Red Sox trade Franklin German to White Sox for right-hander Theo Denlinger

The Red Sox have acquired minor-league right-hander Theo Denlinger from the White Sox in exchange for reliever Franklin German, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.

Denlinger, 26, was originally selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Bradley University (Ill.). The Cuba City (Wis.) High School product signed with the club for just $10,000 and made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

Last season, Denlinger posted a 4.47 ERA and 4.18 FIP with 66 strikeouts to 21 walks in 40 relief appearances (48 1/3 innings) between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. The righty initially broke camp with the Dash and pitched to a 3.60 ERA across eight outings (10 innings) before earning a promotion in early May.

With the Barons, Denlinger forged a 4.70 ERA and 4.63 FIP to go along with 49 strikeouts to 18 walks over 32 appearances spanning 38 1/3 innings of work. He also converted five of eight save opportunities. Among the 132 pitchers who accrued 30 or more innings in the Southern League last year, Denlinger ranked 29th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.50) and 30th in strikeout rate (29.5 percent), per FanGraphs.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Denlinger features a 94-96 mph fastball with big movement and a slider that “looks good on paper” but is considered by scouts to be “very vulnerable,” according to FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen.

Denlinger, who turns 27 in July, has been assigned to Double-A Portland. He very well could wind up in the Sea Dogs bullpen with fellow 2021 draftee Taylor Broadway, who the Red Sox acquired from the White Sox as the player to be named later in the Jake Diekman/Reese McGuire trade last August.

German, on the other hand, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for lefty Richard Bleier, who they acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Matt Barnes and cash considerations.

Boston originally acquired German alongside veteran reliever Adam Ottavino in January 2021. The righty worked out of Portland’s starting rotation to begin the 2021 season, but ultimately moved to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen and found success in a relief role. hat success carried over to the 2022 campaign, as German earned a promotion to Triple-A Worcester last May.

In 32 relief appearances with the WooSox, German posted a 2.58 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings of work. He pitched to a miniscule 1.54 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .431 OPS against from July 6 through September 14, which resulted in him getting called up by the Red Sox three days later.

The 25-year-old got shelled for four runs while failing to record an out in his big-league debut against the Royals at Fenway Park. He then allowed runs in his next three outings before ending his season with a scoreless appearance against the Blue Jays on October 2. All told, German produced an ERA of 18.00 (eight earned runs in four innings) with four strikeouts and four walks in his first taste of big-league action.

Despite that rough showing, the Red Sox were able to find a trade partner for German, who still has three minor-league options remaining and is coming off a 2022 season in which he was named Boston’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Regardless of how he pans out with the White Sox, German becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox be lopped off the 40-man roster and join a new organization this winter. He joins the likes of Barnes, Darwinzon Hernandez, Connor Seabold, Eduard Bazardo, Tyler Danish, Eric Hosmer, Franchy Cordero, and Jeter Downs, among others.

(Picture of Franklin German: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Red Sox purchase contract of right-hander Joe Jones from Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks

The Red Sox have purchased the contract of right-hander Joe Jones from the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the independent American Association, the team announced on Wednesday.

Jones, 27, posted a 3.72 ERA with 66 strikeouts to 44 walks in 43 relief appearances (55 2/3 innings) for the league champion RedHawks last yea. The righty has past experience in affiliated ball, as he spent most of the 2021 minor-league season in the Diamondbacks organization before being released by Arizona that August.

A native of Tennessee, Jones went undrafted out of Division III Maryville College in 2017. He then made several stops on the indy ball circuit, pitching for the Cleburne Railroaders of the American Association (2017), Martinez Clippers of the Pacific Association (2018), York Revolution of the Atlantic League (2019), Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League (2019), and Road Warrior Black Sox of the Washington League (2020) before signing a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks in February 2021.

Jones broke camp with High-A Hillsboro that spring. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound hurler pitched to a 3.46 ERA (4.44 FIP) with 15 strikeouts to 10 walks in 13 appearances (13 innings) for the Hops before being promoted to Double-A Amarillo in late June. He then struggled to a 9.31 ERA (9.58 FIP) to go along with 10 strikeouts to nine walks over his next 10 outings (9 2/3 innings) before getting cut loose by the Sod Poodles on Aug. 20.

