Red Sox sign infielder Edwin Díaz to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed infielder Edwin Diaz to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. It is unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Diaz, 27, is not to be confused with the All-Star closer for the Mets. While they both hail from Puerto Rico, the Diaz the Red Sox are signing has yet to break in at the big-league level.

A native of Vega Alta, Diaz was originally selected by the Athletics in the 15th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Ladislao Martinez High School. He made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League that July and has since appeared in a total of 717 minor-league games across nine seasons.

After reaching free agency for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, Edwin signed a minors pact with the Astros during the lockout that December. The right-handed hitter missed the first two months of the 2022 season with an undisclosed injury. He then batted .168/.254/.376 with two doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 24 RBIs, 20 runs scored, two stolen bases, 17 walks, and 60 strikeouts in 44 games (169 plate appearances) with Double-A Corpus Christi before moving up to Triple-A Sugar Land in late August.

With the Space Cowboys, Diaz slashed .227/.277/.373 with five doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 runs driven in, 12 runs scored, eight walks, and 46 strikeouts over 30 games (120 plate appearances). All told, he is a lifetime .215/.296/.394 hitter in the minor-leagues. That includes a .217/.295/.405 line at Double-A and a .175/.242/.299 line at Triple-A.

On the other side of the ball, Diaz — who is described by Lockard as slick-fielding — has experience at every infield position besides pitcher and catcher. This past season, for instance, the versatile 6-foot-2, 223-pounder logged 18 innings at first base, 191 1/3 innings at second base, 104 innings at third base, and 276 1/3 innings at shortstop between Corpus Christi and Sugar Land.

Diaz, who turns 28 in August, should provide Boston with experienced infield depth regardless of where he starts the 2023 season (Portland or Worcester). If he receives an invite to big-league spring training, he would become the ninth player to get one thus far, joining the likes of Jorge Alfaro, Greg Allen, Narciso Crook, Niko Goodrum, Caleb Hamilton, Ronaldo Hernandez, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Norwith Gudino.

In the meantime, Diaz is coming off a solid offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League in which he batted .229/375/.418 with eight homers and 29 RBIs over 48 games (192 plate appearances) for the Criollos de Caguas (Alex Cora’s hometown team). Ramon Vazquez served as Diaz’s manager in Caguas before being named Red Sox bench coach back in November.

(Picture of Edwin Diaz: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Giants prospect Norwith Gudino to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent right-hander Norwith Gudino to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the team’s transactions log. It is unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training, but Gudino has been assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

Gudino, 27, had spent the last eight years in the Giants organization after originally signing with San Francisco as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in October 2014. The Puerto Cabello native pitched in the Dominican Summer League for three seasons before making his stateside debut in 2018.

After splitting the 2021 campaign between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento, Gudino was set to return to Triple-A this spring. But he wound up missing the first seven week of the minor-league season due to an undisclosed injury. He was activated from the injured list in late May and proceeded to post an 8.87 ERA and 6.90 FIP to go along with 60 strikeouts to 31 walks in 26 appearances (six starts) spanning 47 2/3 innings pitched for the River Cats.

While those numbers may not seem all that encouraging, Gudino pitched far better in the month of September. The righty yielded five earned runs over 10 2/3 innings, but he held opponents to a .205 batting average against and only walked four of the 44 batters he faced during that stretch.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Gudino operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a splitter. He has spent this off-season pitching for the Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League and currently owns a 7.59 ERA with 11 punchouts to seven walks through eight relief outings and 10 2/3 innings of work.

Gudino, who just turned 27 in November, becomes the second significant minor-league signing the Red Sox have made this winter. Boston inked former Cubs outfielder Narciso Crook to a minors pact late last month.

(Picture of Norwith Gudino: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts signs minor-league deal with Braves

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves for the 2023 season, per his Instagram page.

Potts, 24, was originally acquired from the Padres with outfielder Jeisson Rosario in the August 2020 trade that sent Mitch Moreland to San Diego. The former first-round draft selection was added to Boston’s 40-man roster that November and spent the entirety of his first full season in the organization at Double-A Portland.

Baseball America ranked Potts as the No. 27 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system heading into the 2021 campaign. The right-handed hitting infielder was limited to just 78 games with the Sea Dogs and batted .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 307 plate appearances.

On the heels of such an underwhelming season, Potts found himself on Boston’s 40-man roster bubble coming into 2022. On March 22, the Red Sox needed to create an opening on their 40-man roster after claiming reliever Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels. They did so by designating Potts for assignment.

