Red Sox non-tender Yu Chang, Franchy Cordero

The Red Sox have elected not to tender 2023 contracts to infielder Yu Chang and first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero, the club announced on Friday night. As a result, both Chang and Cordero are now free agents.

Chang, 27, was claimed off waivers from the Rays in early September. The versatile right-handed hitter went 3-for-20 (.150) with two doubles, one RBI, three runs scored, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 11 games with the Red Sox, his fourth and final team of the 2022 season.

A former top prospect out of Taiwan who first broke in with the Guardians in 2019, Chang was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $900,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Taitung native is now free to explore opportunities elsewhere, though the Red Sox may look to bring him back on a minor-league contract.

Cordero, meanwhile, was one of three players the Red Sox acquired from the Royals in the three-team trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City in February 2021. The left-handed hitter posted a dismal .497 OPS across 48 games in his first season with Boston and was designated for assignment last October.

After clearing waivers, Cordero was subsequently re-signed. The 28-year-old opened the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester before having his contract selected in late April. He batted .282/.346/.479 in his first 25 games with the Sox this past season and most notably hit a walk off grand slam against the Mariners at Fenway Park on May 22.

But Cordero began to struggle again as the season progressed. He slumped to the tune of a .162 batting average in the month of July and was sent back down to Worcester on August 2. Eric Hosmer being placed on the injured list towards the end of the month led to Cordero being recalled. The native Dominican proceeded to belt four home runs in his first 12 games back with the club, but he saw his season prematurely come to an end on September 5 after crashing into the right field wall at Tropicana Field and suffering a right ankle sprain.

In 132 total games with the Red Sox over the last two years, Cordero slashed just .209/.279/.350 with 23 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 36 walks, and 143 strikeouts across 411 plate appearances. He put up those numbers while grading poorly as a defender at both first base and in the outfield.

As is the case with Chang, the Red Sox could look to reunite with Cordero — who was projected to earn $1.5 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility — by way of a lesser or a minor-league deal for the 2023 campaign. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston “remains intrigued with Cordero’s tools and he is a beloved clubhouse presence.”

With two left-handed hitting first basemen in Hosmer and Triston Casas already on the big-league roster, though, it would presumably be difficult to find Cordero any meaningful playing time next year.

By non-tendering Chang and Cordero, the Red Sox have created two spots on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 38 players. Eight of those players are already under contract for 2023. The other 30 unsigned players will be tendered contracts and will negotiate their salaries for next season in the near future.

While Rafael Devers headlines that group, Ryan Brasier, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor are among those who were considered non-tender candidates earlier in the week. They will instead be tendered contracts alongside other arbitration-eligible players such as Nick Pivetta, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, and Reese McGuire.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rob Refsnyder avoid arbitration by agreeing to $1.2 million deal for 2023 season

The Red Sox and outfielder Rob Refsnyder have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal for the 2023 season, reports Chad Jennings of The Athletic.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo relays that Refsnyder will receive $1.2 million in 2023, which represents a 50 percent raise from the $800,000 he earned in 2022. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that the deal includes up to $100,000 in performance bonuses.

Refsnyder originally signed a minor-league pact with the Sox last December. After failing to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the 31-year-old accepted an assignment to Triple-A Worcester. He first made his Red Sox debut as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.

In 57 total games with the Red Sox, Refsnyder batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching as evidenced by his .359/.411/.594 slash line off southpaws.

Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions this season. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 24 2/3 innings in left, 115 innings in center, and 163 innings in right while registering one outfield assist. He also has past experience at every infield position besides shortstop.

“Great season. Great job for us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last month in regards to Refsnyder’s performance. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”

For as productive as Refsnyder was this year, he also dealt with his fair share of injuries. A right knee sprain sidelined him from July 30 until August 6. He then missed the final four games of the season after being shut down with low back spasms.

“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” said Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the offseason and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”

Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, provides Cora and Co. with experienced outfield depth. The native South Korean is likely to serve as the club’s fourth outfielder next season, but he could also platoon with a left-handed hitter if needed.

As things stand now, the Red Sox have Refsnyder, Alex Verdugo, and Enrique Hernandez as available outfield options while Jarren Duran is also on the 40-man roster. That being said, the expectation seems to be that Boston will look to bolster its outfield via trade and/or free agency this winter.

With Refsnyder locked in for 2023, the Red Sox still have nine other arbitraiton-eligible players on their roster in Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, Nick Pivetta, Franchy Cordero, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Josh Taylor, Reese McGuire, and Yu Chang. The club has until next Friday, November 18, to tender these players a contract or they will otherwise become free agents.

