Red Sox’ Jose Peraza ‘Excited’ to Begin New Chapter of Career, Play at Fenway Park

Going into this past offseason, Jose Peraza was looking forward to what was supposed to be his fourth full season with the Cincinnati Reds and his first as an arbitration-eligible player.

Instead, the Reds did not feel the need to pay Peraza the $3.6 million he was projected to make in arbitration, and subsequently non-tendered him in early December.

When speaking with reporters at Fenway Park via Zoom on Tuesday, the Venezuela native said through team interpreter Bryan Almonte that he “was surprised” to be non-tendered by Cincinnati.

Granted, the 2019 season was not a great one for Peraza, as he slashed an underwhelming .239/.285/.346 with six homers and 33 RBI over 141 games played. But considering how he experienced some moderate success the year before, it had to have come as a shock to be let loose so quickly.

Just over a week after getting cut by the Reds, Peraza inked a one-year deal with Boston, where he now has the chance to be a part of the team’s infield picture for years to come seeing how he is under team control through the 2022 season.

With the addition of Peraza also comes the addition of more positional versatility, something teams can never seem to get enough of these days. The 26-year-old said that much on Tuesday, stating that he’d be willing to play “second base, shortstop, third base, whatever [Red Sox manager] Ron Roenicke” asks him to do. Not to mention he is capable of playing a little bit of outfield as well.

Prior to joining the Sox over the winter, Peraza had never had the chance to play inside Fenway Park. He now has the chance to do that on a regular basis, and he even said that Fenway will be “a good ballpark for [me] to hit in” and he’s “excited to be playing there.”

Upon signing with Boston, Peraza probably expected to make his Red Sox debut back in March. He has instead had to wait for that to happen due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the league-wide shutdown did allow him to work out at home in Miami and “make a few adjustments” with his swing.

“The thing I really focused on in the offseason in Miami was just my leg kick,” Peraza added. “One of the changes that I made was altering that. … I’m a little bit more confident. I’m seeing the pitches better as well. At first, when we first got back, I was just trying to get my rhythm going. But now I have the confidence where I’m going out there, (and) I just feel good about where I stand right now in terms of my hitting.”

Because of those adjustments made during the layoff, Peraza now says, on top of “feeling great physically and mentally,” he also feels “more confident” at Summer Camp in Boston than he did at spring training in Fort Myers.

Roenicke echoed that same sentiment last week, saying he’s “so impressed with what [Peraza’s] doing,” when asked about the infielder’s offensive approach at camp.

A former international signee of the Braves ten years ago, Peraza will earn approximately $1.11 million with the Red Sox in 2020 when taking this season’s prorated salaries into account.

Red Sox Manager Ron Roenicke on Jose Peraza: ‘I’m So Impressed With What He’s Doing’

Jose Peraza has not gotten a whole lot of attention since signing with the Red Sox back in December, but manager Ron Roenicke has been impressed with what he has seen from the 26-year-old since Summer Camp broke at Fenway Park last week.

“Everyday I watch him, and I’m so impressed with what he’s doing,” Roenicke told reporters via Zoom on Wednesday in regards to Peraza and his swing.

The Sox inked Peraza to a one-year deal for the 2020 season worth $3 million plus more in incentives on December 12th, less than two weeks after the Venezuela native was non-tendered by the Reds.

Because he was cut loose by Cincinnati prior to his first season of arbitration eligibility, Pereza could be under team control with the Red Sox through the end of the 2022 campaign if all goes according to plan.

A once touted prospect in the Braves and Dodgers’ organizations, Peraza has struggled to consistently find his footing in the majors to this point in time.

Since the start of the 2017 season, the right-handed hitter has posted fWARs of -0.3, 2.6, and -0.6 respectively while with the Reds.

Despite those inconsistent tendencies, upside is certainly there with Peraza, who is capable of playing both middle infield positions and even some outfield if need be.

With Boston, the former 2010 international signee figures to split time with Michael Chavis at second while also providing some insurance for Xander Bogaerts if the All-Star shortstop needs time off for whatever season.

Prior to the pandemic-induced layoff that began in March, Peraza slashed .233/.233/.300 with two doubles, one RBI, and one stolen base for the Red Sox in 12 Grapefruit League games.

Former Red Sox Utilityman Brock Holt Garnering Interest From Blue Jays in Free Agency, per Report

Former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt is reportedly drawing interest from the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

This news comes two days after it was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale Jr. that the Reds were “one of the teams interested” in acquiring the 31-year-old’s services.

Holt, who has spent the previous seven seasons with Boston after coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a December 2012 trade, is a free agent for the first time in his career.

