I gave up in the offseason. I wasn’t a good one.”

Workman ultimately chose to reunite with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas, as he signed a minor-league pact with the Sox on Thursday and was assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

In his first stint with the Sox, the 32-year-old proved to be a valuable bullpen arm capable of getting big outs — especially in 2019.

Over 73 appearances that year, Workman put up a dazzling 1.88 ERA and .433 OPS against while recording 104 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings of work.

The following season, Workman made just seven appearances out of the Boston bullpen before getting traded (along with Heath Hembree) to the Phillies in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.

With Philadelphia, Workman struggled immensely to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in the process of blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities from late August through the end of September.

Despite those hardships, the 6-foot-3 righty still netted himself a big-league deal this past offseason, though the struggles he experienced with the Phillies carried over to his brief stint with the Cubs as well.

“He was excellent, right? Those numbers were amazing,” Cora said of Workman’s 2019 campaign earlier Friday. “I texted him a few days ago, just thanking him for giving us a chance. And just get to work. He feels good about it. Obviously it didn’t go well in the second part of the season last year, and it didn’t go well the Cubs. There’s a few things that we recognized with our information department that hopefully we can regain, and he can become a factor.”

One thing the Red Sox will be hoping to regain from Workman is his fastball velocity. The hurler has averaged just 91.5 mph with his four-seamer this season after averaging 92.5 and 92.9 mph with the pitch over the last two years, respectively.

To put that into perspective, opponents hit a measly .134 against Workman’s heater in 2019. They are hitting .556 against it so far this season, per Baseball Savant.

“When his velocity’s a tick up, it helps everything else,” said Cora. “Teams make adjustments. I saw his last one against the Braves and he threw a lot of breaking balls. And he threw some good ones and some bad ones. But I think with him, velocity is very important because the shape of the breaking ball and the spin, it’s usually the same. It’s still a good breaking ball. But if he doesn’t have something else to separate, he becomes a one-pitch pitcher. And like I said, game-planning comes into play. His cutter, too, is part of the equation. We’ve just got to get him back to gain his confidence, too.”

Considering the fact that he turns 33 in August, Workman adding a few more miles per hour to his fastball velocity seems like somewhat of a tall task. That being said, Cora appeared fairly confident that the former closer would be able to do it since he is back in a familiar setting with the Red Sox.

“Sometimes it mechanical. Sometimes it’s just go out there and get repetitions,” said Cora. “I don’t know how it went in spring training as far as his build-up and all that. But that was something we always talk about here — about his velocity… The velocity needs to be at a certain level and if that happens, then the other stuff is good, too. I know he’s happy. There’s a comfort level that hopefully can help him out to regain that confidence. And like I said, hopefully he can become a factor.”

When asked if he viewed the Workman signing as a gamble, Cora responded by saying that it could turn out to be a win-win situation if Workman returns to his old form.

“I don’t see it as a gamble,” he said. “I think it’s as a good opportunity for both of us. For him to get right and for us to have a good pitcher. Like Chaim [Bloom] has been saying since he got here: the deeper the better as far as the roster and the organization. This guy, he’s done it before, he’s done it in this market, and hopefully — like I said — he becomes a factor this season.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox bring back reliever Brandon Workman on minor-league deal, assign him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have brought back Brandon Workman on a minor-league deal and have assigned him to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Thursday.

Workman, who turns 33 in August, spent the first 11 years of his professional career with the Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas.

In parts of six seasons with Boston, the right-hander put together his best campaign in 2019 when he emerged as the team’s closer in the process of posting a dazzling 1.88 ERA and 2.46 FIP over 73 relief appearances spanning 71 2/3 innings of work.

Opening the 2020 season with the Sox, Workman — along with fellow reliever Heath Hembree — was dealt to the Phillies in late August in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.

With free agency looming, Workman struggled mightily in Philadelphia, as he put up a dismal 6.92 ERA and 1.146 OPS against while blowing three of a possible eight save opportunities over his final 14 outings (13 innings pitched) of the year.

Despite those struggles, Workman did manage to land a one-year, $1 million major-league deal with the Cubs in February and made the club’s Opening Day roster out of spring training.

Workman’s time in Chicago did not go as planned, however, as the Texas native surrendered  nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits, seven walks, and 11 strikeouts over 10 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen before being designated for assignment a day later.

Ultimately released by the Cubs a day later, Workman’s second go-around on the free-agent market did not last nearly as long as the first.

The Red Sox had been interested in a reunion with the 6-foot-5 hurler over the winter, and they were eventually able to bring him back — albeit on a minor-league pact.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Workman “will join the WooSox in the near future.”

