Red Sox acquire right-hander James Norwood from Phillies

The Red Sox have acquired right-hander James Norwood from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations, the team announced on Saturday.

Norwood, 28, was designated for assignment by Philadelphia last Monday after posting an 8.31 ERA — but a much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 22 strikeouts to nine walks over 20 relief appearances (17 1/3 innings) with the club this season.

Before this move was made, Boston’s 40-man roster was at 39 players since Christian Arroyo is on the COVID-19 related injured list. They therefore did not need to make a corresponding move in order to add Norwood, who is out of minor-league options.

A native of New York City, Norwood was originally selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2014 amateur draft out of St. Louis University. The righty broke in with Chicago in 2018 and has since produced a 5.48 ERA (3.73 FIP) in 48 career major-league outings between the Cubs, Padres, and Phillies.

Per Baseball Savant, Norwood operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a splitter, and a slider. The 6-foot-2, 215 pound hurler has averaged 96.6 mph with his four-seamer this season, which ranks in the 91st percentile of qualified big-league pitchers.

Because he is out of options, the Red Sox will have to keep Norwood on their 26-man roster or will otherwise have to expose him to waivers if they wish for him to remain in the organization at Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of James Norwood: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox slugger Kyle Schwarber to sign with Phillies, per report

Kyle Schwarber will not be returning to the Red Sox in 2022. The free-agent slugger has instead reached an agreement with the Phillies, as first reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury.

According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, Schwarber and the Phillies have agreed to a four-year deal, pending a physical, with an average annual value of just under $20 million. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman relays that the total value of the contract is $79 million.

Schwarber came to the Red Sox from the Nationals last July in a trade that sent pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez back to Washington. At that time, the then-28-year-old was on the injured list due to a right hamstring strain he suffered earlier that month.

It took until August 13 for Schwarber to make his Red Sox debut, but he certainly made his impact felt and endeared himself to the fanbase quickly. Over 41 regular season games with Boston, the left-handed hitter slashed .291/.435/.522 with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 18 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 33 walks, and 39 strikeouts across 168 plate appearances.

Traditionally an outfielder throughout his big-league career, Schwarber made 15 appearances in left field for the Sox and 10 appearances at first base, marking the first time he had played the infield position since 2017.

All told, Schwarber was a member of the Red Sox for just over three months before hitting free agency by declining his mutual option in November. It was reported several times throughout the off-season that Boston was interested in a reunion with the 29-year-old, though nothing came to fruition on that front.

Earlier Wednesday morning, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom spoke with reporters from JetBlue Park just after Salisbury reported the details of Schwarber’s agreement with Philadelphia.

“I don’t need to tell you guys what he did here, what he meant here, how he fit here. We stayed in touch with him the whole way,” Bloom said of Schwarber. “Just ultimately, like I said, you want to make sure it actually aligns in terms of term, in terms of price with other things you might be able to do — not just now but over the whole time you might have him.

“Ultimately, we just thought it was to a level that didn’t make sense. As much as we love him, and we do,” he added. “In such a short time, he became an incredible part of this team. Very beloved in the region. And he’s a great fit for Philly.”

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox first baseman Josh Ockimey signs minor-league deal with hometown Phillies

Former Red Sox first baseman Josh Ockimey has signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies, he announced on Twitter. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Ockimey, who hails from the Philadelphia-area.

The Red Sox originally selected Ockimey in the fifth round of the 2014 amateur draft out of Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League that summer and made it as far as the Triple-A level.

After the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor-league season, Ockimey re-signed with Boston that December and opened the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Worcester.

In 98 games for the WooSox, the left-handed hitter batted .225/.358/.416 with 11 doubles, 15 home runs, 45 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 62 walks, and 117 strikeouts over 360 plate appearances. He became a minor-league free agent in November.

Since the time he was drafted nearly eight years ago, Ockimey has established himself as a power threat from the left side of the plate. His 40 home runs since the start of the 2019 season are tied for the 15th-most in Triple-A over that stretch.

Off the field, Ockimey quickly became a fan favorite in Worcester for his community service last year and was named the WooSox Foundation’s inaugural “Heart of the Heart” winner as a result. Even after becoming a free agent in the fall, the 26-year-old still took the time to join the WooSox Foundation on their Holiday Caravan in December.