Potts cleared waivers three days after being designated and was outrighted to the minor-leagues. Remaining in the Red Sox organization as a non-40-man roster player, Potts proceeded to put up improved numbers in his return to Portland this season. He slashed .234/.297/.454 (101 wRC+) with 17 doubles, 14 homers, 44 runs driven in, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 24 walks, and 100 strikeouts across 75 games (296 plate appearances) before being promoted to Triple-A Worcester in late September.

In two games with the WooSox, Potts went 1-for-5 (.200) with a double, run, walk, and strikeout. Since 2022 marked his seventh year in pro ball, Potts became a minor-league free agent for the first time in his career last month. As it now turns out, it took the Texas native less than a full month to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

Considering that he does not turn 25 until next October, Potts still has a relatively high ceiling. His raw power has always been his standout tool. On the other side of the ball, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder initially came up as a shortstop but has since made the transition to the infield corners. This season, for instance, Potts started 52 games at first base compared to 20 at third.

All that being said, Potts should at the very least provide the Braves with some corner infield depth at either Double-A Mississippi or Triple-A Gwinnett next season. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a new change of scenery in 2023.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox add Enmanuel Valdez to 40-man roster, activate 5 players from 60-day injured list

UPDATE: The Red Sox have officially selected Valdez to the major-league roster. They also activated left-handers James Paxton, Chris Sale, and Josh Taylor, right-hander Tanner Houck, and first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero from the 60-day injured list.

The 40-man roster is now at 37 players.

The Red Sox will add versatile prospect Enmanuel Valdez to their 40-man roster on Thursday, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. The move prevents Valdez from reaching minor-league free agency.

Valdez, who turns 24 next month, was acquired from the Astros along with outfield prospect Wilyer Abreu in the August trade that sent catcher Christian Vazquez to Houston.

The Astros originally signed Valdez for $450,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015, so the San Juan de la Maguna native was eligible to become a minor-league free agent this winter after spending seven years in the minors.

At the time the trade was made, Valdez was batting .327/.410/.606 with 26 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 77 RBIs, 66 runs scored, five stolen bases, 45 walks, and 73 strikeouts in 82 games (378 plate appearances) between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land to begin the 2022 season. Upon switching organizations for the first time in his career, the left-handed hitter proceeded to slash .237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven homers, 30 runs driven in, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 44 games (195 plate appearances) for Triple-A Worcester.

Defensively, Valdez saw the majority of his playing time with the WooSox come in the infield. The 5-foot-9, 191-pounder logged 330 innings at second base and 24 innings at third base. He also made three starts in left field and has one career start as a right fielder under his belt.

As things stand now, Valdez is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox will not have to make a corresponding move to add Valdez to their 40-man roster since it currently sits at 31 players.

Valdez has spent his offseason playing for the Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League. In 12 games with the club, he has gone just 6-for-32 (.188) at the plate with one extra-base hit, two RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, and nine strikeouts.

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Red Sox need to add Enmanuel Valdez to 40-man roster this month in order to prevent him from reaching free agency

Enmanuel Valdez is eligible to become a minor-league free agent this offseason. The Red Sox, therefore, have until five days following the conclusion of the World Series to add the versatile 23-year-old to their 40-man roster in order to prevent him from hitting the open market.

Boston acquired Valdez and fellow prospect Wilyer Abreu from the Astros in the August trade that sent veteran catcher Christian Vazquez to Houston. Both players can become eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft if they are not added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in the coming weeks.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox could elect to re-sign Valdez to a minor-league contract. But that would still leave him (and Abreu) exposed to the Rule 5 Draft if they were not added to the 40-man prior to the November deadline.

In 2016, the Red Sox saw Josh Rutledge leave for the Rockies via minor-league free agency. They then re-acquired Rutledge by selecting him from Colorado in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The following year, they added Bryce Brentz to the 40-man roster after the 2017 World Series in order to block him from reaching minor-league free agency. These are just a few past examples provided by Smith.

Valdez, who turns 24 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The native Dominican originally signed with Houston for $450,000 as an international free agent coming out San Juan de la Maguna in July 2015.

At the time the three-player trade between the Red Sox and Astros was made this summer, Valdez was batting .327/.410/.606 with 26 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 77 RBIs, 66 runs scored, five stolen bases, 45 walks, and 73 strikeouts in 82 games (378 plate appearances) between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land.

Upon switching organizations for the first time in his career, the left-handed hitter proceeded to slash .237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven homers, 30 runs driven in, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 44 games (195 plate appearances) for Triple-A Worcester.

