Red Sox held to just 5 hits, see eight-game winning streak come to an end in 6-1 loss to Phillies

The Red Sox saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Phillies on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Philadelphia by a final score of 6-1 in the series finale at Citizens Bank Park to drop back to 21-15 on the season.

Tanner Houck, making his seventh start of the year for the Sox, allowed three earned runs on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.

After facing the minimum through three scoreless frames out of the gate, Houck ran into some trouble in the fourth. The right-hander gave up back-to-back singles to Bryson Stott and Trea Turner to lead off the inning. He then issued a five-pitch walk to Bryce Harper, which filled the bases for Nick Castellanos.

Castellanos, in turn, opened the scoring by grounding into an RBI force out at third base. Had Rafael Devers fielded the grounder cleanly, he could have gone for the force out at home and possibly start a 5-2-3 double play. Devers instead bobbled the ball, which forced him to make a diving tag on Turner for the only out he could get.

Stott scored from third as a result of Devers’ bobble. Kyle Schwarber then doubled the Phillies’ early lead by plating Harper on a run-scoring single through the right side of the infield.

Despite falling behind first, the Red Sox quickly got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth. After Phillies starter Taijuan Walker retired Devers and Jarren Duran for the first two outs of the inning, Triston Casas cut the deficit in half by crushing a 416-foot solo shot into the trees in deep center field.

Casas’ fourth home run of the season left his bat at 106.4 mph and brought Boston back to within one run of Philadelphia at 2-1. Houck then made quick work of the Phillies’ 8-9-1 hitters in the bottom of the fifth and came back out for the sixth.

After giving up a one-out single to Harper, Houck got Castellanos to ground out for the second out of the inning. With Schwarber due to hit next for the Phillies, Red Sox manager Alex Cora made the somewhat surprising decision to bring in lefty reliever Richard Bleier.

Schwarber came out on top in the left-on-left matchup. The former Red Sox slugger took Bleier 434 feet deep to right field on a 1-0, 88.3 mph sinker down the heart of the plate for his eighth home run of the year. The towering two-run blast put the Phillies up, 4-1, and officially closed the book on Houck’s afternoon.

Finishing with a final pitch count of just 74 (50 strikes), Houck was charged with the tough luck loss. The 26-year-old did, however, induce a game-high 12 swings-and-misses while lowering his ERA on the season to 5.26.

Now trailing 4-1, the Red Sox got a scoreless seventh inning out of Ryan Brasier. The Phillies then put this game out of reach by pushing across two runs on a J.T. Realmuto two-run single off recent trade acquisition Zack Littell.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, former Red Sox left-hander Matt Strahm put the finishing touches on his first save in a Phillies uniform by retiring Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida, and Raimel Tapia in short order.

The one run the Red Sox pushed across on Sunday is the fewest they have scored in a game since April 10, when they were shut out by the Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston had just five hits and zero walks as a team, though Yoshida (2-for-4) was able to extend his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single.

Wong throws out two more base stealers

Despite going hitless at the plate on Sunday, Connor Wong did throw out two more would-be base stealers. The 26-year-old gunned down his counterpart in J.T. Realmuto at second base for the final out of the second inning. He then threw out Edmundo Sosa at second for the final out of the seventh. Wong has now thrown out eight of 16 potential base stealers to begin the year.

Next up: On to Atlanta

With their eight-game winning streak behind them, the Red Sox will have an off day in Atlanta on Monday. They will then open a quick two-game series against the Braves on Tuesday night. Nick Pivetta is slated to get the start for Boston in the series opener opposite fellow right-hander Charlie Morton.

First pitch from Truist Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Raimel Tapia: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)


Chris Sale strikes out 10 as Red Sox top Phillies, 5-3, for seventh straight win

The Red Sox kicked off a five-game road trip with a series-opening win over the Phillies on Friday night. Boston defeated Philadelphia by a final score of 5-3 at Citizens Bank Park to extend its winning streak to seven and improve to 20-14 on the season.

With Zack Wheeler starting for the Phillies, the Sox drew first blood in the top of the first inning. Raimel Tapia led off by reaching second base on a 333-foot flyball to left field that was dropped by old friend Kyle Schwarber. He then advanced to third on a Masataka Yoshida groundout and scored the first run of the game on a sharply-hit RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Two innings later, Tapia and Yoshida led off with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. Turner followed by plating Tapia on an RBI groundout. Enrique Hernandez then put Boston up, 3-0, on a two-out single that brought in Yoshida.