On the heels of spending seven seasons with the Red Sox organization, Ockimey will now look to make it to the major-leagues for the first time with his hometown team in the Phillies in 2022.

It’s unclear at this point in time if Ockimey’s deal with Philadelphia includes an invite to big-league spring training, thought it feels safe to assume it probably does.

As for the Red Sox, it seems like the idea of a reunion with Ockimey was ruled out when they signed fellow first baseman Roberto Ramos to a minors pact last week. Ramos and top prospect Triston Casas hit from the left side of the plate and both figure to begin the upcoming season in Worcester.

(Picture of Josh Ockimey: Katie Morrision/MassLive)

Former Red Sox infielder Yairo Muñoz signs minor-league deal with Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed former Red Sox infielder Yairo Munoz to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to the team’s transaction log. It’s likely the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Munoz, who turned 27 last month, spent the last two seasons with the Sox after originally inking a minors pact with the club in March 2020, just a few weeks after he was released by the St. Louis Cardinals.

With Boston, Munoz appeared in 12 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign and five games last season when the Red Sox were in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. He batted .286/.286/.429 with five doubles, one home run, four RBIs, six runs scored, two stolen bases, zero walks, and 13 strikeouts over 17 games (56 plate appearances) in that stretch.

More notably, Munoz enjoyed quite the year at the plate for Triple-A Worcester in 2021. There, the right-handed hitter slashed an impressive .308/.340/.444 (109 wRC+) with 18 stolen bases across 88 games. From July 1 through August 14, Munoz notched a hit in 35 consecutive contests to set a new Red Sox organizational record. That historic hitting streak surely helped him take home the WooSox’ Most Valuable Player Award in September.

Since Munoz was outrighted off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in October, he was eligible to become a minor-league free agent. The Phillies are his fourth organization after he first signed with the Oakland Athletics out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

Over the course of his professional career, Munoz has proven to be a versatile defender. Last year alone in Worcester, the 5-foot-11, 200 pounder logged 70 innings at first base, 33 innings at second base, 437 2/3 innings at third base, 92 innings at shortstop, 15 innings in left field, 21 innings in center field, and 22 innings in right field.

The Phillies have assigned Munoz to their Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley, so it should be interesting to see if the 27-year-old can make it back to the majors for a fifth consecutive season in 2022.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have lost a somewhat significant amount of infield depth in minor-league free agency when you consider the fact that both Munoz and Jack Lopez (Tigers) have signed elsewhere this off-season.

That being said, the Sox did gain some experienced infield depth when they signed former Gold Glove Award winner Yolmer Sanchez to a minors pact earlier this week.

(Picture of Yairo Munoz: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Victor Santos’ debut season with Double-A Portland was a solid one

It was one year ago Tuesday (January 18) when the Red Sox traded infielder C.J. Chatham to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The trade allowed the Sox to create an opening on their 40-man roster, which enabled them to acquire veteran reliever Adam Ottavino and pitching prospect Frank German from the Yankees the following week.

Nearly four months after the initial trade between Boston and Philadelphia was finalized, it was revealed on July 17 that the Red Sox would be acquiring another pitching prospect in Victor Santos from the Phillies to complete the Chatham deal.

Santos, 21, originally signed with Philadelphia as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. The young right-hander opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Jersey Shore before earning a promotion to Double-A Reading in late June.

In 13 appearances (five starts) between Jersey Shore and Reading to begin the year, Santos posted a 2.20 ERA and 3.69 FIP to go along with 40 strikeouts to nine walks over 41 innings of work.

Upon getting assigned to Double-A Portland in mid-July, the 6-foot-1, 191 pound hurler proceeded to put up a 2.58 ERA and 3.49 FIP with 45 strikeouts and six walks across 10 outings (eight starts) spanning 45 1/3 innings pitched to close out his 2021 campaign.

Among all pitchers who accrued at least 60 innings in the Double-A Northeast last year, Santos ranked 33rd in strikeouts per nine innings (8.18) second in walks per nine innings (1.36), 29th in strikeout rate (22.2%), second in walk rate (3.7%), 16th in batting average against (.233), seventh in WHIP (1.06), sixth in ERA (2.73), 10th in FIP (3.62), and 14th in xFIP (4.00), per FanGraphs.