Though his production dropped off with the WooSox, Valdez still posted a 131 wRC+ on the 2022 season as a whole and was named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Year as a result.

Defensively, Valdez saw the majority of his playing time in Worcester come in left field. The 5-foot-9, 191-pounder logged 330 innings at the keystone and 24 innings at third. He also made three starts in left field and has limited experience in right field as well.

Given that he is only one promotion away from the big-leagues, it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would risk losing Valdez this winter and will instead add him to their 40-man roster sooner rather than later. It is also worth mentioning that, after outrighting Tyler Danish on Monday, Boston currently has 39 players on its 40-man roster. Perhaps that spot will go to Valdez.

In the meantime, Valdez has been playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. Coming into play on Tuesday, he has gone 6-for-28 (.214) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, and six strikeouts in nine games with the Toros del Este.

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox outfielder Tate Matheny announces retirement

Former Red Sox minor-league outfielder Tate Matheny announced his retirement from the game of baseball on Monday afternoon. He made the announcement through a heartfelt statement on Instagram.

The son of former major-league catcher and current Royals manager Mike Matheny, Tate was selected by the Sox in the fourth round of the 2015 amateur draft out of Missouri State University. After signing with Boston that summer, the St. Louis native made his pro debut for the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League.

By the end of the 2019 season, Matheny had made it as far as the Triple-A level. The COVID-19 pandemic may have put Minor League Baseball on hold in 2020, but the right-handed hitter was able to work his way back into the fold in 2021.

Between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year, Matheny batted .242/.323/.450 (107 wRC+) with 16 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 39 RBIs, 36 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 29 walks, and 92 strikeouts over 78 games (269 plate appearances) while seeing time at all three outfield positions. He perhaps most notably robbed Buffalo Bisons shortstop Kevin Smith of a home run when Chris Sale was making a rehab start for the WooSox at Polar Park in late July.

Matheny, who turned 28 earlier this month, became a minor-league free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. It took some time, but he ultimately decided to hang up the cleats after spending all seven years of his professional career with the Red Sox organization.

“I don’t know how to even start this post I just have so much to be thankful for,” Matheny wrote in part on Instagram earlier Monday. “This game has brought me so many gifts. The friends I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, have come from this game but it’s time to say goodbye.”

As for what he has planned next, Matheny wrote: ” I am nothing but grateful for what this game has given me! I can’t wait for the next chapter in our lives!”

For his minor-league career, which spanned 562 games and 2,239 plate appearances across five different levels, Matheny slashed .250/.311/.368 to go along with 502 total hits, 104 doubles, 19 triples, 32 homers, 243 RBIs, 285 runs scored, 87 stolen bases, 168 walks, and 604 strikeouts.

In terms of personal accolades, the 6-foot, 180 pounder was named the Red Sox’ Minor League Base Runner of the Year in 2017. He was also recognized by Baseball America as the top defensive outfielder in Boston’s farm system entering the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons.

While it is unclear what Matheny has in store for this next phase of his life, it should be interesting to see if he follows in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in coaching.

Regardless of that, we at Blogging the Red Sox wish Matheny and his family the best moving forward.

(Picture of Tate Matheny: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox sign veteran catcher Chris Herrmann to minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed veteran catcher Chris Herrmann to a minor-league contract, according to @iTalkStudiosYT on Twitter and confirmed by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Herrmann, 33, spent the majority of the 2020 season at the Giants’ alternate training site after signing a minor-league pact with the club in late July.

For his big-league career, which spans parts of eight seasons with four teams (Twins, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Athletics), the Texas native owns a lifetime .205/.282/.344 slash line to go along with 25 home runs and 103 RBI over 370 total games played, more than half of which came with Arizona in 2016-2017.

While primarily a catcher, Herrmann — a product of the University of Miami and former 2009 sixth-round draft pick of the Twins — does have limited experience at first base as well as all three outfield positions.

In signing a minor-league contract with the Sox, the 6-foot, 200 lb. backstop will join a catching mix at big-league camp in Fort Myers that includes the likes of Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, Connor Wong, Jhonny Pereda, and Roldani Baldwin.

Leading up to the start of spring training, it seemed like Boston was primed to add a veteran catcher in some capacity to fill the void left behind by Jett Bandy and Juan Centeno, and they have now done that by inking Herrmann for the 2021 season.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
C Chris Herrmann
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz
RHP Jose Adames
RHP Matt Carasiti

(Picture of Chris Herrmann: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Red Sox add right-hander Matt Carasiti on minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Matt Carasiti to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Carasiti, 29, is a veteran of two major-league seasons — first with the Rockies in 2016 and then with Mariners in 2019 — and owns a lifetime 7.46 ERA and 4.83 FIP over 30 appearances (five starts as an opener) and 25 1/3 innings of work between the two clubs.