Chris Sale, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the season for the Red Sox. The left-hander impressed out of the gate by piling up strikeouts over three scoreless frames. The fourth inning was a bit of a different story, however.

Trailing 3-0, Bryce Harper led off with an infield single that Sale could not field cleanly and immediately scored all the way from first on a Nick Castellanos RBI double that rolled down the left field line. J.T. Realmuto followed with an extra-base hit of his own and pushed across Castellanos with a run-scoring triple. Alec Bohm then drove in Realmuto on a single to pull the Phillies back even with the Sox at three runs apiece.

It appeared that Philadelphia may have had Sale on the ropes after Bohm took second base on a wild pitch. But the lefty did not falter and instead stranded Bohm at second by getting Josh Harrison to ground out and both Edmundo Sosa and Dalton Guthrie to punch out. He struck out two more in the bottom of the fifth, paving the way for Boston to break the tie in the sixth.

A leadoff double from Jarren Duran immediately put a runner in scoring position for Hernandez, who lofted a bloop single to center field to put runners at first and third. Triston Casas then brought in the speedy Duran with a 401-foot flyout to deep center. Following a Phillies pitching change, Enmanuel Valdez greeted new reliever Connor Brogdon with an RBI single through the right side of the infield.

Valdez gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead, which is where the score would remain. Sale ended his night by putting up another zero in the latter half of the sixth. So the 34-year-old southpaw wound up allowing just the three earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with 10 strikeouts over six quality innings of work. He reached 99 mph with his four-seam fastball, finished with 98 pitches (69 strikes), and induced 17 swings-and-misses en route to picking up his third winning decision of the year.

With Sale’s day done, Richard Bleier received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The lefty worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame before making way for Chris Martin, who made quick work of the Phillies in the bottom of the eighth.

Taking a 5-3 lead into the ninth, Kenley Jansen made his first appearance since tweaking his back at Fenway Park last Saturday. Jansen made things somewhat interesting by issuing a one-out single and walk to bring the potential winning run to the plate. Like Sale, though, Jansen did not buckle. He instead responded to the challenge by fanning Schwarber and Trea Turner to seal the win and notch the 398th save of his career.

Yoshida extends hitting streak

With his third-inning single, Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 15 games, which is the longest active streak in the majors.

Game delayed due to medical emergency

In the top of the first inning, the game was delayed for approximately 10 minutes after a fan fell into the visitors’ bullpen. That fan, who was trying to retrieve a ball that was thrown to him, was carted off in a stretcher and taken to a local hospital.

Next up: Kluber vs. Falter

Looking for their eighth straight win, the Red Sox will aim to take this series from the Phillies on Saturday night. Right-hander Corey Kluber will get the start for Boston opposite left-hander Bailey Falter for Philadelphia.

First pitch from Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Noah Song cleared to resume career with Phillies

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Noah Song is about to make his return to professional baseball with a new organization.

Song, who was taken by the Phillies in December’s Rule 5 Draft, has been transferred from active Naval duty to selective reserves and will report to Philadelphia’s spring training camp in Clearwater, Fla. on Thursday, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Song’s situation is quite complex. The 25-year-old right-hander was originally selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the United States Naval Academy. He was considered to be a first-round talent after being named a Golden Spikes finalist as a senior, but his military commitment created some question marks.

Still, the Red Sox took somewhat of a chance on Song by signing him for $100,000. The California native made his pro debut with short-season Lowell and forged a miniscule 1.06 ERA in seven starts (17 innings) with the Spinners. He then made five scoreless relief appearances for Team USA in the Premier12 tournament that fall.

That was the last time Song pitched competitively. He reported to flight school in 2020 and completed his flight training last May. Song then applied to the Secretary of the Navy for a waiver that would allow him to continue his baseball career, but it was not granted by the time the Red Sox lost him to the Phillies on the final day of the Winter Meetings in mid-December.

If the Phillies intend on keeping Song, he will have to stick on their active 26-man roster (or injured list if he is hurt) for the entirety of the 2023 season. If those conditions cannot be met, Philadelphia could trade Song away, but those conditions would apply to his new team. Regardless, Song must remain in the majors for the entire season or would otherwise be offered back to the Red Sox for $50,000. At that point, Boston would not have to commit an active or 40-man roster spot to Song.