A fan-favorite in Boston for what he has done both on and off the field, Holt has expressed interest in a reunion with the Sox, and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom even said at the Winter Meetings last month that what the Jimmy Fund captain has done for the community “has not been lost on any of us.”

However, bringing Holt back now seems out of the question due to the influx of infielders the Red Sox currently have on their 40-man roster.

If he were to sign with the Jays, the Texas native would be a suitable replacement for fellow utility infielder Eric Sogard, whom Toronto dealt to the Rays last July.

A veteran presence in the clubhouse with the ability to play multiple positions and hit for average on the field. That is what Holt can bring to the table for a young team that includes rising talents such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio.

Of course, seeing Holt in a division rival’s uniform would take some getting used to, but it would also allow Red Sox fans to see him up to 19 times per season between Fenway Park and Rogers Centre.

In 33 career games north of the border, Holt owns a lifetime .308/.352/.419 slash line to go along with one home run and 12 RBI.

Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Holt would sign a two-year, $8 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arizona seems to be an unlikely destination at this point, but how much Holt signs for will be interesting to see once it finally does happen.

 

Red Sox Agree to One-Year Deal With Jose Peraza

The Red Sox have reportedly signed former Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal laden with incentives, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

This marks their first free-agent signing under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

Peraza, 25, was non-tendered by Cincinnati earlier this month after spending the last four years patrolling the Reds’ infield and outfield.

In 141 games this past season, the Venezuela native slashed .239/.285/.346 with six home runs and 33 RBI while playing second and third base, shortstop, and left and center field.

That underwhelming campaign came right after Peraza had a career year in 2018, and the Reds ultimately did not feel that the infielder was worth the $3.6 million he was projected to earn in arbitration next year.

Originally an international signee of the Atlanta Braves back in 2011, Peraza’s major-league career to this point has been fairly inconsistent. Since he became an everyday player for Cincinnati at the start of the 2017 season, Peraza’s fWAR totals go as follows:

2017: -0.3
2018: 2.6
2019: -0.6

That obviously does not tell the whole story, but it is something worth noting nonetheless.

With the Red Sox’ 40-man roster increasing to 38 players now with the additions of Jonathan Arauz and Peraza on Thursday, there is sure to be a healthy competition for an Opening Day roster spot among names such as those two, as well as C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Marco Hernandez, and Tzu-Wei Lin come the spring.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, despite only inking a one-year pact with Boston, Peraza will be under team control for the next three years due to the arbitration process.

Also, with all those infielders I mentioned above, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox would entertain a reunion with free agent Brock Holt at this point in time.

Cincinnati Reds Designate Robby Scott for Assignment.

Just 11 days after claiming him off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox, the Cincinnati Reds announced on Friday that they had designated LHP Robby Scott for assignment.

This move by Cincinnati comes in correspondence to the blockbuster trade made with the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the club acquired outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, catcher Kyle Farmer, left-handed pitcher Alex Wood, and cash from LA in exchange for right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey and prospects Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.

Needing to make room on their 40-man roster, the Reds went ahead and essentially parted ways with one of their more recent pick ups.

If left unclaimed seven days from now, Scott, 29, will more than likely either be outrighted to Cincinnati’s Triple A team or straight up released.

In his three-year tenure with the Red Sox, the left-hander posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 48.1 total frames of relief work from 2016 to 2018.

This past year though, Scott found himself in Triple A for the majority of the season, as he surrendered just 10 earned runs in 45 appearances out of the bullpen with the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Seen mostly as a lefty specialist at this point in his career, it will be interesting to see if the Florida native can catch on with another club and serve in a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out Guy) role.

Left-handed relievers always seem to be in necessity across baseball, so it would be nice to see this one time indy leaguer make his way back to a big league ‘pen.

Cincinnati Reds Claim Robby Scott off Waivers from #RedSox.

On Monday afternoon, the Red Sox announced that LHP Robby Scott had been claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal originally reported this deal as a trade between the two clubs, but that does not appear to be the case any longer.

It was not made public that Scott, 29, was put on waivers by Boston, but given the fact that their 40-man roster was at full capacity before this transaction, it makes sense the left-hander would be someone the club would be willing to part ways with.

In 73 career appearances with the Red Sox, Scott posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 48.1 innings pitched in three different seasons. Recently though, the Florida native’s numbers took a hit, as he surrendered six earned runs in just 6.2 innings of work in 2018.

Known for his success against left-handed bats, Scott will have the opportunity to redeem himself with a club that finished ninth in the National League in bullpen ERA (4.14) this past season.

This transaction also comes two days after former Red Sox minor league infielder and noted pinch runner Tony Renda signed a minor-league contract with Cincinnati.