Four days later, Jones signed with Fargo-Moorhead. He did not allow a run in his first six appearances for the RedHawks down the stretch in 2021, which resulted in the club exercising his option for the 2022 season.

Jones, who turns 28 in July, throws from a three-quarters arm slot and features a four-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball that can top out in the high-90s, a sinker, a slider, and a newly-implemented changeup, according to Eric Peterson of the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

At this point in time, it remains to be seen which minor-league affiliate the Red Sox will assign Jones to for the start of the 2023 campaign, though it will presumably come down to either High-A Greenville or Double-A Portland. Before that happens though, it should be interesting to see what Jones brings to the table at minor-league camp down in Fort Myers.

Speaking of interesting, Jones has a unique pregame routine in which he does walking handstands in an effort to improve shoulder strength and stability.

“It’s a pretty big stimulus for me to walk on my hands,” he told Peterson last August. “I like it to get the blood flowing in the shoulders. My record this season is 66 steps continuously on my hands.”

(Picture of Joe Jones: Savannah Lussier/Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks)

Red Sox acquire lefty reliever Richard Bleier from Marlins for Matt Barnes

The Red Sox have acquired left-handed reliever Richard Bleier from the Marlins in exchange for right-hander Matt Barnes and cash considerations, the club announced earlier Monday evening. In order to make room for Bleier on the 40-man roster, righty Franklin German was designated for assignment.

Bleier, who turns 36 in April, comes over to the Red Sox after spending the previous two-plus seasons with the Marlins. The lefty posted a 3.55 ERA and 3.27 FIP with 32 strikeouts to 10 walks in 55 relief appearances (50 2/3 innings pitched) for Miami last year.

A native of Miami Beach, Bleier was college teammates with Chris Sale at Florida Gulf Coast University before being selected by Texas in the sixth round of the 2008 amateur draft. He spent time in the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Nationals organizations before breaking in with the Yankees in 2016. After one season in the Bronx, Bleier was traded to the Orioles in February 2017. He established himself as a solid reliever in parts of three seasons with Baltimore and was traded to Miami in August 2020.

All told, Bleier owns a lifetime 3.06 ERA and 3.49 FIP with 171 strikeouts to 49 walks in 308 career appearances (two starts) spanning 299 2/3 innings of work seasons between the Yankees, Orioles, and Marlins. He has proven to be particularly effective against left-handed hitters in his seven big-league seasons, as evidenced by the fact that lefties have hit just .225/.260/.313 off him in his career. That includes a .676 OPS against in 2022.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Bleier operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, a cutter, a slider, a changeup, and a rarely-used four-seam fastball that typically sits between 90-91 mph. Last year, the veteran southpaw ranked in the 94th percentile of all major-league pitchers in walk rate (4.5 percent), the 90th percentile in barrel rate (4.5 percent), and the 77th percentile in chase rate (32.3 percent), per Baseball Savant.

Bleier is under contract for $3.5 million in 2023. He also has a $3.75 million club option for 2024 that comes with a $250,000 buyout, so the Red Sox have control over him for the next two seasons. Boston was in need of a left-handed reliever after trading Darwinzon Hernandez to the Orioles and Josh Taylor to the Royals in recent weeks.

The addition of Bleier is just the latest to what figures to be a new-look Red Sox bullpen in 2023. Since the hot stove season began in November, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have signed veterans like Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodriguez while acquiring Wyatt Mills from Kansas City and trading away Barnes, Hernandez, and Taylor. Bleier and Rodriguez now project as the top two lefty options available out of the bullpen for manager Alex Cora heading into the spring.

In finding a trade partner for Barnes, the Red Sox were able to offload some the 32-year-old’s salary for this coming season. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston is sending a little more than $5.5 million to Miami in this deal to cover part of Barnes’ $7.5 million salary for 2023 (and his $2.25 million club option for 2024). For competitive balance tax purposes, the Red Sox will be taking on approximately $9.25 million ($3.75 million for Bleier plus $5.5 million for Barnes), which represents a slight decrease from the $9.375 million Barnes would have cost on his own.

Barnes, who turns 33 in June, briefly held the title as the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox after Xander Bogaerts left for the Padres in free agency last month. He was expected to have an important role in the Red Sox bullpen in 2023 after a strong finish to his 2022 campaign, but he instead lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster when the signing of Adam Duvall was made official last Tuesday.