Song, who turns 26 in May, was once considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. With that being said, it could be tough for the righty to stick on Philadelphia’s (or another club’s, if he is traded or waived) for the whole season considering that it has been nearly four years since he last pitched in a real game.

If Song is able to make an impact at the big-league level (whether it be in Philadelphia or elsewhere), then that would mean Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom let a talented young pitcher go for a mere $100,000 (the fee a team pays to claim a Rule 5 pick). If Song is not yet ready for the majors, then the Red Sox would be able to retain his services with his military commitment already behind him.

The fact that former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who drafted Song in 2019, was the one who plucked the hurler from the organization makes this all the more interesting. As noted by Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, Dombrowski and Phillies general manager Sam Fuld both had smiles on their faces at the time the selection was made.

“We made sure to double-check that he was available to be drafted, which he was,” Dombrowski said of Song back in December. “I knew him at the time (of the 2019 draft). We loved him. We thought he was a No. 1 Draft choice; we thought he might be the best starting pitcher in the country. We took a gamble at that point because we thought maybe he wouldn’t have to serve, but he ended up having to do that.

“Being available like this, we really had nothing to lose,” he added. “We like his talent a lot. We get to put him on the military list right off the bat, so he’s not on our 40-man roster. We figured we’d take a chance and just see what ends up happening.”

As Dombrowski alluded to then, the Phillies immediately placed Song on the military service list so that he would not count against their 40-man roster. According to Baseball America, the Red Sox could have added Song to their 40-man roster then placed him on the military service list, which would have made him ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft. By doing that, though, they would have been required to immediately add Song to the 40-man roster once he was eligible to pitch again.

Bloom, for his part, explained why the Red Sox elected to not protect Song when speaking with reporters (including’s Chris Cotillo) at the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft.

“Anytime you leave somebody unprotected, there’s always a chance they get picked,” Bloom said. “He’s a high-profile guy for a reason. Obviously, such a unique situation. You don’t ever want to lose anybody. Given his situation, we felt that when he returns from his commitment, being on the 40-man roster would not be an ideal situation to have. That’s a risk we were willing to take.”

(Picture of Noah Song: Gene Wang/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox lefty Kyle Hart agrees to minor-league deal with Phillies

Former Red Sox left-hander Kyle Hart has agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with the Phillies, according to’s Chris Cotillo. It is unclear if the deal comes with an invite to major-league spring training.

Hart, 30, was originally selected by Boston in the 19th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Indiana University Bloomington. As an unheralded senior, the Ohio native signed with the club for a modest $5,000 and made his professional debut in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League that summer.

After working his way up the minor-league ladder in 2017 and 2018, Hart put together an impressive 2019 campaign in which he posted a 3.52 ERA with 140 strikeouts to 53 walks in 27 outings (24 starts) spanning 156 innings of work between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. That November, the Red Sox added the southpaw to their 40-man roster in order to prevent him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Hart entered the COVID-shortened 2020 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He made his major-league debut that August, but struggled to a 15.55 ERA (19 earned runs in 11 innings) across four appearances (three starts) and was outrighted off the Sox’ 40-man roster in the fall of that year.

Since then, Hart has spent the last two seasons pitching in the minors. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound hurler forged a 4.22 ERA with Worcester in 2021 and followed that up by producing a 5.25 ERA with 74 strikeouts to 33 walks in 82 1/3 innings between the WooSox and Sea Dogs last year before reaching minor-league free agency for the first time.

In agreeing to a minors pact with Philadelphia, Hart will be joining just the second organization of his professional career. With that being said, it should be mentioned that Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was at the helm in Boston when Hart was drafted by the Red Sox in 2016.

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

Red Sox lose pitching prospects Thad Ward, A.J. Politi, and Noah Song in Rule 5 Draft

The Red Sox lost three intriguing pitching prospects in the major-league phase of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

With the first overall pick, the Nationals took right-hander Thad Ward. Moments later, the Orioles took reliever A.J. Politi at No. 17. Then, in a somewhat shocking twist, the Phillies nabbed fellow righty Noah Song with the 20th overall selection.

Ward, who turns 26 next month, had been regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally selected the 6-foot-3, 192-pound hurler in the fifth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Central Florida.