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox non-tender Tim Locastro, but ‘are already trying to re-sign’ speedy outfielder, per report

The Red Sox may have non-tendered Tim Locastro on Tuesday night, but the club may already be looking into bringing the speedy outfielder back.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox are indeed trying to re-sign Locastro, who was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2022.

Locastro, 29, was originally claimed off waivers from the Yankees on November 5 and was subsequently added to Boston’s 40-man roster. He spent the 2021 season with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, slashing .180/.263/.252 with four doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, 15 runs scored, five stolen bases, seven walks, and 33 strikeouts over 64 games (156 plate appearances) between both clubs.

Upon getting traded from Arizona to New York on July 1, Locastro suffered a season-ending injury very early into his Yankees career, as he tore his right ACL in a game against the Red Sox in the Bronx on July 17.

After undergoing season-ending knee surgery on July 21, Locastro later lost his spot on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, thus allowing the Red Sox to claim him in the first place.

As of early November, the right-handed hitting speedster had began running again and was making significant progress in his rehab.

“Tim’s on track for a full recovery from his injury,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a recent conversation with BloggingtheRedSox.com. “With his speed and athleticism, he’s great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

At that time, Bloom also said, “We’ll see how things play out from here.” Less than a full month later, it turns out Boston has removed Locastro from their 40-man roster.

While coming off a tough injury such as an ACL tear, Locastro had previously established himself as one of the quickest base runners in the majors. Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder led the league in sprint speed in 2019 (30.8 feet per second) and 2020 (30.7 feet per second) and was tied with Trea Turner atop the leaderboard in 2021 (30.7 feet per second).

Taking his elite speed and the fact that he plays all three outfield positions into consideration, there is an appeal to Locastro’s game. The former 13th-round draft pick out of Ithaca College does not turn 30 until next July, has one minor-league option year remaining, and is also under club control through 2024.

With that being said, Cotillo notes that in their efforts to retain Locastro, the Red Sox could get the New York native to sign a minor-league deal for the 2022 season that would include an invite to major-league spring training.

Boston has, after all, been active in minor-league free agency as of late. On Tuesday, the club reportedly inked outfielders Rob Refsnyder and Christin Stewart to minor-league contracts for the 2022 campaign.

Adding Locastro via another minors pact would only further strengthen the Sox’ outfield depth behind the likes of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and Jarren Duran.

On another note, it is worth mentioning that Locastro was one of 41 players to not be tendered a contract by their respective teams on Tuesday. It’s likely that the Red Sox will be involved in talks with those who have recently been made free agents before the impending work stoppage begins on Wednesday night.

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Ryan Brasier, non-tender Tim Locastro in flurry of roster moves

In a flurry of roster moves made on Tuesday, the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract with Ryan Brasier for the 2022 season, did not tender a contract for 2022 to Tim Locastro, and tendered contracts to all 27 remaining unsigned players on the major-league roster.

The club made all of these transactions official earlier Tuesday night.

By signing Brasier to a one-year pact for the 2022 season, the Red Sox have avoided salary arbitration with the right-handed reliever.

According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, Brasier will earn $1.4 million next year, which is the exact same amount MLB Trade Rumors projected he would receive in what would have been his second season of arbitration eligibility.

This past season marked Brasier’s fourth in the Red Sox organization since originally inking a minor-league pact with Boston back in March 2018, and it was certainly a hellish one.

After breaking his pinky finger over the winter and straining a calf muscle during spring training, the 34-year-old was struck in the head by a line drive during a simulated game in Fort Myers in early June.

Brasier was left with a concussion, but the veteran righty made his way back to the major-leagues by September and wound up posting a 1.50 ERA with nine strikeouts to four walks over 13 appearances spanning 12 innings pitched out of the Boston bullpen.

Brasier, who does not turn 35 until next August, put up those numbers while making $1.25 million in 2021, so the $1.4 million he is slated to earn in 2022 represents an increase from that amount.

On the flip side of retaining Brasier, the Red Sox non-tendered Locastro, the speedy outfielder they claimed off waivers from the Yankees in early November.

Locastro, 29, tore his ACL last season and is just months removed from the season-ending surgery he underwent in July.

While he is on track for a full recovery, the Sox ultimately decided against tendering Locastro a contract for the 2022 campaign, thus bringing the size of their 40-man roster down to 37 players as he becomes a free agent.

That being said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the Red Sox are already trying to re-sign Locastro on a new deal. The New York native was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility, but could be brought back to Boston on a minor-league deal.

Besides Brasier and Locastro, the Red Sox tendered contracts to all remaining unsigned players on their major-league roster. That group also includes arbitration-eligible players such as Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Kevin Plawecki, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Taylor.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Verdugo, Arroyo, Pivetta, and Taylor are all first-year eligible, while Devers and Renfroe are in their second year of eligibility and Plawecki is in his third.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox should consider signing right-hander Ryne Stanek

The Red Sox are a team in need of pitching help — both of the starting rotation and bullpen variety — this offseason. Among the names available via free agency, Ryne Stanek is far from the sexiest. But, the right-hander could prove to be an integral piece of any club’s pitching staff if he regains his 2018-2019 form come next season.