A native of Berlin, Conn., Carasiti was originally selected by Colorado in the sixth round of the 2012 amateur draft out of St. John’s University in Queens.

Across seven minor-league seasons between five different levels, the 6-foot-2, 205 lb. righty is 17-29 with an ERA of 4.26 and batting average against of .272 over 250 total appearances, 34 of which were starts, and 432 2/3 innings pitched.

He also has experience overseas, as he pitched for the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2018 before coming back over to the states.

Around this time last year, Carasiti inked a minor-league pact with the San Francisco Giants only to undergo Tommy John surgery in March.

Per Bradford, the New England-born hurler recently held a workout for approximately nine clubs in Connecticut, leading to his signing with the Sox.

Based off data from Baseball Savant, Carasiti works with a sinker, a cutter, a forkball, and a changeup.

(h/t Chris Hogan for the video)

Carasiti will have the opportunity to further showcase this pitch mix while competing for a spot in the Red Sox’ Opening Day bullpen next month, though he will likely begin the year with Triple-A Pawtucket in more of a depth role.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz
RHP Jose Adames
RHP Matt Carasiti

(Picture of Matt Carasiti: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox add flamethrowing right-hander José Adames on minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Jose Adames to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire. It’s unclear at this point if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Adames, who turned 28 earlier this month, has spent the last eight seasons with the Reds and Marlins organizations.

Originally signed by Miami out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Adames has never pitched above the Class-A level due in part to the amount of time he has missed because of injury.

The 6-foot-2, 165 lb. hurler has undergone Tommy John surgery on two separate occasions in his professional career — the first of which came in September 2016, the second of which came in June 2018 — which resulted in him missing the entirety of the 2017 and 2018 minor-league seasons as well as the majority of 2019.

In brief stints with the Ariziona League Reds and rookie-league Billings Mustangs at the tail end of the 2019 campaign, Adames “came out firing fastballs in the upper 90s each time, and struck out 8 of the 16 hitters he faced,” according to RedsMinorLeague.com’s Doug Gray.

This past season, Adames was not included in Cincinnati’s major-league spring training roster, though he did get the chance to appear in two Cactus League games against the Rangers and Cubs on February 24 and March 7.

The fireballer managed to work a scoreless frame in each of those outings while also topping out at 100 mph with his fastball at one point.

With the 2020 minor-league season getting cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Adames did not get the opportunity to pitch in organized games over the summer, nor was he part of the Reds’ 60-man player pool at any point last year.

He did however pitch for Águilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican Winter League, allowing six runs (five earned) on three hits and five walks over two relief appearances and 2 2/3 innings of work.

With his new organization, Adames, who projects as potential upper minor-league bullpen depth, will look to make a positive first impression in Fort Myers if he is indeed invited to big-league spring training.

He does bring with him some rave reviews from members of the Reds’ player development staff, including pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz
RHP Jose Adames

(Picture of Jose Adames: Águilas Cibaeñas/Twitter)

Red Sox add infielder Jack López on minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire. It’s unclear at this point if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Lopez, who turned 28 last month, was originally drafted by the Royals in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Deltona High School (Fla.).

Since then, the native of Puerto Rico has spent time in the Royals and Braves’ organizations, accruing a career .237/.290/.324 slash line to go along with 42 home runs, 282 RBI, and 130 stolen bases over 820 total minor-league contests between the Rookie League, Class-A, Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels.

This winter, Lopez has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League for Indios de Mayaguez, who are currently in that league’s championship series against Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s hometown Criollos de Caguas.

In 13 games with Mayaguez, Lopez has posted a .655 OPS over 52 plate appearances while also drawing eight walks and swiping three bases.

Capable of playing all over the infield and in addition to some corner outfield, Lopez could potentially serve as upper-level minor-league depth in his new role with the Sox.

The 5-foot-10, right-handed hitter’s baseball roots run deep, as he is the son of former minor-league backstop and major-league bullpen catcher Juan Lopez and the nephew of former Royals infielder Onix Concepcion.

A one-time commit to the University of Miami, Lopez already has some Red Sox connections given the fact that he is followed on Instagram by the likes of Cora and Enrique Hernandez.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz

(Picture of Jack Lopez: Scott Audette/MLB Photos via Getty Images)