Equipped with a two-seam fastball, slider, and changeup, Ward got his professional career off to an impressive start before undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. He returned to the mound this summer and posted a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts (51 1/3 innings) with four different affiliates. That includes a 2.43 ERA in seven starts (33 1/3 innings) for Double-A Portland.

In an effort to get him more work, the Red Sox sent Ward to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. There, the righty forged a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts to six walks in four appearances (three starts) spanning 12 2/3 innings of work for the Scottsdale Scorpions. His workload was limited due to a left oblique strain.

Despite the flashes of potential he showed this season, the Red Sox elected not to add Ward to their 40-man roster ahead of last month’s Rule 5 deadline. They instead added five minor-leaguers — including Wilyer Abreu and David Hamilton — knowing full well that Ward could be scooped up by another club.

The same, in a sense, can be said for Politi, who winds up going to a division rival. The 26-year-old pitched to a 2.60 ERA in 50 appearances (two starts) between Portland and Triple-A Worcester this season. That includes a 2.41 ERA with 63 strikeouts to 19 walks in 38 outings (two starts) spanning 56 innings for the WooSox.

Boston originally selected Politi in the 15th round of the 2018 draft out of Seton Hall University. He was a candidate to be called up by the big-league club at the end of the season and was ranked by as the No. 42 prospect in the organization.

Song is a bit of a different story. The former fourth-round draft pick last pitched professionally in 2019 and was viewed as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization before his commitment to the Navy forced him to step away from the game.

Earlier this spring, Song completed his Naval flight training and applied for a waiver that would allow him to continue his baseball career while still serving in the reserves. The Red Sox kept him on the military reserve list during that time and the Phillies will do the same, meaning he will not occupy a spot on their 40-man roster.

Phillies president of baseball operations was running the Red Sox when Song was drafted in 2019. It seems like he was excited by the opportunity to bring tha talented pitcher to Philadelphia.

“We made sure to double-check that he was available to be drafted, which he was,” Dombrowski told reporters (including’s Jonathan Mayo). “I knew him at the time (of the 2019 draft). We loved him. We thought he was a No. 1 Draft choice; we thought he might be the best starting pitcher in the country. We took a gamble at that point because we thought maybe he wouldn’t have to serve, but he ended up having to do that.

“Being available like this, we really had nothing to lose,” he added. “We like his talent a lot. We get to put him on the military list right off the bat, so he’s not on our 40-man roster. We figured we’d take a chance and just see what ends up happening.”

Ward and Politi will be subject to normal Rule 5 stipulations next year. In other words, the Nationals and Orioles paid $100,000 for each pitcher and must keep them on their 26-man roster for the entirety of the 2023 season. If that is not possible, Ward and Politi would have to be offered back to the Red Sox for $50,000.

Song, on the other hand, is not subject to these requirements until he is activated from the military reserve list and resumes his baseball career. The Phillies, like the Red Sox before them, are not sure if or when that will happen.

“This is a long shot by all means, but it’s worth taking a shot, we thought,” said Dombrowski. I don’t know if anybody knows exactly when he’ll be released from his service. But for the cost of the Draft, we thought it was worth taking him.”

In total, the Red Sox tied the Dodgers for the most players taken in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. While that may not be a positive as far as organizational depth is concerned, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom believes it shows that Boston has more talent in its farm system than years prior.

“I’d rather not lose players but I do think it’s a testament to where our system is going,” Bloom said, via’s Chris Cotillo. “Obviously, you want to be able to make moves to get in front of these situations and you aren’t going to be able to do it with everybody. It’s something we worked on knowing there was some risk of losing some guys.”

(Picture of Thad Ward: Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox reportedly made attempt to sign Zach Eflin before right-hander agreed to three-year, $40 million deal with Rays

The Red Sox reportedly made an attempt to sign Zach Eflin before the free agent right-hander agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the division rival Rays on Thursday.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Boston offered Eflin the same three-year, $40 million deal he received from Tampa Bay. But Eflin — a native of nearby Orlando — ultimately decided to sign closer to home.

On that note, The Athletic’s Chad Jennings reports that the Red Sox were actually the highest bidder for Eflin, but the Rays were given the opportunity to match the offer and that is exactly what they did.

“The Red Sox were not given an opportunity to raise their bid,” Jennings wrote late Thursday. “They also didn’t know until the deal was done that the Rays were going to have the final opportunity to match.”