A native of Villa Tapia, Santos works from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 77-79 mph split-changeup, and a “slurvy” 77-81 mph slider, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

This off-season, Santos returned to his home island to pitch for Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. Working strictly as a reliever, he pitched to the tune of a 2.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 17 strikeouts and six walks over 14 appearances (18 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen for Escogido.

Santos, who turns 22 in July, is still technically eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 Draft since the Red Sox did not add him to their 40-man roster by last November’s deadline. However, due to the nature of the MLB lockout, the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft has been postponed indefinitely and a makeup date has not yet been determined.

If there is eventually a Rule 5 Draft and Santos goes unselected, the Dominican-born righty is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 season in the starting rotation for the Sea Dogs. If that winds up being the case, an eventual promotion to Triple-A Worcester cannot be ruled out depending on how he performs in the spring.

(Picture of Victor Santos: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold dominates for Triple-A Worcester on one-year anniversary of trade from Phillies

August 21 continues to be a memorable date for Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold.

At this time one year ago, Seabold — then a member of the Phillies organization — was traded to the Red Sox alongside fellow right-hander Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

365 days later, and Seabold’s name is in the headlines once more, though it has to do with what he did on the mound for Triple-A Worcester this time around.

Making his sixth start of the season for the WooSox in Saturday’s contest against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees affiliate), the young right-hander put together quite the outing in front of 7,432 spectators at Polar Park.

Over seven quality innings of work, Seabold kept the RailRiders off the scoreboard while yielding just one hit and one walk to go along with nine strikeouts on the afternoon.

After retiring the first five batters he faced in order, Seabold issued a two-out walk to Socrates Brito in the top half of the second. He followed that up by getting Kyle Holder to line out to first base for the final out of the inning before truly settling in.

That being the case because from the beginning of the third inning on, Seabold did not allow a single hitter to reach base as he took a no-hitter into the top of the seventh before giving up a one-out single to Donny Sands.

Seabold was, however, able to induce a ground ball off the bat of Trey Amburgey to set up an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, thus ending his outing on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (61 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler wrapped up his day having induced 11 total swings-and-misses in the process of picking up his very first win of the year to improve to 1-3. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.73 in what would go down as a 2-0 victory for the WooSox.

“I’m going to be honest, I’m fighting a cold right now,” Seabold, who sat around 90-93 mph with his fastball, told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison. “That wasn’t fun for the first few innings, but then it got fun once the adrenaline kicked in. I was sweating like a dog out there. A couple of times when I threw it, I saw beads of sweat coming off. But outside of that, I felt pretty good.”

Seabold, who does not turn 26 until January, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

After coming over to the Red Sox in that trade with the Phillies last summer and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November, the former third-round draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton opened the 2021 minor-league season on the injured list.

Right elbow inflammation sidelined Seabold for approximately 2 1/2 months, but he was able to make his return to the mound for the Florida Complex League Red Sox on July 12 before doing the same for the WooSox on July 23.

In addition to posting a 3.73 ERA through his first six starts of the year for Worcester, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound righty has also held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average against while putting up a WHIP of 1.02 over 31 1/3 total innings pitched.

Because he is fully healthy and pitching at a high level (2.35 ERA in the month of August), Seabold may be a name to keep an eye on when it comes time for major-league rosters to expand from 26 to 28 players at the start of September.

This is not to say a promotion this season is imminent, but if the occasion were to arise where the Red Sox needed a spot start or multiple innings out of the bullpen at some point in September, calling up Seabold would seem sensible considering the fact that he is already on the 40-man roster.

In the meantime, though, Seabold — who operates with a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report — should be in line to make his next start for the WooSox during their upcoming series against the Buffalo Bisons at Sahlen Field.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire pitching prospect Victor Santos from Phillies to complete C.J. Chatham trade

The Red Sox have acquired right-handed pitching prospect Victor Santos from the Phillies to complete the trade that sent infielder C.J. Chatham to Philadelphia.

Boston dealt Chatham to Philadelphia in exchange for a player to be named later back on January 18 in order to clear a spot on their 40-man roster that would later allow them to acquire reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees.

