Red Sox Acquire Reliever Matt Hall From Tigers

For the second time in the last three days, the Red Sox have traded for a left-handed pitcher, as the club acquired reliever Matt Hall from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez.

As the above tweet notes, a corresponding move will have to be made by the Red Sox in order to get Hall on the 40-man roster.

In Hall, Boston acquires a 26-year-old southpaw who posted a 7.71 ERA and 5.00 xFIP over 16 relief appearances and 23 1/3 innings of work last season in limited action for the Detroit Tigers.

Already coming off a rough rookie campaign in which he surrendered 16 runs, 13 of which were earned, over five outings and eight innings pitched in 2018, Hall was designated for assignment by Detroit on Monday. He still has two minor-league options remaining and is not yet eligible for salary arbitration.

A former 2015 sixth-round draft pick out of Missouri State University, Hall, a Missouri native himself, was college teammates with Red Sox outfield prospect Tate Matheny.

Per Statcast, Hall relies on five pitches: a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a slider, a changeup, and cutter. He averaged 90.5 MPH with his heater in 2019.

Hall now joins an interesting group of left-handed major-league relievers that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has gone out and acquired this winter. Chris Mazza, Josh Osich, and Jeffrey Springs are among the others.

As for the catcher Boston parted ways with in this trade, Jhon Nunez was viewed as a solid depth piece and one of the better hitting catching prospects in the Sox’ system.

In 64 games with Double-A Portland last year, the recently-turned 25-year-old slashed .280/.333/.412 with five home runs and 21 RBI.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $32,000 back in December 2012, Nunez was listed as the No. 4 catcher on SoxProspects.com’s catcher depth chart, trailing only Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, and Jett Bandy. He’ll look to make a name for himself with a new organization this spring.

As soon as that forthcoming roster move is made public, this will be updated.

Red Sox Designate Sam Travis for Assignment to Make Room on 40-Man Roster for Kevin Plawecki

In a corresponding move to signing catcher Kevin Plawecki to a one-year, major-league deal on Thursday, the Red Sox also announced that first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis had been designated for assignment.

As the above tweet indicates, the addition of Plawecki on a majors deal meant that someone else would need to be removed from the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, and now we know that it is indeed Travis.

Originally drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University, the 26-year-old was out of options headed into the spring, meaning he would have had to make the Sox’ Opening Day roster.

In a career-high 59 games this past season, Travis slashed .215/.274/.382 to go along with six home runs and 16 RBI while playing first base and both corner outfield positions.

There was a stretch during the summer where it looked like the former top prospect was beginning to put it all together (he had an OPS of 1.007 from July 26th to August 20th), but he ultimately fizzled out over the final few weeks of the season.

With this move made, it now appears that Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec are the top two choices to take over first baseman duties for Boston in 2020. A reunion with free agent Mitch Moreland or even bringing in someone like Eric Thames could be in the mix as well.

Like MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo points out, Chaim Bloom and Co. now have seven days to either find a trade partner for Travis, waive him, or release him if nothing comes to fruition. If Travis goes unclaimed, he will be outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket and off the Sox’ 40-man roster.

Red Sox Claim Chris Mazza off Waivers From Mets

Earlier Friday, the Red Sox claimed right-handed reliever Chris Mazza off waivers from the New York Mets.

Mazza, who was designated by New York last week, posted an ERA of 5.51 and xFIP of 5.47 over nine relief appearances and 16 1/3 innings of work this past season, his first in the majors.

The 30-year-old hurler was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 27th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Walnut Creek, Ca. and had to work his way through independent league ball in 2018 in order to make it back as a Rule 5 pick of the Mets that year.

While with the Mets’ Double- A and Triple-A clubs this season, Mazza allowed a total of 43 runs (40 earned) on 91 hits and 26 walks over 18 appearances, 17 of which were starts. That’s good for an ERA of 3.61 and batting average against of .247.

Per Statcast, Mazza relies on five pitches: a changeup, a cutter, a four-seam fastball, a sinker, and a slider. He averaged 90.6 MPH with his four-seamer in 2019.

Mazza joins left-hander Josh Osich as additions chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have made through waivers so far this offseason. As the above tweet mentions, the righty is the 40th player on the Red Sox’ current 40-man roster, which is subject to change.

Red Sox Non-Tender Marco Hernandez and Josh Osich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Sox’ Brian Johnson Outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket After Clearing Waivers

After placing him on outright waivers on Monday, the Red Sox officially outrighted Brian Johnson to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, meaning the left-hander went unclaimed.

Johnson, who turns 29 next month, is no longer a part of Boston’s 40-man roster after posting an ERA of 6.02 and FIP of 5.32 over 21 total appearances (seven starts) and 40 1/3 innings of work in an injury-filled 2019.

A former first round pick out of the University of Florida in 2012 and a Florida native himself, Johnson can still provide the Sox with pitching depth, and he’ll still probably get an invite to major-league camp in the spring, but he is no longer one of the top two or three choices to make a spot start for Boston when needed. That much was made evident when 27-year-old left-hander Kyle Hart was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last week.

Speaking of 40-man rosters, the Red Sox currently have 38 players on theirs.

Red Sox Claim Josh Osich off Waivers From White Sox

The Red Sox have made their first roster move under new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, as the club claimed left-handed reliever Josh Osich off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Osich, 31, posted an ERA of 4.66 and batting average against of .242 over 57 appearances and 67 2/3 total innings pitched this past season with Chicago, his first in the Windy City after coming up and spending four years with the San Francisco Giants.

Per MLB Trade Rumors, Osich is projected to earn approximately $1 million in his first year of salary arbitration.

The Idaho native has a solid track record against left-handed bats over the course of his career, limiting them to a lifetime .659 OPS over the span of 380 plate appearances.

Beginning in 2020, relievers will be required to face a minimum of three hitters or end the inning they have entered, so it appears that the days of the LOOGY (Left-Handed One Out Guy) in baseball are over.

That new rule did not stop the Sox from picking up a left-handed option out of the bullpen though, especially when they did not have to give anything up to acquire him.

Based off of his Statcast page, Osich relied heavily on his cutter in 2019, turning to the pitch nearly 67% of the time he was on the mound. His pitch arsenal also includes a slider, sinker, changeup, and a mid-90’s fastball.

The offseason is just getting started, and the Red Sox are already on the board in terms of transactions made. It’s hard to imagine that they are anywhere close to being finished.

Red Sox Cut Ties With Knuckleballer Steven Wright

The Red Sox announced on Friday that right-handed pitcher Steven Wright had been released from their active roster.

Wright, 33, had been viewed as a likely non-tender candidate this winter, as he was projected to earn $1.5 million in salary arbitration for the 2020 season.

The knuckleballer has dealt with his fair share of issues, both on and off the field, the last two years.

Prior to the start of the 2018 campaign, Wright was handed down a 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy stemming from an arrest in December of 2017.

And just this past March, Wright was once again suspended, this time for 80 games due to violating the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program by testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2).

In 81 career outings (44 starts) for the Red Sox, Wright posted an ERA of 3.86, a FIP of 4.46, and WHIP of 1.33 over 347 2/3 total innings of work.

He made his first and only All-Star team in 2016 but only managed to appear in a total of 31 games in the following three seasons leading to his release on Friday.