That Barnes was traded comes as somewhat of a surprise, but the former All-Star will now have the chance to bounce back with a new organization. The Red Sox originally selected Barnes with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Connecticut. He debuted for Boston in 2014 and currently ranks second in franchise history in both career relief appearances and relief strikeouts.

To begin the 2022 season, Barnes struggled to a 7.94 ERA (5.29 FIP) in his first 20 outings. The Red Sox placed him on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation in early June. Upon returning to action in early August, Barnes proceeded to put up a far more encouraging 1.59 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 20 strikeouts to nine walks over 24 outings (22 2/3 innings) to close out the year.

Despite those improved results, some within the Red Sox organization “believe Barnes’ late-season showing was not as impressive as the numbers show,” according to Cotillo. While Barnes was initially expected to be a key part of Boston’s bullpen in 2023, Cotillo reports that the club “plans on prioritizing flexibility when it comes to its bullpen,” meaning younger pitchers with minor-league options — such as Mills or Kaleb Ort — took precedence over Barnes.

Barnes becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to jettison the organization this winter, joining other mainstays such as Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi, who all signed elsewhere in free agency. With Barnes’ departure, Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale are now the only three players remaining from Boston’s 2018 World Series championship team.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura returns to Japan, signs with NPB’s Chiba Lotte Marines

Former Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura has returned to Japan by signing with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, per a club announcement.

Sawamura, 34, spent the better part of the last two seasons with the Red Sox after signing a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston in February 2021. The right-hander came to the United States after spending the previous 10 seasons pitching overseas.

As a big-league rookie in 2021, Sawamura posted a 3.06 ERA and 5.00 FIP with 61 strikeouts to 32 walks over 55 relief appearances (53 innings pitched). He followed that up by compiling a a 3.73 ERA (4.16 FIP) with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks across 49 appearances (50 2/3 innings) out of the Boston bullpen last year.

Despite the relatively strong ERA in 2022, Sawamura did struggle in other areas. His 18.1 strikeout rate and 12.2 walk rate left much to be desired, as did his inability to miss bats and avoid giving up hard contact on a consistent basis.

Taking those underlying factors into consideration, the Red Sox designated Sawamura for assignment in late August. The 6-foot, 212-pound righty cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester. He appeared in just one game for the WooSox before asking for and being granted his release in early September.

By releasing him, the Red Sox essentially bought out Sawamura for $1 million since he had a buyout attached to a $3 million dual player/club option for the 2023 season. It was previously reported by The Boston Globe that Sawamura was looking to sign with another MLB team this winter, but after a few months on the open market, he will now head back home.

Sawamura, who turns 35 in April, first broke in with the Yomiuri Giants in 2011. He spent the first nine years of his professional career there before being traded to Chiba Lotte midway through the 2020 campaign. With the Marines, Sawamura pitched to a miniscule 1.71 ERA over 22 relief appearances spanning 21 innings of work.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire Adalberto Mondesi from Royals in exchange for Josh Taylor

The Red Sox have acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

This is the second trade the Red Sox and Royals have made this winter, as Boston previously sent pitching prospect Jacob Wallace to Kansas City for reliever Wyatt Mills last month.

Unlike that trade, though, Tuesday’s deal represents a swap of two major-league caliber players who are both coming off injury-plagued 2022 seasons. Mondesi was limited to just 15 games with the Royals last year before suffering a torn left ACL in late April that ultimately required season-ending surgery. Taylor, on the other hand, did not pitch at all for the Red Sox due to complications from a low back strain.

Mondesi, 27, is the son of former big-league outfielder Raul Mondesi. The Dominican Republic native originally signed with the Royals as an international free agent coming out of San Cristobal in July 2011. He was regarded as one of the top prospects in Kansas City’s farm system before becoming the first player in MLB history to make his debut during the World Series in 2015.

In parts of seven seasons with the Royals, Mondesi was limited to just 358 total games. He was handed down a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs as a rookie in 2016 and has since been hindered by injuries. In 2018, for instance, Mondesi missed time with a right shoulder impingement. The following year, he was sidelined with a groin strain and left shoulder subluxation. After avoiding the injured list completely during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Mondesi was hampered by a left hamstring strain and strained left oblique.

