The Red Sox have signed free agent left-hander Skylar Arias to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the club’s transactions log. Arias has been assigned to Double-A Portland.
Arias, 25, was originally selected by Cleveland in the 24th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Tallahassee Community College. The Florida native spent parts of seven seasons in the Guardians organization before being released last June.
Shortly after being cut loose by the Guardians, Arias signed a minors pact with the White Sox. The 6-foot-3, 204-pound southpaw pitched across three different levels in 2022, though 24 of his 26 relief appearances were for Chicago’s High-A affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C. He posted a 3.91 ERA and 3.88 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 17 walks over 23 innings of work for the Dash before becoming a free agent again in November.
Among the 238 pitchers who accrued at least 20 innings in the South Atlantic League last year, Arias ranked 11th in strikeouts per nine innings (14.48), 20th in strikeout rate (35.6 percent), and 18th in batting average against (.171), per FanGraphs. He also walked more than 16 percent of the batters he faced.
Arias, who turns 26 in June, has some experience above the High-A level. He made one appearance for Double-A Birmingham last August, allowing three runs (two earned) in a third of an inning. In 2021, the lefty forged a 6.92 ERA and 5.01 FIP with 53 strikeouts to 35 walks across 36 outings spanning 40 1/3 frames of relief for Double-A Akron.
According to a Baseball America scouting report from December 2021, Arias “deploys a trio of pitches in his low-90s fastball, low-80s slider and low-to-mid-80s changeup. He has an unusual four-seam fastball that’s heavy with side spin, but lacks hop, moving almost like a sinker from a flat vertical approach angle. This allows the pitch to play above his below-average velocity.
“His slider is far and away his go-to swing-and-miss offering, with a whiff rate above 50 percent despite accounting for a quarter of his usage,” it continues. “From a shape perspective his changeup may be his most intriguing pitch. It sits 82 mph with average velocity separation from his fastball. He does an excellent job of killing the lift on the pitch, which gives it plenty of tumble. It also has hellacious run.”
Arias becomes the latest left-hander the Red Sox have signed to a minor-league deal in recent weeks, joining the likes of Matt Dermody and Ryan Sherriff. Unlike Dermody and Sherriff, however, it does not appear as though Arias will receive an invite to major-league spring training.
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