Non-tendered by the Marlins earlier this week, the 29-year-old hurler hits the open market for the first time in his career coming off a lackluster 2020 campaign in which he allowed eight earned runs over just nine relief appearances and 10 innings of work. He was limited due to the fact that he missed a month on the injured list for an undisclosed reason.

Originally acquired by Miami from the Rays at last season’s trade deadline, Stanek had been enjoying success at the major-league level with Tampa Bay prior to his move to South Beach.

Going back to the start of the 2018 season, the St. Louis native had posted a 3.17 ERA and 3.64 FIP in exactly 100 appearances (56 starts) and 122 innings pitched up until the point he was traded in late July 2019.

Those are decent numbers, and considering the fact he was only projected to earn $800,000 in his first season of arbitration eligibility in 2021, Stanek could be someone teams believe will bounce back with a new change of scenery. The Red Sox, by all accounts, could very well be one of those teams.

Not only could Stanek, who works with a four-seamer, slider, and splitter, provide valuable pitching depth for a club in desperate need of it, but there’s the Chaim Bloom factor to consider as well.

Boston’s chief baseball officer was a key member of Tampa Bay’s front office for over a decade, and he most likely had input on who the Rays took with their second first-round pick of the 2013 amateur draft in Stanek, a former Arkansas Razorback.

So far in his tenure with the Sox, Bloom has not shied away from picking up former early-round picks who had fallen off from their former top prospect status. Infielder Christian Arroyo, who was most notably part of the trade that sent Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in 2017, is just one example.

Stanek fits that same mold to some degree, and he would also fit in with the Red Sox on account of the fact that he is versatile, capable of pitching out of the bullpen and serving as an opener when needed.

As mentioned earlier, 56 of Stanek’s 121 appearances with the Rays going back to 2017 had come as an opener. The 6-foot-4 right-hander proved to be quite effective in that role, and he may be able to regain that level of effectiveness if he were to return to it with Boston.

The way the Sox’ rotation looks at the moment in terms of the level of depth, it would not hurt to have an opener as a potential sixth or seventh option if a starter were to go down for whatever reason.

We have certainly seen out fair share of Red Sox openers going back to the latter half of the 2019 season, but bringing in someone like Stanek, one of the role’s innovators, could have the makings to be an underrated offseason addition for Bloom and Co.

Red Sox sign Matt Barnes, 6 others to one-year deals, tender contract to Rafael Devers

UPDATE: As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox also signed right-hander Chris Mazza and outfielder Yairo Munoz to one-year deals on Wednesday.

The non-tender deadline came and went Wednesday night without the Red Sox cutting a single arbitration or pre-arbitration eligible player from its 40-man roster.

Per a team release, the Sox agreed to one-year contracts with the likes of right-handers Austin Brice, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Mazza, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, and catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Additionally, Boston will tender one-year contracts for the 2021 season to 25 players who remain unsigned, with third baseman Rafael Devers being the most notable of those individuals after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a deal.

The 24-year-old will have until January 15 to come to terms on a contract with the Sox or he will otherwise be headed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career come February.

As for the other players involved here, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo has the details on how much Barnes, Brasier, Brice, Mazza, Munoz, Plawecki, and Rodriguez will be earning next season:

Barnes: $4.5 million salary for 2021
Brasier: $1.25 million salary for 2021
Brice: $870,000 salary for 2021
Mazza: $576,000
Munoz: $582,500
Plawecki: $1.6 million salary for 2021
Rodriguez $8.3 million salary for 2021

All in all, the Red Sox owe this group listed above more than $17.5 million headed into the upcoming season.

Barnes, 30, and Rodriguez, 27, are the only two players who were entering their final year of arbitration eligibility, meaning they will become free agents for the first time in their respective careers next winter barring any extension talks.

On account of them not making any sort of cuts or subtractions on Wednesday, Boston’s 40-man roster is still at full capacity. That is likely to change now that this offseason’s free agency class has increased in size due to other clubs non-tendering a staggering amount of their eligible players in order to save money.

Red Sox Bring Back Marco Hernandez and Josh Osich on Split Contracts

Less than two full days after non-tendering them, the Red Sox have brought back infielder Marco Hernandez and left-handed reliever Josh Osich on cheaper, one-year contracts for the 2020 season. The club made the transactions official earlier Wednesday.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Hernandez’s new deal is a split contract, or one that pays him $650,000 in the majors and also allows him to spend time in the minors if needed.