When healthy, though, Mondesi has been able to put his tools on full display. The switch-hitter owns a career .244/.280/.408 slash line to go along with 54 doubles, 20 triples, 38 home runs, 157 RBIs, 180 runs scored, 133 stolen bases, 60 walks, and 412 strikeouts across 1,366 big-league plate appearances. As far as speed is concerned, he led all of baseball with 10 triples and stole a career-best 43 bases in 2019, then led the American League with 24 steals in 2020. Prior to tearing his left ACL last April, Mondesi went 7-for-50 (.140) at the plate with three RBIs, three runs scored, five stolen bases, four walks, and 20 strikeouts in his first 15 games of the year.

Defensively, Mondesi has past experience at every infield position besides first base. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Kansas City come at shortstop, where he accrued 23 outs above average and an ultimate zone rating of 13.3 over 2,126 career innings.

Mondesi, who turns 28 in July, will earn $3.045 million in 2023 after agreeing to a deal with the Royals to avoid arbitration last month. He is currently slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career next winter. In the meantime, Mondesi figures to provide the Red Sox with versatile infield depth since he can play all over the diamond and hits from both sides of the plate.

With Trevor Story expected to be sidelined well into the 2023 season after undergoing right elbow surgery, Enrique Hernandez will step in as the club’s starting shortstop while Christian Arroyo will handle things at second base. Mondesi, meanwhile, can handle both positions in place of Hernandez and Arroyo depending on other factors such as infield/outfield alignments and pitching matchups.

The Red Sox were able to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Mondesi by trading away Taylor, who they originally acquired from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later in the March 2018 trade that sent infielder Deven Marrero to Arizona.

Taylor first broke in with Boston in May 2019 and impressed as a rookie by forging a 3.04 ERA in 52 appearances (47 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen. The southpaw was then limited to just eight outings in 2020 due to a bout with COVID-19 and left shoulder tendinitis, but he bounced back in 2021 by posting a 3.40 ERA (2.83 FIP) with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

Despite those strong results, Taylor first began experiencing back issues towards the tail end of the 2021 campaign. As a result, he began the 2022 season on the injured list and never got healthy enough to return to the Red Sox. He made a total of eight rehab outings between Triple-A Worcester and Double-A Portland, but was shut down from throwing in mid-July.

Taylor was still tendered a contract in November, but he clearly became expandable for the Red Sox on account of his inability to stay on the mound as of late. The 29-year-old will earn a salary of $1.025 million with the Royals in 2023 and will not be eligible for free agency until the end of the 2025 season.

(Picture of Adalberto Mondesi: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Falmouth native Steve Cishek announces retirement from baseball

East Falmouth, Mass. native Steve Cishek has officially announced his retirement from baseball.

Cishek, who spent this past season with the Nationals, made the announcement in a recent conversation with Rich Maclone of The Enterprise News. He also took to Instagram to reflect on his time in pro ball earlier Friday evening.

“It’s time,” Cishek told Maclone. “It’s gotten harder for me to bounce back game-to-game. The ball wasn’t coming out as crisp as before, and it felt like I had to pitch differently. I know I’ll get the bug and want to get back out there, but I don’t think I’m pulling a Tom Brady.”

Cishek, now 36, attended Falmouth High School and was originally selected by the Marlins in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Carson-Newman University (Jefferson City, Tenn.). The sidewinding right-hander broke in with Miami in 2010 and led the club in saves in back-to-back years (2013 and 2014) before being traded to the Cardinals in July 2015.

After a brief stint in St. Louis, Cishek signed a two-year deal with the Mariners. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound reliever registered 25 saves in his first season with Seattle but was dealt to the Rays ahead of the 2017 trade deadline. An impressive stint with Tampa Bay (1.06 ERA in 26 outings) netted Cishek a two-year deal with the Cubs that December.

Cishek saw the only postseason action of his career while with the Cubs, as he made an appearance out of the bullpen in the 2018 National League Wild Card Game against the Rockies at Wrigley Field. He got the only batter he faced to ground into an inning-ending double play in a game that Chicago ultimately lost, 1-0, in 13 innings.

At the conclusion of the 2019 campaign, Cishek elected to take his talents to the South Side of the Windy City by signing with the White Sox. He struggled to the tune of a 5.49 ERA in 22 appearances (20 innings) for Chicago during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and was released from his contract that September.