As the six-month deadline for both sides to agree on which player the Red Sox would be acquiring was approaching, that PTBNL turns out to be a pitching prospect in the form of Santos.

Santos, who turned 21 on July 12, was originally signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic for $150,000 back in November 2016.

Since that time, the 6-foot-2, 220 pound hurler has risen through the ranks and opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Jersey Shore, where he posted a 1.33 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over nine appearances (one start) spanning 20 1/3 innings pitched before earning a promotion to Double-A Reading on June 24.

In four starts with the Fightin Phils, Santos put up a 3.05 ERA, a 3.90 FIP and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 15:4 over 20 2/3 total innings of work.

Santos’ last outing as a member of the Phillies organization actually came against Double-A Portland this past Wednesday, as the young righty yielded four runs on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in five innings against the Sea Dogs in Reading, Pa. on July 14.

Back in early March, FanGraphs’ Eric Longengagen wrote that Santos has “a good changeup” and “slings in average stuff, some of which plays up because of his funky, long arm action. His realistic ceiling is that of a fifth or sixth starter.”

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Santos has displayed exceptional control over the course of his professional career considering the fact that “he has averaged 8.2 strikeouts and 1.3 walks per nine innings in 254 ⅔ innings in the minors.”

According to his transactions page on MLB.com, Santos has been assigned to Portland, so it’s likely he will join the Sea Dogs’ starting rotation and could, in theory, make his organizational debut at some point next week. We will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of C.J. Chatham: Miles Kennedy/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Danny Santana will join Red Sox in Philadelphia on Friday for series against Phillies, per report

The Red Sox are expected to activate veteran utility man Danny Santana ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Phillies in Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo confirmed the report.

Santana, who has been rehabbing with Triple-A Worcester since May 12, was not in the WooSox’ starting lineup for their game against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park on Thursday.

When asked by reporters if Santana was going to be activated by the club on Friday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora couldn’t offer a comment on the report.

“He’s still in Worcester,” Cora said. “I don’t think he’s in the lineup tonight but he’s working out down there. So that’s all I can give you.”

Boston originally signed the 30-year-old switch-hitter to a minor-league deal back in March, but he wound up missing a significant amount of time in the spring after sustaining a right foot infection that required a stay in the hospital.

Since then, Santana has returned to full health, as he began a rehab assignment with High-A Greenville earlier this month.

Between Greenville and Worcester, the Dominican native posted a .433/.471/.833 slash line to go along with three home runs and six RBI over eight total games played dating back to May 5.

Prior to inking a minor-league pact with the Sox two months ago, Santana had spent the previous two seasons with the Texas Rangers, where he played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher, enjoyed great success his first year there, and dealt with injury trouble his second.

In 2019, Santana clubbed 28 home runs, collected 81 RBI, and swiped 21 bases over 130 games (511 plate appearances) in the process of being named the Rangers’ Player of the Year.

In 2020, Santana was limited to just 15 games before suffering a season-ending elbow injury in late August that would later require a modified version of Tommy John surgery the following month.

Having played in 15 of Texas’ 60 games last year, the 5-foot-11, 203 pounder was non-tendered by the Rangers in December, making him a free-agent.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Santana’s initial agreement with the Sox included a prorated $1.75 million big-league salary as well as an April 30 opt-out date if he were not added to Boston’s major-league roster.

Because of him being hospitalized in March, though, the two sides agreed to push back that opt-out date until this coming Sunday, per Cotillo.

Now that Santana is on the verge of joining the Red Sox in Philadelphia, the club will have some moves to make since Santana is not yet on Boston’s 40-man (or 26-man) roster.

In other words, expect the Sox to be busy on Friday afternoon. One player will need to be removed from the 40-man, while another will need to be optioned to clear a spot on the 26-man.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Former Red Sox closer Brandon Workman designated for assignment by Cubs

Former Red Sox closer Brandon Workman has been designated for assignment by the Cubs, the club announced Thursday afternoon.

Workman, 32, initially signed a one-year, $1 million deal with Chicago back in February and had the opportunity to earn an additional $2 million in availabele incentives.

In the span of just 10 appearances out of the Cubs’ bullpen, the right-hander surrendered nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits, seven walks, and 11 strikeouts over eight innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 6.75 and an OPS against of .997.

