After being released by Red Sox, Kevin Plawecki drawing interest from Rangers

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have released catcher Kevin Plawecki, the club announced on Monday.

Plawecki, who was informed of the decision following Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Royals at Fenway Park, is already drawing interest from other teams. According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, the Rangers “are expressing serious interest” in the free-agent backstop.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News adds that outfielder Nick Solak will be placed on the injured list with a season-ending foot fracture, so Plawecki could take his spot on Texas’ roster. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, however, notes that Plawecki can’t officially sign with a new team until 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after originally signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. The right-handed hitter was brought on to be Christian Vazquez’s backup and served that role well in 2020-2021 by batting .305/.364/.414 over 88 total games.

This year has been a different story for Plawecki, who has struggled to a .217/.287/.287 slash line to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games and 175 plate appearances.

Though he emerged as a clubhouse leader and a quality game-caller from behind the plate, Plawecki only threw out four of 44 base stealers with the Red Sox this season.

Given those offensive and defensive struggles, Boston elected to move on from Plawecki — who is slated to become a free-agent this winter — now so that it could a more extended look at Connor Wong and Reese McGuire — both of whom are under team control beyond 2023 — before the regular season ends.

Designating Plawecki also allowed the Red Sox to clear a spot on both their 28- and 40-man roster for rookie reliever Franklin German, who made his major-league debut on Saturday.

It may not have been a popular move from within the Red Sox clubhouse, but it appears as though Plawecki has already landed back on his feet. And because he was released, the Sox will remain on the hook for the remainder of his $2.25 million salary this year.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Kevin Plawecki for assignment, call up Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox designated catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment prior to Saturday’s 9-0 loss to the Royals. In a corresponding move, reliever Franklin German had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after first signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. While primarily serving as a backup to Christian Vazquez, the right-handed hitter slashed .305/.364/.414 with four home runs and 32 RBIs over 89 games in his first two seasons with the club.

While that sort of production earned Plawecki additional playing time during the Sox’ postseason run last October, his numbers have taken a hit this year. Coming into play on Saturday, Plawecki was batting just .217/.287/.287 to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games spanning 175 trips to the plate.

On the other side of things, Plawecki had established himself as a quality game-caller who was well-liked among the Red Sox pitching staff. That being said, he only managed to throw out four of 44 base stealers this season.

Taking those factors, as well as the fact that he is slated to become a free-agent this off-season, into consideration, the Red Sox elected to move on from Plawecki now since he is not in their future plans.

With only 17 games remaining on the schedule, the Sox want to give younger backstops such as Connor Wong and Reese McGuire as many opportunities to catch as possible. Wong, 26, is under club control through 2027 while McGuire, 27, is under club control through 2025.

“We’ve got to be thinking about the future,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday. “Reese and Connor, they’re going to be catching a lot the rest of the season.”

German can now also be considered part of Boston’s future plans after making his big-league debut and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sunday. The right-hander allowed four runs on two hits and two walks without recording an out in the sixth inning, but he is still viewed as one of the more intriguing relief prospects in the organization.

The Red Sox acquired German and Adam Ottavino from the Yankees last January. The former fourth-round draft selection began the 2021 campaign in Double-A Portland’s starting rotation but has not looked back since becoming a full-time reliever.

Upon making the jump from Portland to Worcester in late May, German posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.36 FIP with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 32 relief appearances (38 1/3 innings) for the WooSox. He held opposing hitters to a .153 batting average against.

German, who turns 25 later this month, becomes the sixth different Red Sox player to make their major-league debut this season, joining the likes of Brayan Bello, Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Zack Kelly, and Josh Winckowski. He will wear the No. 71.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Jeurys Familia elects free agency after being outrighted by Red Sox

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox outrighted veteran reliever Jeurys Familia off their major-league roster on Friday. Rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, Familia elected to become a free-agent, the club announced.

Familia, who turns 33 next month, originally signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March after spending the bulk of his big-league career with the Mets.

The right-hander struggled to a 6.09 ERA and 4.88 FIP in 38 relief appearances (34 innings) with Philadelphia before being released in early August. Shortly thereafter, the Red Sox inked Familia to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Worcester. He made just one appearance for the WooSox before having his contract selected on Aug. 13.

Four days later, Familia made his Boston debut against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He gave up one run on three hits in the ninth inning of an 8-3 win, signaling that the difficulties he endured with the Phillies may have carried over to the Red Sox.

Including that performance, Familia posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.14 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings (10 1/3 innings) with Boston. His Red Sox tenure ended on a sour note, as he issued three walks (one intentional) and surrendered a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

When taking questions from the media in front of his locker afterwards, Familia revealed that he had been designated for assignment. The Red Sox made that move official on Wednesday while also adding recently-claimed infielder Yu Chang to the active roster.

Though he could have elected to try and sign with another team before season’s end, Familia told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) that he was instead going to return home to the Dominican Republic to prepare for 2023.

“I’m going to have to take some time off and rest a little bit and then get back to work so I can be ready for next year,” Familia said through interpreter Carlos Villora Benítez.

In his time with the Phillies and Red Sox this season, Familia walked nearly 11 percent of the batters he faced. That ranks in the 15th percentile among qualified major-league pitchers, per Baseball Savant.

“I’ve fallen behind the hitters too much,” said Familia. “When you fall behind the hitters, [there’s a] 90 percent chance the hitter gets on base. I haven’t been able to command my pitches.”

Familia, who broke in with the Mets in 2012 and emerged as an All-Star closer during his time in New York, took note of how difficult it can be for a reliever to go through a rough stretch when they are only being used sparingly. Prior to Tuesday’s outing, for instance, Familia last pitched on September 5.

“Even though they’re struggles I’ve been having the whole season, it’s even more difficult when you pitch and then you have six or seven days off and have to go there and battle,” Familia said. “It’s harder when you’re not pitching day in and day out. It’s not an excuse at all or anything like that. It’s just how it works.”

While Familia’s 2022 season was nothing short of ugly, the 32-year-old c0uld very well bounce back with another team in 2023. That said, he will likely have to entertain minor-league offers this winter in order to make that happen.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote relief prospect Jacob Webb to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have promoted relief prospect Jacob Webb from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.

Webb, 23, was originally selected by Boston in the 14th round of last year’s amateur draft out of Miami University in Ohio. The Fairborn native signed with the club for $122,500 and made his professional debut in the Florida Complex League.

To begin his first full pro season, Webb broke camp with Low-A Salem earlier this spring. The right-hander posted a 2.19 ERA and 3.24 FIP to go along with 39 strikeouts to 19 walks over 18 relief appearances (24 2/3 innings) before earning a promotion to Greenville on June 14.

With the Drive, Webb pitched to a 3.72 ERA and 3.24 FIP while recording 45 strikeouts and nine walks across 24 relief outings spanning 29 innings of work. Between the two Class-A levels, he produced a 3.02 ERA (3.24 FIP) in 53 2/3 innings.

Among South Atlantic League pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings this season, Webb ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (13.97), 15th in strikeout rate (36.9%), 32nd in swinging-strike rate (15.9%), 36th in FIP, and 29th in xFIP (3.28), per FanGraphs.

Listed at a burly 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Webb throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 94-96 mph fastball that tops out at 98 mph, an 82-84 mph slider, and an 88-90 mph changeup, according to his SoxProspects.com scout report.

Webb, who does not turn 24 until next March, will wear the No. 46 with the Sea Dogs. He becomes the second member of Boston’s 2021 draft class to make the jump to Portland this season, joining first baseman Niko Kavadas.

(Picture of Jacob Webb: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox roster moves: Yu Chang activated, Jeurys Familia designated for assignment, Jaylin Davis outrighted

The Red Sox made a series of roster moves before wrapping up a quick two-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, was added to the active roster. To make room on the 28-man roster for Chang, veteran reliever Jeurys Familia was officially designated for assignment.

Additionally, outfielder Jaylin Davis, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Chang, 27, will be playing for his fourth team this season. The Taiwan native began the year with the Guardians before being traded to the Pirates for cash considerations in late May. He was then designated for assignment by Pittsburgh and claimed by Tampa Bay in early July.

Between the three clubs, Chang has batted .236/.278/.349 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (164 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed a more respectable .260/.305/.385 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 36 games (105 plate appearances with the Rays.

Chang originally signed with the Guardians for $500,000 as an international free agent coming out of Taitung in June 2013. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was once regarded as one of the top prospects in Cleveland’s farm system but he has not been able to find his footing at the big-league level.

That being said, the Red Sox still took a chance on Chang and his versatility likely played a role in that since he has experience at all four infield positions. Since he is out of minor-league options, though, Boston will need to keep Chang on its active roster if it does not intend on exposing him to waivers.

Chang, who will wear the No. 12 with the Sox, is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, but he should be available off the bench if needed.

Familia, on the other hand, saw his Red Sox tenure come to an end on Tuesday night after a disastrous 10th inning against the Yankees. The right-hander loaded the bases with two outs before giving up a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres that lifted New York to a 7-6 victory.

After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March, Familia struggled to a 6.09 ERA in 38 appearances before being cut loose by Philadelphia in early August. The former All-Star closer then inked a minors pact with the Red Sox before having his contract selected on Aug. 9.

Since joining Boston’s bullpen, Familia has posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.15 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings spanning 10 1/3 innings of work. Tuesday’s performance was the last straw for the 32-year-old hurler, who made the announcement himself that he had been designated for assignment.

Given that he will likely clear waivers in the coming days, Familia said Tuesday night that he plans on returning home to the Dominican Republic to rest up and then prepare for whatever opportunities may present themselves next year.

UPDATE: Familia cleared waivers on Friday and rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency, the Red Sox announced.

By removing Familia and adding Chang, the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their active roster for the time being. They also have a vacancy on their 40-man roster.

Davis, meanwhile, was designated for assignment so that the Red Sox could add Chang to their 40-man roster on Monday. The 28-year-old was initially claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been removed from Boston’s 40-man roster on two separate occasions.

Each time, Davis cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to Worcester, where he is batting .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games with the WooSox. In two stints with Boston, the right-handed hitter has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. 

(Picture of Yu Chang: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox send power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut to Reds to complete Tommy Pham trade

The Red Sox have sent infield prospect Nick Northcut to the Reds to complete last month’s trade for outfielder Tommy Pham, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Boston acquired Pham from Cincinnati in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations on August 1. It turns out that player to be named is Northcut.

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 amateur draft, Northcut is a Cincinnati-area native who attended William Mason High School in nearby Mason, Ohio. He forwent his commitment to Vanderbilt University by signing with Boston for $565,000.

Now 23 years old, Nortchut opened the 2022 season with High-A Greenville. The right-handed hitter batted 223/.286/.530 with 13 doubles, 26 home runs, 58 RBIs, 43 runs scored, 21 walks, and 118 strikeouts in 77 games (322 plate appearances) with the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland in late July.

From there, Northcut slashed .208/.245/.376 with five doubles, four home runs, 17 RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, four walks, and 37 strikeouts over 26 games (106 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs. His 30 homers are currently the most in the organization.

Despite the impressive power numbers, Northcut was not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. That likely has to do with a .276 on-base percentage, a 35.3% strikeout rate, and a 5.8% walk rate between Greenville and Portland.

On the other side of the ball, Northcut has seen the majority of his playing time on the field this season come at either first or third base. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder has logged 518 1/3 innings at third, 276 innings at first, and six innings at shortstop.

Northcut, who does not turn 24 until next June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter. The Reds will have until late November to add him to their 40-man roster if they intend on protecting him from it.

Pham, meanwhile, has slashed .262/.321/.416 with eight doubles, five home runs, 17 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, nine walks, and 50 strikeouts in 36 games (162 plate appearances) with the Red Sox since the trade.

(Picture of Nick Northcut: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox designate Jeurys Familia for assignment

The Red Sox have designated Jeurys Familia for assignment, the veteran reliever told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) following Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Familia, 32, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox after being released by the Phillies in early August. The right-hander had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester on Aug. 13 and made his Boston debut four days later.

Since then, Familia has posted a dismal 6.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief appearances (10 1/3 innings) for the Sox. The Dominican-born hurler was tagged for three runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s loss.

Given his struggles with the Red Sox and Phillies this season, Familia will likely clear waivers in the coming days. He relayed to NESN’s Jahmai Webster that he planned on returning home to continue working so he will be ready for whatever opportunities are ahead in 2023.

By designating Familia for assignment, the Red Sox have created an opening on both their 28- and 40-man roster. Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, will take Familia’s spot on the active roster, according to Cotillo.

This means that the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their big-league roster for the time being. It also means that they will carry 39 players on their 40-man roster.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim Yu Chang off waivers from Rays, designate Jaylin Davis for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed infielder Yu Chang off waivers from the Rays. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jaylin Davis was designated for assignment, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Chang, 27, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Friday and has also played for the Guardians and Pirates this season. Across 58 games between the three clubs, the right-handed hitter has batted .216/.280/.324 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 164 total plate appearances. That includes a .260/.305/.385 slash line in which he hit three home runs in 36 games (105 plate appearances) with Tampa Bay.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Chang originally signed with Cleveland for $500,000 as a highly-touted international free-agent coming out of Taiwan in June 2013. He was once regarded by Baseball America as one of the top prospects in the Guardians farm system, but has come up short in displaying his tools on a consistent basis at the big-league level.

Defensively, Chang comes with experience at all four infield positions, so he should provide Boston with depth across the diamond. With the Rays, Chang saw the majority of his playing time (26 of 36 appearances) come at second base. That could be noteworthy when considering Trevor Story left Sunday’s 1-0 win over the Orioles in the seventh inning due to left heel pain.

Chang, who does not turn 28 until next August, is out of minor-league options, so he will have to stick with the Red Sox or will otherwise need to be exposed to waivers again if the club intends to remove him from the major-league roster. On that note, the Taitung native is technically under team control through the end of the 2025 campaign.

As for Davis, the Red Sox initially claimed the 28-year-old waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been designated for assignment on two separate occasions.

In two stints with Boston this season, Davis has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. With Triple-A Worcester, the right-handed hitter has slashed .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games.

The Red Sox will have the next seven days to place Davis on outright waivers or release waivers. Since he has previously been outrighted this season, Davis would have the ability to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency in the event he clears waivers once again.

(Picture of Yu Chang: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox release Hirokazu Sawamura

The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Sawamura was designated for assignment in late August, but the right-hander cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester. After appearing in just one game for the WooSox last week, however, he asked for and was granted his release to pursue other opportunities, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Boston originally signed Sawamura to a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February that included a dual club/player option for 2023 and a $1 million buyout.

After spending the first 10 seasons of his pro career with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, Sawamura made his major-league debut for the Red Sox last April. The Japanese-born righty posted a 3.06 ERA and 5.00 FIP with 61 strikeouts to 32 walks over 55 relief appearances spanning 53 innings of work. He also got into three games during the American League Championship Series against the Astros.

This season, Sawamura produced a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks across 49 relief outings (50 2/3 innings). While those numbers are certainly respectable, the 34-year-old hurler had struggled to a 6.46 ERA in 15 appearances since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA at Fenway Park.

When he was outrighted to Worcester on Aug. 31, it appeared as though Sawamura would provide the Red Sox with experienced bullpen depth while still potentially being in the club’s plans next season on account of that dual option.

Instead, Sawawmura will now look to latch on with another organization or perhaps even return to Japan. Either way, he will head to free agency after collecting his $1 million buyout from the Red Sox.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester, place Franchy Cordero on 60-day injured list

Before wrapping up a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night, the Red Sox selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right ankle sprain, the club announced.

Almonte will join the Red Sox after being acquired from the Brewers for cash considerations in late July. The 33-year-old has batted .291/.469/.536 with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 24 RBIs, 30 runs scored, five stolen bases, 36 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 32 games (147 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

A veteran of nine big-league seasons, Almonte originally broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for six different teams. Most recently, the switch-hitter out of the Dominican Republic appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves last year and slashed .216/.331/.399 with 12 doubles, five homers, 19 runs driven in, 20 runs scored, one stolen base, 26 walks, and 38 strikeouts.

Defensively, Almonte has major-league experience at all three outfield positions. That being said, the 5-foot-10, 223-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Worcester come in right field.

While Almonte is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, he will be available off the bench and will be wearing the No. 48.

The Red Sox needed to create a spot on their 40-man roster in order to call up Almonte. They did so by placing Cordero on the 60-day injured list, thus ending his season.

Cordero sprained both sides of his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s loss to the Rays. It happened as he attempted to track down a fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

The 28-year-old wound up running into the left field wall and got his right cleat stuck in the fence’s padding. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain. He was ultimately carted off the field after not being able to put any weight on his right leg.

In two stints with Boston this season, Cordero batted .219/.300/.397 to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 29 RBIs, 36 runs scored, four stolen bases, 28 walks, and 92 strikeouts across 84 games and 275 trips to the plate.

Acquired from the Royals in last February’s Andrew Benintendi trade, the left-handed hitting Cordero is eligible for arbitration in 2023.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)