Cotillo also notes that if the the likes of Josh Taylor and Austin Brice continue to struggle out of the Red Sox bullpen, the Sox could look to Workman given the familiarity there.

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana to begin rehab assignment with High-A Greenville next Tuesday

UPDATE: Cora has confirmed that Santana will indeed begin a rehab assignment next week.

Red Sox minor-league signee Danny Santana will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Greenville when the 2021 minor-league season starts next Tuesday, according to SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Santana, 30, signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last month that included an invite to big-league spring training.

Shortly after signing, however, Santana suffered a right foot infection in mid-March that required surgery as well as a stay in the hospital.

Since then, the Dominican native has been able to return to the field and has been rehabbing in Fort Myers. It would appear that he is now at a point where he can take it up a notch in regards to the level of competition he is facing.

“He’s going through his progression. He’s getting his at-bats,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Santana over the weekend. “He’s feeling good. Actually, I’ve been in touch with him every other day. And he’s progressing well.”

Originally signed by the Twins as an international free agent back in 2007, Santana has proven to be a super-utilityman of sorts over the course of a seven-year major-league career.

Over the last two seasons with the Rangers alone, the switch-hitter has played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

In addition to playing everywhere in his time with the Rangers, Santana also put together one of the best season of his career with Texas in 2019.

Across 130 games spanning 511 plate appearances, the 5-foot-11, 203 pounder slashed .283/.324/.534 with 28 home runs, 81 RBI, and 21 stolen bases en route to being named the Rangers’ Player of the Year.

Last year, though, Santana was limited to just 15 games on account of a right elbow sprain and was ultimately non-tendered by Texas in December.

“A switch-hitter with speed and power,” Cora said Thursday afternoon. “We saw it two years ago. He was amazing. Against us he was really good. I do believe he’s a quality at-bat from the left side. He brings speed. We can run a little bit more. That’s what he does… Let’s see where it takes us. We need him to get healthy and get his repetitions. And we have to be patient and see where it takes.

“But he’s a good player,” added Cora. “He’s a player we recognized during the offseason just like the other two (Kiké Hernández and Marwin Gonzalez). It just happened his situation was a little bit different with the surgery. It’s a player we really like. And we do feel when he’s right, he can contribute to a championship-caliber team.”

Before going down with that right foot infection this spring, Santana seemed to have a legitimate shot at cracking the Sox’ Opening Day roster as a bench piece given his defensive versatility and ability to hit from both sides of the plate.

Now that he is on the cusp of getting back into game action, Santana’s Red Sox debut could come sooner rather than later if Franchy Cordero (.191/.255/.234, 25 K in 51 PAs) continues to struggle at the plate.

That being the case because Cordero can be optioned to the minors and — as noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier — the Triple-A season begins next week.

Speier also notes that Santana’s initial pact with the Sox included an April 30 opt-out if he is not called up to the big-leagues, but that opt-out date has now been pushed back “by a couple of weeks” to mid-May.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Héctor Rondón retires from baseball shortly after signing minor-league deal with Red Sox

Just days after signing a minor-league deal with the Red Sox, veteran reliever Hector Rondon retired from the game of baseball earlier this month, per his transaction log at MLB.com.

Rondon, 33, initially joined Boston on a minor-league pact in late March, shortly after getting cut loose by the Phillies during the closing stages of spring training.

Upon signing with the Sox, the right-hander was assigned to the club’s alternate training site and had the opportunity to earn $1 million if he reached the majors this season.

With that in mind, the expectation seemed to be that Rondon could very well contribute to the Red Sox’ cause this year if they ever found themselves in need of more bullpen depth.

Instead of that ever happening, though, Rondon has opted to effectively end his baseball career by retiring.

Originally signed by the Indians as an international free-agent in 2004, the Venezuelan hurler went on to post a solid 3.49 ERA and 3.63 FIP over 444 career appearances (one start) and 436 total innings of work between the Cubs, Astros, and Diamondbacks from 2013-2020.

(Picture of Hector Rondon: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox right-hander Mike Shawaryn signs minor-league deal with Royals

Former Red Sox right-hander Mike Shawaryn has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals, the team announced Tuesday.

Shawaryn, 26, was originally selected by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Maryland.

In his time with the organization, the New Jersey native emerged as one of the top pitching prospects the club had to offer before he made his big-league debut in June 2019.

Over 14 appearances spanning two separate stints with the Red Sox in ’19, Shawaryn posted a 9.74 ERA and .978 OPS against while accruing 20 1/3 innings of work.

On the surface, those numbers were far from encouraging, but Shawaryn’s first exposure to the major-leagues was really a tale of two seasons.

From June 7 through June 18, the former Terrapin yielded just one earned run on four hits, five walks, and 15 strikeouts over his first six outings and 10 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 0.90.