Prior to signing with Chicago, Workman had spent the 2020 season with both the Red Sox and Phillies.

Opening the year with Boston, the former second-round pick posted a 4.05 ERA over seven outings and 6 2/3 innings pitched before being traded to the Phillies along with fellow reliever Heath Hembree in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold in late August.

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Workman’s struggles escalated as he yielded 11 runs (10 earned) in just 13 frames prior to hitting free agency in October.

The fact that Workman struggled as much as he did was somewhat baffling considering how dominant he was in his final full season with the Red Sox in 2019.

In 73 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen that year, the Texas native produced a miniscule 1.88 ERA while recording 16 saves to go along 104 strikeouts over 71 2/3 innings pitched.

In 31 appearances since, he has put up a 6.18 ERA and 5.69 FIP over 27 2/3 innings.

Considering that he enjoyed a great deal of success not too long ago, is not making much money this year, and is still just 32 years old, it should be interesting to see if any teams have any interest in Workman while he is up for grabs on waivers. The Cubs will have seven days to either trade, waive, or release the righty in the meantime.

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Nick Pivetta moved to Fort Myers this offseason to work out at team’s complex and familiarize himself with organization

In his first offseason as a member of the Red Sox organization, right-hander Nick Pivetta moved to Fort Myers in order to be closer to the club’s Fenway South complex.

Put another way, rather than return home for the offseason as many players across baseball do, the 28-year-old opted to travel to southwest Florida and familiarize himself with his new club.

“We talked about it as the season was ending last year, and he was telling me he was thinking about coming down here and setting up shop because he didn’t have anywhere else he needed to be,” Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush said of Pivetta earlier Saturday. “I think it’s great. It gave him a chance to be around the staff, to be around the complex, to get his work in consistently.

“Look, it’s not for everybody,” he added. “Some guys like being able to go home, some guys like being here. But for him this winter, it was perfect. Because it gave him access to the personnel, the equipment, and the space that he needed, and he took advantage of it.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Pivetta — as well as right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold — from the Phillies back in August for right-handed relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

Pivetta arrived in Boston in late August, but rather than make his team debut right away, the club optioned the 6-foot-5, 214 pounder to their alternate training site in Pawtucket, where he would stay for about a month before getting called up on September 22.

In his first two starts in a Red Sox uniform — which came against the Orioles and Braves — Pivetta impressed by yielding just two earned runs on eight hits and five walks to go along with 13 total strikeouts over 10 total innings pitched.

“Nick was great last year,” Bush said. “Obviously he performed really well when he came up. After the trade, we kept him at the alternate site for a little while, and it gave the other people in the organization a chance to get to know him. I talked to him plenty of times over the phone before he came up. So I think the relationship started building pretty early last year, and we carried it through those last few starts at the end of the year.”

Ending the 2020 campaign on a high note, Pivetta headed down to Fort Myers and continued to put the work in to improve his craft.

“He’s worked very hard this offseason,” said Bush. “I was in regular contact with him once or twice a week. He was sending me videos as he was throwing his bullpens leading up to camp. He’s worked very hard. He’s dedicated himself to making himself a complete big-league pitcher and being able to stick in the big-leagues.”

As he prepares to embark upon his first full season with the Red Sox in 2021, Pivetta finds himself in a somewhat precarious position given the fact he is out of minor-league options. That means that if Boston wanted to send down the British Columbian hurler to the minors, they would have to remove him from their 40-man roster and expose him to waivers in the process of doing so.

With that in mind, it would appear that Pivetta, who primarily works with a four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup, has the inside edge on a spot on the Sox’ Opening Day starting rotation since other potential candidates — like Tanner Houck — have minor-league options remaining.

Even considering that point, though, the former fourth-round draft pick will still have to prove his worth and compete for said starting rotation spot over the next few weeks.

“I think he’s very excited for the opportunity,” Bush stated. “He’s going out there to compete for a spot, and he’s worked really hard for it. So I’m excited for him. I’m excited to see him go out there and pitch, compete, and show that the hard work he put in was worth it. It’s going to pay off.”

Pivetta, who turned 28 earlier this month, will make his spring debut on the road against the Twins on Wednesday.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday during an appearance on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria that S0x starters will each work two innings in their first starts of the spring and three innings in their second starts.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)