After missing out on Tommy Kahnle, could Red Sox pursue former Blue Jays closer Ken Giles in free agency?

Before signing a two-year deal with the Dodgers late last month, right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle nearly agreed to a contract with the Red Sox. So much so that “the Red Sox were considered the runner-up” for the 31-year-old’s services, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Kahnle, who officially signed a two-year, $4.75 million pact with Los Angeles on December 29, will likely miss the entirety of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. So, the Dodgers will essentially be paying the veteran hurler to rehab his elbow in his first year with the club in hopes that he will be a quality contributor out of the their bullpen in 2022.

That being said, the Red Sox presumably had this same plan in mind in their pursuit of Kahnle as well. And as noted by Cotillo, their pursuit of the righty “suggests that the club is looking at a wide variety of options to improve its pitching depth, including arms that won’t help in 2021.”

One of those arms available that won’t be immediately ready to help in 2021 would be former Phillies, Astros, and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Giles “figures to sign the type of two-year deal that teams frequently award pitchers recovering from an elbow reconstruction.” And he “might appeal to clubs that plan to be more competitive and/or financially flexible in ’22, as well as those that might lose their closer to free agency.” 

The 30-year-old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on September 30 after making just four appearances out of the Toronto bullpen in 2020.

The year before, his first full season with the Jays, Giles put together a solid 2019 campaign, posting a 1.87 ERA and .574 OPS against over 53 appearances and 53 innings of work while converting 23 of a possible 24 save opportunities.

Right elbow inflammation did cost Giles a decent chunk of time in July, which ultimately prevented the Blue Jays from trading the former seventh-round pick ahead of the 2019 trade deadline.

Around that same time, the Red Sox were reportedly one of several teams in the mix for potentially acquiring Giles.

Nothing may have happened then, and Boston’s baseball operations department may be under new leadership now, but there certainly is a potential match to be made here.

For starters, fellow righty Matt Barnes, who at the moment is slated to be the Sox’ closer this coming season, is set to become a free agent for the first time next winter.

Though Barnes has publicly stated that he is interested in signing an extension with Boston, bringing in Giles on a two-year deal could prove to be an effective contingency plan for 2022.

On top of that, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in an interview with WEEI last week that “there’s a lot of players” on his list of potential offseason additions.

“Part of that is a function of where we are, where there’s a lot of ways we can improve. Part of that is how we’re looking to improve,” explained Bloom. “In the short-term, we have touched base with so many different players who we think could help us and fit us. Pitching, obviously, but also on the position player side. I think there’s different ways we can improve and different players we can bring in to help us. We also don’t want to take our eye off of the ball that, at the end of the day, we’re not just looking to put a little plaster in here and patch some holes. We’re looking to take this organization back to where we can compete for championships consistently year in and year out. That means we have to be open to different moves, different acquisitions that might not be just about 2021. I think we have enough talent here that we should be able to compete and win along the way there. But there are some things we’ve explored and some things we’ve kicked around that might be able to impact us even more in future years than they might be in 2021.”

Bringing in Giles would appear to fit the description of a move “that might not just be about 2021” for the Red Sox since, as mentioned before, he will miss all of this year while recovering and rehabbing from Tommy John.

Again, this is just a mere suggestion. I am not implying that the Red Sox will sign or even have any serious interest in signing Giles at some point this winter. We will have to wait and see what happens on that front.

Also, for what it’s worth, the Padres have reportedly traded speedy outfielder Greg Allen to the Yankees, so he will remain on another club’s 40-man roster for the time being.

(Photo of Ken Giles: Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Potential Red Sox target Jake Odorizzi seeking anywhere from $36 million to $42 million in free agency, per report

On Tuesday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Red Sox have ‘serious interest’ in signing free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported in his latest notes column that the 30-year-old’s price range has come into focus now that interest may be heating up.

“One club in contact with free-agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi says the pitcher expects to land a three-year contract in the $36 million to $42 million range,” Rosenthal wrote. “Such a deal might not be out of reach: Starting pitchers are faring well on the open market, and the Blue Jays offered fellow righty Kevin Gausman three years in the $40 million range before he accepted the Giants’ one-year $18.6 million qualifying offer.”

Odorizzi, a veteran of nine major-league seasons between the Royals, Rays, and most recently the Twins, is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he was limited to just four starts and 13 2/3 innings of work due to multiple stints on the injured list.

The former first-round draft pick was once acquired by Tampa Bay from Kansas City at a time when Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom played an integral role within the Rays’ front office in 2012, so there certainly is a connection there.

In addition to said connection, Odorizzi does not come with a qualifying offer attached to him, as was the case with Gausman before he returned to the Giants like Rosenthal pointed out.

This is the case because the one-time All-Star has already had the qualifying offer extended to him by the Twins last offseason, and players can only be offered a qualifying offer just once in their careers.

Having said that, it was somewhat surprising to read that Odorizzi is in pursuit of a multi-year deal considering how little he pitched in 2020. Then again, this winter’s class of free-agent starting pitchers is rather weak outside of Trevor Bauer and Tomoyuki Sugano.

While it’s not exactly known if the Red Sox are interested in acquiring the services of Bauer, they are definitely interested in the 31-year-old Sugano, who has until Thursday — the final day of his posting period — to sign with a major-league club.

(Photo of Jake Odorizzi: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Athletics right-hander Daniel Gossett to minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Daniel Gossett to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Gossett, 28, was originally drafted by Boston out of high school in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft, but he opted to honor his commitment to Clemson University as opposed to signing with the club.

Later drafted out of Clemson by the Athletics in the second of the 2014 amateur draft, the South Carolina native made 23 big-league starts with Oakland between the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

He posted a 5.91 ERA and 5.67 FIP over 115 2/3 total innings of work in those outings before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2018.

Since going under the knife, Gossett may have missed the remainder of 2018 and the entirety of 2019, but he did make five starts for the Mesa Solar Sox in last year’s Arizona Fall League.

In those five starts, the 6-foot, 185 lb. hurler yielded just four earned runs on 10 hits and three walks to go along with 12 strikeouts over 14 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 2.57 and .204 batting average against.

Following that impressive showing in the desert, Gossett opened up the shortened 2020 campaign on the Athletics’ 40-man roster and at the team’s alternate training site in San Jose. But, the once-highly touted pitching prospect was designated for assignment and subsequently released in late July.

According to The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard, Gossett “is healthy and ready for a full season in 2021.”

If anything, Gossett could provide intriguing starting rotation depth to a Red Sox team in need of it at the moment.

Working primarily with a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, curveball, and sinker, the former A’s righty owns a lifetime 3.36 ERA over 23 appearances (21 starts) and 128 2/3 innings spanning parts of three seasons, as noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

With that in mind, Gossett could begin the 2021 season in Triple-A Worcester’s rotation depending on how well he performs in spring training. We will have to wait and see on that.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed — Gossett included — or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett

Red Sox should consider claiming former Indians outfielder Greg Allen off waivers

So far this offseason, the Red Sox have done a fine job in bolstering their outfield depth.

Slugging outfielder Hunter Renfroe signed a one-year deal with the club last month, while the likes of Cesar Puello and Michael Gettys have been signed to minor-league contracts for 2021.

That being said, you can never have enough depth at any position, and it just so happens an intriguing outfielder technically became available earlier this week. That outfielder’s name? Greg Allen.

The 27-year-old was designated for assignment by the Padres on Thursday in order for the club to make room on its 40-man roster for South Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim.

With San Diego this past season, Allen appeared in just one game after being part of the trade that sent Mike Clevinger from the Indians to the Friars in late August.

Prior to that blockbuster trade, Allen spent parts of four major-league seasons with the Tribe starting in 2017, accruing a .239/.295/.344 slash line to go along with eight home runs, 57 RBI, and 31 stolen bases over 220 total games played.

Seven of those 220 games have come at Fenway Park, where Allen owns a career-best 1.249 OPS over 27 plate appearances.

In addition to providing speed on the base paths, the California native has proven to be a capable major-league defender who can play all three outfield positions adequately.

Looking back at the 2019 campaign, Allen posted a positive-six defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating of 5.0 while logging 570 1/3 innings — 360 2/3 in left, 132 2/3 in center, 77 in right — in the Indians outfield.

He also ranked sixth among major-league left fielders in sprint speed (29 feet per second) and 44th among major-league outfielders in outs above average (3) in 2019, per Statcast.

Having presented all this information, the Red Sox could very well look into adding Allen to their outfield mix despite the former top prospect’s light-hitting ways.

It’s a scenario that is reminiscent of Christian Arroyo’s over the summer.

Boston claimed the infielder off waivers from the Indians on August 13, promptly designated him for assignment a week later, and then outrighted him on August 23 before purchasing his contract on September 8.

It’s a unique — and somewhat risky — way to go about adding depth, but the Sox managed to do it with Arroyo, who is out of minor-league options, as is the case with Allen.

On top of that, trying to stash Allen away would address an offseason need by bolstering Boston’s outfield defense. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom conveyed this school of thought last month in the wake of the Renfroe signing.

“I always talk about depth and it’s so important, but I do think we still have room to add without straining our roster,” Bloom said when speaking with reporters via Zoom. “The good thing here is we have a number of outfielders who are all good enough athletes to play center field. But we still also have room to augment that with a center fielder or a corner outfielder. So we now have options and different paths we can take. But it would be nice to increase our depth as we go forward.”

Bringing on Allen seems like a potentially sound way for Bloom and Co. to increase the Red Sox’ depth going forward. But, another roster move would be required in order for that to happen.

This is the case because the club’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity.

To make it clear, this is just a suggestion. Allen won’t clear waivers until late next week, and I’m assuming he doesn’t have enough service time to refuse an outright assignment to the minors given the fact he isn’t supposed to reach free agency until the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Red Sox gain flexibility, versatility in signing right-hander Matt Andriese

In signing right-hander Matt Andriese to a one-year deal on Wednesday, the Red Sox acquired a versatile pitcher who is both capable and willing to do whatever is asked of him.

Whether that means working as a starter or reliever has yet to be determined, but the 31-year-old is ready for whichever role is thrown his way next season.

“I signed with the Red Sox for the opportunity to [work out of the bullpen and start],” Andriese said when speaking with reporters via Zoom. “I have a lot of flexibility in my career. I’ve started lots of games and I’ve come out of the bullpen more recently but can be given the opportunity to start. The Red Sox are obviously trying to get more starters, too. But, I think my flexibility and my role will be: I’m going to compete for a starting spot but I know that being in the bullpen is also an option to help the team.”

While with the Angels this past season, Andriese was used strictly as a reliever (his one start lasted 1 2/3 innings). In 15 appearances out of the Los Angeles bullpen, the California native proved to be effective by posting a 3.56 ERA and .559 against over 30 1/3 innings of work. The lengths of his outings ranged from 2/3 of an inning all the way to 5 2/3 innings.

The year prior, Andriese was again used strictly out of the bullpen by the Diamondbacks. But, even though it has been a while since he has operated as a starter, the former third-round draft pick has not wavered in his approach.

“I haven’t really changed much. I’ve kind of fine-tuned different pitches,” said Andriese. “I think using all my pitches in a starting role probably benefits me more. The last two, three years when I was strictly a reliever, I relied heavily on my fastball and changeup — my best pitch is my changeup — but I think getting back to using all four of my pitches, my curveball, slider, cutter, two-seam. [By] just mixing and matching better, I’ll be able to go deeper into games, throw more innings.

“Every spring trainer, I build up as a starter,” he continued. “I build up to five, six innings. Even this year in Anaheim, I was locked in to be the fifth starter and then we had some bullpen issues over there and we needed some coverage in the bullpen. I think just my flexibility allows a lot of teams to mix and match my types of roles.”

The flexibility mentioned by Andriese here was perhaps on display best during his tenure with the Rays from Opening Day 2015 through July 2018. Of the 99 appearances he made with Tampa Bay over that span, the UC Riverside product was used as a starter more than 48% of the time.

While he did spend a good chunk of his career to this point with the Rays after getting dealt from the Padres in 2014, Andriese formed a relationship with Chaim Bloom, who is now chief baseball officer for the Red Sox. The two got along well and that connection aided in the process that saw the veteran righty land with Boston on Wednesday.

“It was very important,” Andriese said when asked about how important Bloom’s role was in his signing with the Sox. “The familiarity with him and everything like that. It was easy to talk to him and we kind of cut right to the chase, didn’t have to deal with any other stuff. He knows me well and I think that will help us going forward.”

Even with his and Bloom’s relationship in mind, Andriese’s role with the Red Sox for 2021 has yet to be clearly defined. More will likely become clear at the onset of spring training come February.

In the meantime, the 6-foot-2, 215 lb. right-hander certainly looks like a fine addition as a potential swingman for the price the Red Sox paid.

The contract Andriese signed on Wednesday includes a club option for 2022 and is worth $2.1 million in guaranteed money, though different incentives and escalators based off number of innings pitched could increase that sum up to $7.35 million through 2022.

Former Red Sox catcher Deivy Grullón claimed off waivers by Reds

Before signing right-hander Matt Andriese to a one-year deal on Wednesday, the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, which at the time was at full capacity.

Well, it turns out they accomplished this by placing catcher Deivy Grullon on waivers recently, and he was claimed off waivers by the Reds on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old backstop appeared in just one game for Boston this past season after getting picked up off waivers from the Phillies in early September.

In that one game, which came against Philadelphia in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader on September 8, the Dominican national went 1-for-3 at the plate with one walk, one RBI, and one strikeout while catching all seven innings.

Grullon was subsequently optioned back down to the alternate training site the following day, where he spent the rest of the season before returning to the Dominican Republic to play for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican winter league.

Since reporting back home, Grullon has struggled a bit on both sides of the ball, as noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

With the Reds, Grullon will presumably slide behind Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson in terms of catching depth. He has two minor-league options remaining on his current contract.

As for how this affects the Red Sox, catching prospect Connor Wong is now without a doubt the No. 3 backstop on Boston’s 40-man roster behind Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki.

The 24-year-old was added to the 40-man in late November and is projected to begin the 2021 season with Triple-A Worcester.

Red Sox re-sign outfielder César Puello to minor-league contract, per report

The Red Sox have re-signed outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. It’s likely this contract includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Puello, 29, appeared in five games — two in left field, three in right — for Boston this past season after initially inking a minor-league pact with the club in February. He previously spent time with the Angels, Rays, and Marlins after making his big-league debut with Los Angeles in 2017.

In those five contests in 2020, the Dominican national went 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate with one run scored, two walks drawn, and two strikeouts from September 19 through September 27. He was outrighted from Boston’s 40-man roster on October 28

Prior to having his contract purchased in late September, Puello was added to the Sox’ 60-man player pool in late June and took part in workouts at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket throughout the summer.

Now that he is back with the organization, Puello will once again look to provide valuable outfield depth for a club in need of it at the moment. Expect him to start the 2021 minor-league campaign with Triple-A Worcester.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league contracts (h/t SoxProspects.com):

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson

Red Sox remove utilityman Yairo Muñoz from 40-man roster, outright him to Triple-A

The Red Sox have outrighted utilityman Yairo Munoz to Triple-A Pawtucket, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Munoz, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league pact with Boston back in late March following his release from the St. Louis Cardinals earlier that month.

After being added to the club’s 60-man player pool in July, the Dominican Republic native eventually had his contract purchased and was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on August 31 in the wake of the trade deadline.

In a brief stint with Boston, Munoz impressed, going 15-for-45 (.333) at the plate with one home run, four RBI, and two stolen bases over 12 games played before hitting the injured list due to a lower back strain on September 19. The 5-foot-11 right-handed hitter also proved he could play both corner outfield positions to some degree in addition to his abilities as a versatile infielder.

With Munoz, who does have one minor-league option remaining, being outrighted, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players, which holds some significance as the 2020 Rule 5 Draft is this Thursday.

On another note, as indicated by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the reason why ‘Triple-A Pawtucket’ has not yet been updated to ‘Triple-A Worcester’ is likely because the team has not moved offices yet. So there’s that.

Could Red Sox trade Bobby Dalbec in order to upgrade pitching staff?

Could the Red Sox trade power-hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec sometime between now and next season’s trade deadline?

After putting up ridiculous home run numbers in his inaugural season with Boston this year, Dalbec being dealt seems unlikely. However, in a recent article for MLB.com, MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Mike Rosenbaum identified the 25-year-old as a prospect the Sox could trade:

Dalbec’s power, arm and third-base defense are assets, and he homered eight times in 80 at-bats during his big league debut this summer. He could be part of the Red Sox’s future, but he’s also blocked by Rafael Devers at third base and could be used to acquire some much-needed pitching.

Called up from the alternate training site in late August, Dalbec burst onto the scene at the major-league level almost immediately. In 23 games played, the former fourth-round draft pick slashed .263/.359/.600 (152 wRC+) to go along with eight home runs and 16 RBI over 92 plate appearances. In terms of isolated power (.338), he was the Sox’ most dangerous hitter from August 30 through the end of September, per FanGraphs.

All that being said, Dalbec’s success didn’t come without its deterrents. The University of Arizona product punched out 39 times in his 92 plate appearances (42.4 K%), good for the highest strikeout rate among qualified major-league rookies. He still managed to boast a .359 on-base percentage despite all the swings-and-misses, but those strikeout numbers are nonetheless still concerning.

Seeing how this was his first taste of Major League Baseball, the Red Sox could sell high on Dalbec this winter if they so choose. As mentioned in the excerpt above, the right-handed hitting infielde is naturally a third baseman, and he is currently blocked at that position by Rafael Devers, hence the move over to first base.

Of course, one could make the argument that Dalbec established himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman moving forward thanks to what he did at the plate this past season.

With Dalbec, there comes roster flexibility as well, or more specifically, the ability to play both corner infield positions at a quality level defensively. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said as much about Dalbec last month.

“With Bobby, we want to be able to maintain his ability to play both [corner infield] positions,” said Bloom. “I think the versatility is going to be great for him. That could be important on day one or it could be important in a year or two years. The fact that he is capable [of playing third] is huge. You never want somebody who has the ability to play other positions to be pigeonholed at first base.”

It would appear that Bloom is high on Dalbec, who will enter the 2021 season looking to graduate from his top prospect status.

The Red Sox may be a team in need of starting pitching and bullpen help, that much is true. But is it worth subtracting from the major-league roster in order to make that happen? Is filling one hole in the club’s roster makeup worth creating another one?

Sure, there are options, internal and external, who could take Dalbec’s place and play first base for the Sox. However, as the team enters the next stage of its rebuild/transition process under Bloom, Dalbec should be the primary guy at that position for 2021 and maybe even beyond.

Red Sox, Matt Barnes talked contract extension earlier this year prior to COVID-19 shutdown

Before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced Major League Baseball to shut down in March, the Red Sox and right-handed reliever Matt Barnes apparently talked about a potential contract extension.

Speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the 30-year-old hurler expressed his desire to remain with the organization he began his professional career with back in 2011.

“I’ve expressed my interest to the front office and ownership of wanting to stay in Boston for the rest of my career,” Barnes said. “We had some conversations about a longer relationship moving forward. And then COVID hit and there were so many things going on with the season shut down and the health and safety, things kind of got put on hold a little bit.”

The only member of the Sox’ 2011 draft class who is still currently with the club, the former first-round pick is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he posted a 4.30 ERA and 4.01 xFIP over 24 appearances and 23 innings pitched.

On the surface, those are not exactly spectacular results. But, upon closer inspection, Barnes turned things around for the better in September by allowing just three runs over 10 innings of work spanning his final 11 outings of the year. He did that while limiting opposing hitters to a .556 OPS against while striking out nearly 37% of the batters he faced.

With those improved numbers in mind, the Sox signed Barnes to a $4.5 million contract earlier this week for the upcoming 2021 season, the UCONN product’s final season under team control before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter.

“There had been some discussions on trying to make something work moving forward beyond next season,” Barnes told Speier. “We’ll see if there’s more dialogue going forward. We’re not going to force anything, but some discussions have been had.”

A client of ISE Baseball, Barnes has been one of the more durable relievers in the American League in his time with the Red Sox, appearing in 62 or more games for three straight seasons (2016-2019).

Despite his shortcomings, such as untimely control issues which leads to in uptick in walks at times, the flamethrower has without a doubt proven he has the “ability to go out there and be able to take the ball every single day.”

That being said, if Barnes puts together another solid effort in 2021, he will presumably have a fair number of suitors in need of bullpen help come this time next year.

As things currently stand, Barnes, as noted by Speier, is on the cusp of surpassing the likes of Cy Young, Ellis Kinder, Roger Clemens, and Derek Lowe in all-time appearances with the Red Sox (325).

Barnes would have the chance to move up that list even more if he stayed in Boston beyond in 2020, which, of course, is something he would be more than happy to do.

“It’s the only place where I’ve played,” said Barnes. “It’s a first-class organization. I’d love to spend the rest of my career here.”