Cishek inked a minors pact with the Astros last February but was cut loose before the end of spring training. He quickly latched on with the Angels and wound up producing a 3.42 ERA in 74 games (66 1/3 innings) for the Halos in 2021.

As a result of last winter’s lockout, Cishek did not sign with the Nationals until March. He posted a 4.21 ERA with 74 strikeouts to 27 walks over 69 appearances (66 1/3 innings) for Washington.

All things considered, Cishek forged a respectable 2.98 ERA and 3.49 FIP to go along with 743 strikeouts across 737 total relief appearances between the Marlins, Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, White Sox, Angels, and Nationals over the course of a 13-year major-league career in which he recorded 133 total saves . His 94 saves with Miami rank third all-time in franchise history, while his 737 career appearances are tied for the 87th-most on MLB’s all-time list.

“I don’t have anything to complain about,” Cishek said. “I had a good career. I had a lot of fun and got to play with some amazing teammates.”

Having grown up a Red Sox fan, Cishek said he dreamt of pitching for his hometown team at some point in his career. Despite the two sides being linked to one another in the past, that opportunity never fully materialized. Cishek, did, however make seven career appearances at Fenway Park and held opposing hitters to a .579 OPS against over 6 2/3 cumulative innings of relief.

With his playing days now behind him, Cishek will get the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Marissa, and their three daughters. He told Maclone that he might get into coaching down the road and plans on getting in touch with the pitching coaches at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson.

“I never had any issues with my arm,” said Cishek . “I owe a lot to those guys. Cressey is a big reason for that.”

According to Maclone, Cishek has enjoyed the longest playing career of any big-leaguer from Cape Cod to date. We certainly wish him the best in his future endeavors.

(Picture of Steve Cishek: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to two-year, $32 million deal with veteran closer Kenley Jansen, per report

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $32 million contract with free agent reliever Kenley Jansen, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal — which is pending a physical — would pay Jansen $16 million in both 2023 and 2024, per The Boston’s Globe Alex Speier.

Jansen, 35, is a veteran of 13 big-league seasons who is best known for his time in Los Angeles. After spending the first 12 years of his career in Los Angeles, the right-hander signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Braves back in March.

In 65 relief appearances for Atlanta, Jansen posted a 3.38 ERA and 3.21 FIP to go along with 85 strikeouts to 22 walks over 64 innings of work. He also recorded a National League-best 41 saves in 48 opportunities and allowed one run in two outings against the Phillies in the National League Division Series.

A native of Curacao, Jansen originally signed with the Dodgers as a catcher in November 2004. He spent the first 4 1/2 seasons of his minor-league career behind the plate before transitioning to the mound midway through the 2009 campaign. The following July, Jansen made his major-league debut for Los Angeles.

It did not take long for Jansen to establish himself as one of the top relievers in baseball. He finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and registered his first season of 25 or more saves in 2012. From 2016-2018, the righty forged a 2.07 ERA and 2.29 FIP across 205 outings (208 2/3 innings) and made three consecutive All-Star teams. His 350 saves in a Dodgers uniform are the most in the franchise’s storied history.

Between Los Angeles and Atlanta, Jansen owns a lifetime 2.46 ERA and 2.44 FIP with 1,107 strikeouts to 226 walks over 766 relief appearances spanning 769 innings pitched. He ranks eighth in American/National League history with 391 career saves. In 10 separate trips to the postseason during that stretch, Jansen produced a 2.29 ERA over 59 total outings out of the bullpen.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Jansen operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of an elite cutter (his primary weapon), a sinker, and a cutter. This past season, he ranked in the 98th percentile of the league in expected batting average (.169), the 93rd percentile in expected slugging percentage (.292), the 93rd percentile in strikeout rate (32.7 percent), the 95th percentile in fastball spin, and the 93rd percentile in extension, according to Baseball Savant.

Jansen, who does not turn 36 until next September, does come with some concerns. Earlier this summer, he spent more than two weeks on the injured list due to an irregular heartbeat, which is something that has sidelined him in the past. He has had two cardiac ablation procedures (2012 and 2018) to combat this issue.

With the addition of Jansen, the Red Sox have made it clear that bolstering the bullpen was one of the club’s top priorities this winter after Boston relievers finished with the second-worst ERA (4.59) in the American League this season. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have already signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract last month and agreed to terms on a two-year $17.5 million deal with righty Chris Martin last week.

Assuming he passes his physical, Jansen will become the first established closer the Red Sox have had since Craig Kimbrel left the club after winning the World Series in 2018. Jansen, Rodriguez, and Martin are slated to join a bullpen mix that is highlighted by the likes of Matt Barnes, Tanner Houck, John Schreiber heading into 2023.

(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to two-year, $17.5 million deal with reliever Chris Martin, per report

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $17.5 million contract with free agent reliever Chris Martin, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is pending a physical.

Martin, 36, is a veteran of seven major-league seasons who split the 2022 campaign between the Cubs and Dodgers. The right-hander posted a 4.31 ERA and 3.02 FIP with 40 strikeouts to four walks in 34 appearances (31 1/3 innings) with Chicago before being traded to Los Angeles for infielder Zach McKinstry in late July.

In 26 appearances out of the Dodgers bullpen, Martin pitched to a dazzling 1.46 ERA and 1.13 FIP with 34 punchouts to just one walk over 24 2/3 innings of relief. He did not allow a run in either of his two outings against the Padres in the National League Division Series.

Martin’s journey through pro ball has certainly been a unique one. The native Texan was originally selected by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 amateur draft as a freshman out of McLennan Community College in Waco, but he did not sign with the club. The following year, Martin suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and underwent surgery to repair the tear in 2007.

After working a number of odd jobs, Martin landed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the independent American Association in 2010. He pitched well there and scored a tryout with the Red Sox in March 2011. Martin impressed in Fort Myers and was signed to a minor-league contract. He spent the next three seasons working his way through Boston’s farm system before being traded with Franklin Morales to the Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera in December 2013.

Martin made his big-league debut for Colorado the following April and had his contract purchased by the Yankees before the start of the 2015 season. He was released by New York that November and elected to take his talents to Japan by signing with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. After two years overseas, Martin returned to the United States by signing a major-league contract with his hometown Rangers in December 2017.

Since then, Martin has forged a respectable 3.44 ERA and 2.99 FIP to go along with 229 punchouts to 24 walks over 229 total relief outings (214 2/3 innings pitched) between the Rangers, Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers. He helped Atlanta win a World Series in 2021 and owns a lifetime 1.88 ERA (2.11 FIP) in the postseason.

Listed at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Martin is a six-pitch pitcher who operates with a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a low-90s cutter, a high-80s splitter, a mid-90s sinker, a mid-80s slider, and a low-80s curveball. This past season, the righty ranked in the 99th percentile in the league in strikeout rate (32.9 percent) and the 100th percentile in walk rate (2.2 percent), per Baseball Savant. He did not miss many bats (41.7 percent hard-hit rate, 8.3 percent barrel rate), but proved to be effective in other areas.

Martin, who does not turn 37 until June, becomes the second free agent addition the Red Sox have have made to their bullpen this winter. Fellow reliever Joely Rodriguez was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal last week.

With the Winter Meetings set to get underway in San Diego next week, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. may just be getting started as different markets are expected to heat up sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Chris Martin: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez to one-year deal with club option for 2024

The Red Sox have signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract for the 2023 season, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal comes with a club option for 2024 as well.

Rodriguez, who turned 31 earlier this month, will make at least $2 million in guaranteed money with the Red Sox. His contract includes a base salary of $1.5 million in 2023 and up to $2 million in active roster bonuses, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The Red Sox then hold a $4.25 million option over Rodriguez for 2024. If they decline that, Rodriguez will receive $500,000 in the form of a buyout. When taking other performance bonuses into account, Rodriguez’s deal can max out at $8.25 million over the next two seasons.

After finishing with the fifth-worst bullpen ERA (4.59) this year, the Red Sox have elected to make Rodriguez their first free agent addition of the offseason. The Dominican-born southpaw spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with the Mets and posted a 4.47 ERA and 3.23 FIP to go along with 57 strikeouts to 26 walks over 55 relief appearances spanning 50 1/3 innings of work.