From June 22 through September 26, he surrendered a whopping 21 earned runs on 22 hits, eight walks, and 14 strikeouts over his final eight outings and 10 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 18.29.

Despite those struggles, Shawaryn was still invited to the Sox’ alternate training site last July, though he was ultimately designated for assignment and outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster the following month.

Going into the 2021 season, the 6-foot-2, 240 pound hurler did not receive an invite to big-league spring training but was still included on the Red Sox’ initial alternate site roster.

It’s unclear how much work Shawaryn got while in Worcester, but he was apparently released by the Red Sox on April 25 and has since joined the Royals on a minor-league pact.

Kansas City should already be quite familiar with Shawaryn, as they originally drafted the righty out of Gloucester Catholic High School (N.J.) in 2013, but he chose to honor his commitment to Maryland instead.

Equipped with a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, sinker, and changeup, Shawaryn has been assigned to the Royals’ alternate training site in Northwest Arkansas and will presumably begin the minor-league season with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, Neb.

(Picture of Mike Shawaryn: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add veteran reliever Héctor Rondón on minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed veteran reliever Hector Rondon to a minor-league deal, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that Rondon will net himself $1 million if he gets called up to the majors this year.

Rondon, 33, became a free-agent last week after opting out of his minor-league pact with the Phillies.

In his brief time with Philadelphia, the Venezuelan right-hander yielded seven runs (six earned) on eight hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts over eight relief appearances spanning seven innings of work this spring.

Prior to signing with the Phillies in February, Rondon was coming off a shortened 2020 season with the Diamondbacks in which he posted a 7.65 ERA and 6.59 FIP in 23 outings and 20 innings pitched out of Arizona’s bullpen.

The fact that Rondon — a client of Octagon — struggled as much as he did last year is somewhat befuddling since he was one of the game’s most consistent relievers over the course of the first seven years of his big-league career.

From 2013-2019, the 6-foot-3, 225 pound hurler put up a 3.29 ERA and 3.49 FIP over 421 games (416 innings) between the Cubs (2013-2017) and Astros (2018-2019).

Per Baseball Savant, Rondon’s four-pitch arsenal consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, a sinker, and a changeup. He averaged a velocity of 95.7 mph with his heater last year, down from 96.7 mph in 2019.

A former international signee of the Indians back in 2004, Rondon is the second reliever the Sox inked to a minor-league deal Tuesday, as he joins another former member of the Tribe organization in left-hander Tyler Olson.

Unlike Olson, though, Rondon will report to the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester as opposed to minor-league spring training in Fort Myers, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

(Picture of Hector Rondon: Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign veteran left-hander Tyler Olson to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed veteran left-hander Tyler Olson to a minor-league deal, per FanSided’s Robert Murray.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo adds that Olson will head to Fort Myers to start the year at minor-league spring training as opposed to the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester.

Olson, 31, did not pitch in the majors in 2020 after signing a minor-league deal with the Cubs last February.

Prior to that, the veteran southpaw had seen major-league action in five consecutive seasons, as he posted a 3.83 ERA and 4.01 FIP over 124 appearances and 94 innings of work between the Mariners, Yankees, and Indians from 2015-2019.

A former seventh-round draft pick of Seattle out of Gonzaga University in 2013, Olson’s best work in the big-leagues came in his first season with the Indians 2017.

Upon getting called up by the club for the first time in late June of that year, the Washington state native did not allow a single run — earned or unearned — while scattering just 13 hits and six walks to go along with 18 strikeouts over 30 relief outings spanning 20 innings pitched through the end of the season. He held opponents to a .188/.263/.217 clip over that span.

While the 2018 and 2019 campaigns did not go nearly as well for Olson as 2017 did, he can still provide upper-minors depth as a left-handed relief option.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-3, 2015 pound hurler works with a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a changeup, and a slider.

(Picture of Tyler Olson: Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Rays minor-league right-hander Daniel Santana to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Daniel Santana to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire.

Santana, who turns 23 next month, was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as an international free-agent out of Venezuela in July 2016.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, Santana has never pitched above the rookie-league level.

In 35 appearances (18 starts) between the Dominican Summer League Rays and Gulf Coast League Rays from 2017-2019, the young righty posted a 3.64 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a 65:42 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 108 2/3 total innings of work.

He was one of 25 Rays minor-leaguers to be released by the organization last May when clubs were dealing with the initial financial constraints that came as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There is not much information out there on Santana outside of this, but he is the second Daniel E. Santana the Red Sox have signed to a minor-league deal this month, as he joins the likes of the former Twins, Braves, and Rangers utilityman.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)