Red Sox Agree to Minor-League Deal With Reliever Trevor Hildenberger

The Red Sox have reportedly signed right-handed reliever Trevor Hildenberger to a minor-league contract, according to KSTOR North’s Darren Wolfson. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Hildenberger, 29, appeared in 22 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, posting a 10.47 ERA and 5.28 xFIP over 16 1/3 innings of relief while bouncing around between the majors and Triple-A Rochester.

Once touted as one of the more impressive relief pitching prospects in the Twins’ system, the former 2014 22nd round pick got his big league career off to a roaring start, allowing a total of 15 runs over his first 37 outings and 42 frames pitched upon his first call up in June 2017.

Things have not worked out in Hildenberger’s favor since then though, which ultimately led to Minnesota non-tendering the California native last month at a point where he was not yet eligible for salary arbitration.

Per Statcast, Hildenberger relies mostly on a changeup and sinker while having a slider and four-seam fastball to turn to as well.

Come the beginning of spring training, Hildenberger should have a chance to compete for a spot in Boston’s bullpen where he would earn $700,000. And if he does not make it to the majors by August 15th, he can opt out of his deal, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

 

Former Red Sox Catcher Blake Swihart Signs Minor-League Deal With Rangers

Former Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart has signed a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers, per the club’s executive vice president of communications John Blake. The contract also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Swihart opened the 2019 season with Boston, where he was the team’s second catcher behind Christian Vazquez up until April 16th.

At that point in time, the Sox sported a record of 6-11 and owned the third-worst team ERA in the American League at 5.93.

Offensively speaking, Swihart was not lighting the world on fire, as he was slashing .231/.310/.385 with one home run and four RBI through his first 12 games.

Given the struggles all the way around, as well as the fact that Sandy Leon was stashed away in Triple-A Pawtucket, Dave Dombrowski and Co. made the decision to go with Leon over Swihart from that point forward, ultimately designating the latter for assignment on the 16th and trading him to the Arizona Diamondbacks three days later.

Out of that deal, Boston also parted ways with international amateur signing bonus pool space, but they also gained outfield prospect Marcus Wilson, who has worked his way up to become the 18th-ranked prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

Arizona, meanwhile, did not get much production out of Swihart following the completed trade, as the 27-year-old went on to slash .136/.186/.273 with three home runs and nine RBI over just 31 games due to two right oblique strain-related stints on the injured list.

Eventually designated again by old friend Mike Hazen on August 12th and spending the rest of the year at the Triple-A level, Swihart opted for free agency in late September.

It is not known if the Red Sox had any interest in a potential reunion with Swihart. Given how Vazquez is currently the only backstop on Boston’s 40-man roster, bringing back Swihart might not have been the worst idea.

Once committed to the University of Texas at Austin, Swihart will have the chance to compete for a role with a resurgent Rangers club come the spring. If he makes the team’s Opening Day roster, he’ll also have the chance to play in the same division as his longtime friend and Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, both of whom grew up in New Mexico.

This news comes a day after Swihart and his wife Shelby announced that they are expecting their first child together, so congratulations to them on that.

Red Sox Sign Right-Hander Jhoulys Chacin to Minor-League Deal

UPDATE: The deal is now official, per the Red Sox’ official Twitter account.

The Red Sox have reportedly signed veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league contract, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Chacin, 31, was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, two days after he was designated for assignment.

In 19 starts this season, Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 88 2/3 innings pitched. The Brewers went 6-13 in those games.

On Friday, the Red Sox reportedly held a workout for Chacin at Angel Stadium before opening up a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. A workout in which the Venezuela native threw a bullpen under the watch of manager Alex Cora and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, according to The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.

With Chris Sale presumably out the remainder of the season and David Price set to make his first start since August 4th on Sunday, the Sox are in need of rotation depth. That much is evident by how left-hander Josh Taylor will serve as the opener in what will be a “bullpen day” for Boston on Saturday.

#RedSox Sign Former Tampa Bay Rays Right-Hander Ryan Weber to Minor League Deal.

On Friday night, the Boston Red Sox reached an agreement with free agent right-handed pitcher Ryan Weber on a minor league contract for the 2019 season that also includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Weber, 28, becomes the third right-hander to ink a minor league deal with Boston in the past week alone, as the club announced the signings of Erasmo Ramirez and Zach Putnam this past Tuesday.

Spending last season up and down in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, the Florida native only appeared in two games at the big league level while posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 25 outings (18 starts) and 115.1 innings pitched with Triple A Durham.

A former 22nd round pick of the Atlanta Braves back in 2009, Weber is without a doubt a sinkerball pitcher, as he relied on the pitch 73% of the time he was on a major league mound in 2018, per Statcast. Compare that to just one fastball thrown while up with Tampa Bay last year.

More pitching depth never seems to be a bad thing, and as things stand right now, the Red Sox have plenty of it heading into 2019.