Eflin, who turns 29 in April, is slated to earn $11 million in each of the next two seasons and will then see his salary increase to $18 million in 2025, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. The $40 million in guaranteed money represents the largest free agent contract the Rays have ever given out.

A former first-round draft pick of the Padres out of high school in 2012, Eflin was dealt to the Dodgers — who then traded him to the Phillies — in December 2014. The righty broke in with Philadelphia in 2016 and spent the last seven seasons with the club before becoming a free agent for the first time last month.

Eflin has traditionally been used as a starter throughout his big-league career and that was once again the case to kick off the 2022 campaign. He posted a 4.37 ERA and 3.83 FIP with 56 strikeouts to 15 walks in his first 13 starts (68 innings) of the season before suffering a right knee contusion towards the end of May. That led to him being sidelined nor nearly two months, and so the Phillies elected to bring Eflin back as a reliever once he was healthy to pitch again in September.

In that role, Eflin pitched to a 1.17 ERA with nine punchouts to zero walks over seven appearances (7 2/3 innings) out of the bullpen. He was also the Phillies’ second-most used reliever (10 outings) in the postseason and walked just two of the 45 batters he faced during their run to the National League pennant.

While he may have enjoyed some success as a reliever, Eflin is expected to join a Rays starting rotation that includes the likes of Tyler Glasnow, Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, and Drew Rasmussen, among others. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been in the market for starting pitching this offseason. They remain engaged with Nathan Eovaldi and have had conversations with Corey Kluber, who made 31 starts for Tampa Bay this past season.

With that being said, the Red Sox being interested in and making a contract offer to Eflin should come as no surprise. While his strikeout numbers and whiff rates do not jump off the page, Eflin was extremely effective this year when it came to limiting both hard contact and walks. Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound hurler ranked in the 96th percentile in the league in average exit velocity (85.3 mph), the 94th percentile in hard-hit rate (31.3 percent), and the 91st percentile in walk rate (4.8 percent).

Even with a somewhat concerning injury history, the Rays opted to take a gamble on Eflin in order to fortify their starting rotation depth heading into 2023. The Red Sox, on the other hand, will have to look elsewhere if they are keen on addressing that area of need in free agency.

This is not the first time this offseason Boston has lost out on a free agent they were interested in. Earlier this week, veteran slugger Jose Abreu inked a three-year, $58.5 million deal with the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. Shortly after that news broke, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported that Abreu was the Sox’ “No. 1 outside target” and relayed that the club met with him as soon as free agency opened.

In similar fashion to Abreu choosing the Astros, the Rays may have represented a more attractive destination for Eflin. Pitching closer to home is one thing, but Eflin will also be able to see more of his record-setting salary than he would in other places since there is no state income tax in Florida.

Either way, the Red Sox failed to sign a free agent who would have helped in filling an area of need for a team coming off a last-place finish in the American League East. For team president and CEO Sam Kennedy, who spoke with reporters (including’s Chris Cotillo) at Fenway Park on Wednesday, what takes place between now and Opening Day will go a long way in improving for 2023.

“There’s a lot of different irons in the fire,” said Kennedy, who acknowledged that things could pick up when the Winter Meetings begin in San Diego next week. “It’s Chaim [Bloom] and [Brian O’Halloran] and their team’s job to uncover every opportunity. That’s what’s great about hot stove season. Things could go in any number of directions.

“I think we’re going to build a club this city is going to be proud of,” he added. “There’s definitely a chip on everybody’s shoulder. Last year was disappointing and frustrating. People are fired up.”

(Picture of Zach Eflin: Elsa/Getty Images)

Should the Red Sox have made a harder push to bring back Kyle Schwarber?

After helping the Red Sox make it to the American League Championship Series last October, Kyle Schwarber has yet again taken center stage in Major League Baseball’s postseason.

Schwarber clubbed a National League-best 46 home runs and posted an .827 OPS in 155 regular season games for the 87-75 Phillies. The 29-year-old slugger then went deep three times in five games during the National League Championship Series against the Padres. He is now preparing to play in his second career World Series.

While Schwarber is set to bat leadoff against Justin Verlander and the Astros in Game 1 of the Fall Classic at Minute Maid Park on Friday night, the Red Sox are left to wonder what could have been.