The Red Sox’s 40-man roster now stands at 39.

RECAP: Sandy Leon Drives in Go-Ahead Run in Eighth Inning as #RedSox Salvage Series Against Rays.

After dropping the first two games of this weekend series against the scorching Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox looked like a competent baseball team this afternoon.

Rick Porcello got the start for the Red Sox in this one, and he was looking for his fifth winning decision before we flip the calendars to May. That didn’t happen unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean Porcello had a bad day, because he looked like he has all season so far, that being one of the best pitchers in the American League. The lone righty in the Red Sox rotation tossed 7.2 quality innings and really only made two mistakes. The first being a two-run home run, the first Porcello has given up this season, off the bat of Denard Span in the third, and the second being an RBI single off the bat of Mallex Smith an inning later. Other than that, nothing much to complain about. In those 7.2 innings pitched, the New Jersey native scattered seven hits, including those two previously mentioned, struck out six, and did not allow a single walk. In six starts Porcello has made this season, he has given up three earned runs or less and pitched 5+ innings in all of them.

Finishing with a season high 116 pitches, 82 of which went for strikes, I was a bit surprised to see Alex Cora stick with Porcello for as long as he did, but it worked out. He could have pitched eight full innings if he didn’t give up a two-out single to CJ Cron. With the game tied at the time, that hit put the go-ahead run on base and Cora made the switch to his closer.

In a rare eighth inning appearance, Craig Kimbrel gave up a double that should have been an out to the first batter he saw. With runners on first and third, the Red Sox closer came back and struck Brad Miller out on three pitches to end the inning. After the Red Sox tacked on the go-ahead run in their half of the eighth, Kimbrel would come back out for the save in the ninth. He led the inning off by allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base and the third to move those runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, but bounced back nicely. With the tying run just 90 feet away, Kimbrel struck out Jesus Sucre and Carlos Gomez back to back on seven pitches to end the game and pick up his first win of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was held in check for the first five innings of this game. It wasn’t until Andrew Kittredge took the mound for the Rays and Eduardo Nunez led the sixth inning off with an infield single when the scoring finally commenced. After that infield single, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez both reached base to load things up for JD Martinez. On a 2-1 87 MPH slider from Kittredge, Martinez sneaked a ground ball just past Adeiny Hechavarria and put the Red Sox on the board for two.

That was followed up by a four pitch walk to Mitch Moreland which loaded the bases once again for Rafael Devers. Devers struck out, but Jackie Bradley Jr. drove Hanley Ramirez in from third on a sacrifice fly one batter later. Sandy Leon would reload the bases for the third time in the inning after taking a pitch from Sergio Romo off his foot, but Tzu-Wei Lin would fly out to end the inning. Game tied at three.

A 1-2-3 seventh inning from the top of the lineup made way for JD Martinez to lead off things for the Red Sox in the eighth against Rays closer Alex Colome. To cap off his great day at the plate, Martinez ripped a single to right field for his fourth hit of the game. After Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers recorded outs, Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a five pitch walk to move Martinez into scoring position. That led to Sandy Leon stepping up to the plate in what would be the biggest at bat of the day. In a surprising move, Leon was not pinch hit for. Instead, he drove Martinez in from third on a line drive single to left field.

Leon’s first RBI since April 12th put the Red Sox up by one and essentially gave them their 20th win of the season. It certainly wasn’t easy, but taking the series finale is certainly better than getting swept. The 4-3 win also ends the winning streak the Rays had going on at eight games.

Some notes from this one:

Mookie Betts was held out of the lineup today after straining his right hamstring on Saturday.

With his four-hit and two RBI performance today, JD Martinez now ranks ninth in the AL in hits (32), fifth in RBIs (22), and 10th in OPS (.941). Not too shabby for someone who just wrapped his first full month with a new team.

The Red Sox have won their last 25 games with Rick Porcello on the mound when they give him at least three runs of support. (@SoxNotes)

Next up for the Red Sox is a three-game set against the lowly Kansas City Royals. At 7-20 on the year, the Royals are the worst team in the American League in terms of team ERA and runs scored. With that in mind, a sweep before heading back on the road would be nice. That’s all I”m going to say.

Eduardo Rodriguez gets the nod for the series opener tomorrow. He’ll be facing off against Jason Hammel, who owns a career 4.25 ERA in 55 innings pitched against the Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

The Cincinnati Reds Have Hired Ex #RedSox Manager John Farrell as a Scout.

Interesting story developing on a Wednesday evening. After not landing a major league coaching job this offseason, old friend John Farrell has taken a job with the Reds as a scout. Although it’s not clear what his role will be this season, he will start by scouting within the Reds organization starting tomorrow, as can be seen in the attached tweet above.