Rodriguez was initially one of 12 pitchers to make the Mets’ Wild Card series roster last month, but he was removed from it following Game 1 due to an unspecified shoulder issue that ultimately required minor surgery after the season, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Listed at 6-foot-1, and 200 pounds, Rodriguez operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker and changeup — his two most frequently-used offerings — as well as a four-seam fastball and slider. This past season, Rodriguez limited opposing hitters to an average exit velocity of 85.3 mph, a hard-hit rate of 31.8 percent, and a barrel rate of 3.8 percent, per Baseball Savant. His chase rate of 34.7 percent also ranked in the 94th percentile of the league.

The Red Sox, per Cotillo, are intrigued by Rodriguez’s pitch mix and his ability to induce ground balls, soft contact, and whiffs. They are optimistic that his performance will be more in line with his Statcast numbers as opposed to his 4.56 career ERA moving forward. They also believe in his ability to get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, as he held righties to a .625 OPS against and lefties to a .645 OPS in 2022.

A native of Santo Domingo, Rodriguez first signed with the Pirates as an international free agent in March 2009. He was traded to the Phillies in 2014 and made his major-league debut two years later. In June 2017, Rodriguez was traded to the Rangers and became a free agent at the end of the season. He spent part of the 2018 campaign in the Orioles system before signing with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball.

After spending the remainder of 2018 and the entirety of 2019 in Japan, Rodriguez returned to the major-leagues in 2020 with the Rangers. Texas traded him and Joey Gallo to the Yankees at the 2021 trade deadline. New York then flipped him to the Mets for fellow reliever Miguel Castro back in April.

All told, Rodriguez owns a 4.56 ERA and 3.65 FIP across 157 career appearances (146 innings) in five seasons at the big-league level. The lefty will now join a Red Sox bullpen that at the moment includes the likes of Matt Barnes, John Schreiber, Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, and Zack Kelly, among others.

While that group could still undergo a dramatic change between now and Opening Day, Rodriguez is line to provide Boston with a left-handed relief option in 2023. With the addition of Rodriguez, the Red Sox currently have 39 platers on their 40-man roster.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox re-sign relievers Oddanier Mosqueda, Michael Gettys to minor-league deals

The Red Sox have re-signed relievers Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys to minor-league deals for the 2023 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Mosqueda, 23, spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland. The Venezuelan-born left-hander posted a 4.30 FIP — but much more respectable 4.05 FIP and 3.40 xFIP — with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 appearances (58 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs.

Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed at least 50 innings this season, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), WHIP (1.12), and groundball rate (46 percent), and eighth in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

A native of Caracas, Mosqueda originally signed with Boston as an international free agent in July 2015. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound southpaw operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 83-84 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. He is projected to make the jump to Triple-A Worcester next spring.

Gettys, meanwhile, split the 2022 season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. After posting a 3.34 ERA (4.33 FIP) in 22 outings (29 2/3 innings) with the Drive, the 27-year-old right-hander earned a promotion to Double-A in mid-July. As a member of the Sea Dogs bullpen, he pitched to a 0.48 ERA and 4.00 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to eight walks over 18 appearances spanning 18 2/3 innings of work.

Unlike Mosqueda, Gettys is not your prototypical relief prospect. The Georgia native was originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Gainesville High School. At that time, Gettys was a highly-touted outfield prospect who quickly rose through the ranks of San Diego’s farm system.

After reaching minor-league free agency for the first time at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Gettys inked a minors pact with the Red Sox that November. The right-handed hitter was used exclusively as an outfielder by the WooSox before being placed on the development list last August. By the end of the month, Gettys was with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in Fort Myers making his professional debut as a pitcher.

Boston first re-signed Gettys to a minor-league deal last November. Between last season and this season, the 6-foot-1, 217-pound hurler owns a lifetime 2.36 ERA in 45 relief career appearances (53 1/3 innings) across three different levels. SoxProspects.com notes that his arsenal consists of a 92-94 mph heater that tops out at 95 mph and a 77-82 mph breaking ball that resembles a slider or curveball.

Gettys, who does not turn 28 until next October, is expected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season in April. By bringing back both Gettys and Mosqueda, the Red Sox have reduced their minor-league free agent pool by two.

According to SoxProspects.com, Boston has 14 minor-league free agents who remain unsigned. Notables from that group include Pedro Castellanos, Geoff Hartlieb, Brian Keller, Johan Mieses, Hudson Potts, and Christin Stewart. Minor-league free agency just began on Thursday, so it should be interesting to see which of these players are re-signed or which opt to sign elsewhere.

(Pictures of Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)