Boston acquired Schwarber from the Nationals in exchange for pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez last July. At that time, the left-handed hitter was dealing with a right hamstring strain, but he quickly made his impact felt once he was healthy.

In 41 games with the Red Sox down the stretch last year, Schwarber batted .291/.435/.522 with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 18 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 33 walks, and 39 strikeouts over 168 plate appearances. He put up those numbers while receiving a crash course on how to play first base and also saw playing time in left field, his natural position. When J.D. Martinez needed a day off or played the outfield himself, Schwarber slotted in as Boston’s designated hitter on 14 separate occasions.

Though Schwarber was undoubtedly productive in his time with the Red Sox, he also added value in other areas. Whether it be by embracing the role as a clubhouse leader or connecting with fans on a personal level, the Sox had more than one reason to be interested in a reunion with the artist formerly known as “Kyle from Waltham.”

It was a given that Schwarber would decline his mutual option for 2022, which he did in November in order to become a free agent. Around that same time, however, Martinez opted in to the final year of his contract, which essentially locked him in as Boston’s regular designated hitter for one more season.

Rostering Martinez and Schwarber — two defensively limited players — would have posed a problem for the Sox this season. In theory, first base was an option for Schwarber, but the club liked what they saw from Bobby Dalbec during the second half of 2021 and was well aware that top prospect Triston Casas was about to be knocking on the door.

That left left field as the only real possibility for Schwarber in Boston. But chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. elected to improve their outfield defense last winter by trading Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr. and two prospects.

Right after that trade happened, a league-wide lockout went into effect that prevented clubs from negotiating with free agents, let alone communicate with their own players who were already under contract. Once the work stoppage was lifted in March, it did not take long for Schwarber to find a new home.

On March 16, Schwarber agreed to a four-year, $79 million deal with the Phillies. Shortly after that news broke, Bloom took questions from reporters at JetBlue Park. He was unsurprisingly asked about Schwarber’s decision and the reported price it took for the Phillies to land him.

“We stayed in touch with him the whole way,” Bloom said, via’s Chris Cotillo. “Ultimately, 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 course of the whole time you might have him. Ultimately, we just thought it was to a level that didn’t make sense.”

Earlier this week, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported that the Red Sox’ offer to Schwarber was in the range of $39 million over three years. The Phillies, led by old friend Dave Dombrowski, offered Schwarber significantly more with an extra year attached.

Both Bloom and Schwarber have raved about the latter’s time in Boston on numerous occasions, yet the two sides could not come to an agreement before Schwarber ultimately signed with Philadelphia.

“In such a short time, he became an incredible part of this team, very beloved in the region,” Bloom said. “And he’s a great fit for Philly.”

Schwarber, for his part, told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham on Thursday that he wanted to remain with the Red Sox., but he felt as though the feeling might not have been mutual.

“We had talks, but I wouldn’t say it got deep with the way things were shaking out,” said Schwarber. “Don’t get me wrong; I loved my time there. I loved the team; I loved [Alex Cora] and I loved the coaching staff. I still talk to them to this day. But it just didn’t happen.”

Four days after losing Schwarber, the Red Sox attempted to get some power back in their lineup with a splashy free agent signing of their own. Boston agreed to sign former Rockies shortstop Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million deal and have him move over to second base.

Though Story provided exceptional defense at second base, injuries limited him to just 94 games in his debut season with the Sox. In those 94 games, the 29-year-old managed to hit just 16 home runs while posting a career-worst .737 OPS.

Schwarber, meanwhile, led the National League in homers and made his second straight trip to the All-Star Game. He also led all of baseball with 200 strikeouts and played poor defense in left field. But, as he showed in Boston, Schwarber’s value goes beyond how he performs on the diamond. Dombrowski and the Phillies recognized that.

“He’s got this folk hero way about him,” Philadelphia hitting coach Kevin Long told Abraham. “In Boston he was a big piece of that team and what they did last season. I knew there were chemistry issues [in Philadelphia] and I knew how important he was. He’s probably the most important piece of this whole thing because of how he’s brought the team together. I give him a lot of credit because it wasn’t easy.”

Hindsight is 20/20, but it seems the Red Sox whiffed by not pushing harder to bring Schwarber back. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here that Bloom and the rest of the front office can implement in order to have meaningful October baseball return to Boston next year and for the foreseeable future.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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)