The five years Farrell spent at the helm of the Red Sox were full of ups and downs, literally. As a team, the Red Sox either finished first (2013,2016,2017) or last (2014,2015) in the American League East. He got off to a great start in 2013 with an emotional World Series win. That was followed by back to back last place finishes in the division with a fight against cancer along the way. The last two years of his managerial tenure were historic, as he became the first Red Sox manager to win back to back division titles in franchise history. Despite that, the team did not find any success in the playoffs, and that is one of the main reasons Farrell was let go after getting eliminated in the ALDS by the Houston Astros.

Now, Farrell is on a new path. Going from managing a team with great expectations to scouting for a team in a rebuild is probably an adjustment. There’s going to be a whole lot less pressure on Farrell’s shoulders in his new role, so hopefully he can enjoy that before deciding to get back in the managerial game or not. So, congrats on getting back on your feet John. Maybe you will be taking over for Bryan Price before we know it.

RECAP: In a game they had no business winning, Mookie Betts delivers clutch performance for #RedSox in 5-4 win.

Going into the eighth inning of today’s game, the Red Sox had only scored one time, on a Rafael Devers home run in the fifth. Jackson Stephens, the starter for the Reds, looked good in the six innings he pitched, but the Reds bullpen has been a different story this season. With an ERA of 4.62 going into this game, they proved again just how unreliable they are. Christian Vazquez got the eighth started with a walk, and that was followed by a Xander Bogaerts single. After a pitching change and a Dustin Pedroia ground out, Andrew Benintendi drew another walk. That set up a one out, bases loaded situation for Mookie Betts, and he pounced on it. On a 2-2 slider, Betts ripped a game-tying, 3 RBI double to center field.

Vazquez, Bogaerts and Benintendi all scored, and we had a tied game, but not for long. The very next batter, Rafael Devers, reached on an infield single, all while Mookie Betts was hauling from second to home, and he reached with ease.

That was the go-ahead run and the winning run, as Craig Kimbrel ended the game with a scoreless ninth.

Doug Fister got the start in this one, and although he was not particularly bad, I still think Eduardo Rodriguez is the frontrunner for the third spot in the playoff rotation right now.

Coming off a great 8-1 road trip, Drew Pomeranz gets the ball tomorrow against the Blue Jays back at Fenway Park. The Patriots also won today in comeback fashion, so it was a pretty good day in Boston and New England.

91 down, 4 to go. Magic number is down to 3.

Happy Sunday!

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez’s best start of the season is key for #RedSox in 5-0 win.

Over the past few weeks, any starter not named Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz has pretty much been auditioning for a third or fourth spot in a postseason rotation. Today, Eduardo Rodriguez got his chance to shine, and shine he did. The lefty pitched into the eighth inning, scattering three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over that span. That first hit didn’t come until the fourth, and it didn’t even matter thanks to Andrew Benintendi’s arm.

At no point did it appear that ERod was struggling. However, I wasn’t too excited about him coming back out for the eighth inning with 101 pitches. If he’s gonna be the third guy in the ALDS rotation, then you probably don’t want him throwing 112 pitches in a game the Red Sox had a grip on. He exited with two outs in the inning, and Carson Smith came on to finish it with a strikeout. To wrap things up, Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side along with two walks. Nothing to complain about in the pitching department.

Similar to last night, the Red Sox scored five runs, four of those came against another inexperienced starting pitcher. Robert Stephenson, 24, made his tenth start for the Reds, and like Sal Ramano, he got off to a pretty good start. The Red Sox scored once in the first on a Brock Holt sac fly, but couldn’t score again until the sixth, where they scored three times. That rally was also started by Holt, who reached on an E1 to start the inning. Andrew Benintendi walked, and that set up a great situation for Mitch Moreland. 0 for his last 19, Mitchy Four Bags blasted his 20th long ball of the season over the center field wall, giving his team a 4-0 lead.

That was a thing of beauty, but the scoring didn’t stop there. With two outs and two on in the seventh, Andrew Benintendi put the exclamation point on a great day with an RBI single that scored Xander Bogaerts from second. That RBI gives Benintendi a grand total of 88 on the year. I don’t know how it’s possible, but Ted Williams holds the Red Sox rookie for RBIs with 145. Obviously, he’s not going to get there, but ending your first full year in the bigs with 90+ RBIs is still pretty nice.

Doug Fister gets the ball tomorrow afternoon, and he’ll have to be much better than he was against the Orioles if he wants to start in the ALDS.

90 down, 5 to go. 

Also, second straight year with 90+ wins calls for this: