The Red Sox have signed free agent outfielder Bradley Zimmer to a minor-league contract, as was first reported by Beyond the Monster’s Chris Henrique and confirmed by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Zimmer, 30, was released by the Dodgers on Thursday after originally signing a minors pact with Los Angeles back in December. In 31 games with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, the left-handed hitter batted .219/.322/.343 with four doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs, 18 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 13 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 121 plate appearances.
A former first-round draft selection of the Guardians out of the University of San Francisco in 2014, Zimmer was once regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball. The California native broke in with Cleveland in 2017 and spent the first five years of his career there despite never being able to establish himself as a big-league regular.
In parts of five seasons with the Guardians, Zimmer compiled a .226/.310/.348 slash line with 29 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs, 86 RBIs, 103 runs scored, 39 stolen bases, 71 walks, and 285 strikeouts over 263 total games (858 plate appearances). He appeared in just 34 games in 2018 and nine games in 2019 after recovering from arthroscopic right shoulder surgery.
Though Zimmer made the Guardians’ Opening Day roster out of spring training last year, he was traded to the Blue Jays for right-hander Anthony Castro on April 8. He then spent the next four months with Toronto before being designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Phillies on August 18.
After just nine days with Philadelphia, though, Zimmer was once again designated for assignment and returned to Toronto via waiver claim on Aug. 29. Between the two clubs, Zimmer went 13-for-105 (.124) at the plate with five doubles, two homers, five RBIs, 18 runs scored, three stolen bases, five walks, and 45 strikeouts across a career-high 109 games. He was removed from the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster in November and elected free agency after clearing waivers.
Zimmer, who does not turn 31 until November, figures to provide the Red Sox with experienced outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester. He has already reported to the WooSox and was spotted taking batting practice at Polar Park earlier Friday afternoon.
As things stand now, the Red Sox already have four left-handed hitting outfielders on their major-league roster in Jarren Duran, Raimel Tapia, Alex Verdugo, and Masataka Yoshida. With that, it may be tough for Zimmer to make his way to Boston, especially when you consider the fact that he is out of minor-league options.
That being said, there is still a lot to like about Zimmer’s game even if the offensive production is lacking. Last year, for instance, the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder logged 369 2/3 innings between center and right field and was worth six defensive runs saved. He also has past experience in left field and still possesses quality speed.
With Oklahoma City, Zimmer made one start in left, eight starts in center, and 16 starts in right field. He will now join the likes of Wilyer Abreu, Greg Allen, Narciso Crook, Marcus Wilson, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Nick Sogard in making up Worcester’s outfield mix.
Zimmer is the latest depth addition Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has made through either a trade, a waiver claim, or minor-league free agency in recent weeks. Zack Littell and Pablo Reyes (acquired in separate trades) and Brennan Bernardino (claimed off waivers from the Mariners) have all appeared in big-league games for Boston this season.
(Picture of Bradley Zimmer: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)