The 27-year-old out of the Dominican Republic slashed .250/.279/.338 with two home runs and 18 RBI over 61 games in his return to Boston this past season.

Hernandez was projected to earn $7 million in salary arbitration for the 2020 campaign, hence the incentive to work out a new deal that saves the Sox a little bit of money.

As for Osich, the 31-year-old reliever is back with Boston on a one-year split contract worth approximately $850,000, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Claimed off waivers by the Red Sox back in late October, the former White Sox southpaw posted an ERA of 4.66 and FIP of 4.96 over 57 relief appearances and 67 2/3 innings of work in 2019. He was projected to earn about $1 million in arbitration next year, so once more Boston is saving themselves some change.

With these moves, the Sox’ 40-man roster is back up to 36 players as the winter meetings in San Diego quickly approach.

Red Sox Free Agency Targets: Taijuan Walker

Following the fallout of the non-tender deadline Monday night, one of the many notable players released by his club was right-hander Taijuan Walker being let go by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 27-year-old was a key piece along with Ketel Marte for Arizona in the trade that sent Zac Curtis, Mitch Haniger, and Jean Segura to the Seattle Mariners back in November 2016.

Old friend Mike Hazen, who at the time was just over a month into his new role as Diamondbacks’ general manager, more than likely thought he was getting a key member of his club’s starting rotation in the then-24-year-old Walker. Instead, injuries ravaged the hurler’s time in the desert, and he is now a free agent.

A former first-round pick of the Mariners back in 2010, Walker made just one start for Arizona in 2019, when he pitched one scoreless inning in the team’s final game of the season, after working his way back from Tommy John Surgery, which he underwent in April 2018.

Coming into this winter, the Louisiana native was projected to earn a little more than $5 million in salary arbitration for 2020, but the Diamondbacks must have felt that was too steep a price to pay given the recent health concerns.

When asked about the reason for non-tendering Walker, Hazen emphasized the starting pitching depth his team already has, as in Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Mike Leake, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

“I think if (Walker) comes into camp and he ends up in the pen, through competition, I don’t know that that was an outcome for us that was an ideal solution – probably for either side,” Hazen said Monday. “We think he’s a starting pitcher.”

You know which team could use some major league-ready starting pitching for next season? The Red Sox.

With a projected rotation of Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi, a fifth spot will be needed. Not to mention that the statuses of Sale, Price, and Eovaldi, both in terms of health and trade rumors, are up in the air at the moment.

In Walker, Boston would get someone who owns a career 3.95 ERA and 4.21 FIP over 97 appearances (94 starts) and 528 1/3 innings pitched. Neither of those first two numbers are particularly elite, but an elite pitcher is not what the Red Sox are looking for.

Sure, there are health concerns, but across baseball, it seems like Walker was viewed as a bounce back candidate for 2020. That is someone that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and co. should be willing to take a risk on.

 

Red Sox Non-Tender Marco Hernandez and Josh Osich

The Red Sox have non-tendered infielder Marco Hernandez and left-handed reliever Josh Osich, making them free agents. The club made the transactions official earlier Monday night.

For many, the move to non-tender Hernandez comes as quite the surprise, as the 27-year-old was projected to earn $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2020.

After making his way back from multiple shoulder surgeries in 2019, Hernandez slashed .250/.279/.338 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 61 games with Boston this past season. He also played second base and shortstop.

With Hernandez seemingly out of the picture at this point, options at second base for the Red Sox who are currently on the 40-man roster include C.J Chatham, Michael Chavis, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Dustin Pedroia.

As for Osich, the move to non-tender the 31-year-old comes just over a month after Boston claimed him off waivers from the Chicago White Sox back in late October.

Per MLB Trade Rumors, Osich was set to make $1 million in arbitration in 2020 after spending the first five years of his career between the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox.

Going back to the 40-man roster, left-handed options out of the bullpen the Red Sox now have include Yoan Aybar, Kyle Hart, Darwinzon Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, and Josh Taylor.

Following Monday’s moves, the Sox’ 40-man roster now stands at 34 players.

Red Sox’ Trevor Kelley Claimed off Waivers by Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies claimed right-handed reliever Trevor Kelley off waivers from the Red Sox on Monday. Both clubs made the transaction official.

Kelley, 26, made his big league debut for Boston this past season on July 2nd, and went on to post a 8.64 ERA and 6.69 FIP over 10 appearances out of the bullpen spanning 8 1/3 innings of work.

A former 36th-round pick out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015, the Rhode Island native owns a lifetime 2.37 ERA in the minors over 171 relief outings and 247 innings pitched.

Since Kelley was on Boston’s 40-man roster, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster now stands at 36 players with the non-tender deadline just a few hours away as this is being written.