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.

 

Red Sox’ Second-Ranked Prospect Bobby Dalbec Homers in Second Consecutive Game for Triple-A Pawtucket

For the second time since he was promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket back on August 3rd, Red Sox first base prospect Bobby Dalbec has homered in back-to-back games for the PawSox.

The 24-year-old first accomplished the feat on August 9th and 10th, when he went deep against the Toledo Mud Hens on back-to-back nights for his first and second career Triple-A homers.

Fast forward a little more than two weeks, and Dalbec has done the same once more, crushing his fourth and fifth big flies of the International League season and 24th and 25th of the year overall in his last two games against the Buffalo Bisons.

The most recent of those homers came in impressive fashion on Sunday afternoon, when with no outs and a runner at first in the top half of the second, Dalbec took top Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Nate Pearson deep to right field for a two-run blast to get his side on the board.

Before Sunday, Pearson had yielded just six homers in his first 90 2/3 innings pitched across three minor-league levels this season.

Dalbec also came through with an RBI single in the eighth inning of Sunday’s contest that gave Pawtucket a 3-2 lead over Buffalo, but they eventually dropped the finale of that three-game series by a final score of 4-3 in 11 innings.

In 21 games with the PawSox this month, Dalbec, a former fourth round pick in 2016 out of the University of Arizona, is slashing .295/.337/.538 with those five home runs and 11 RBI through 86 plate appearances. He is ranked as Boston’s number-two prospect behind only Triston Casas, per MLB.com.

With major league rosters set to expand at the beginning of next month, it will be worth watching to see if the Red Sox make a move to add Dalbec to their 40-man roster in order to get a look at him at the big league level before the 2019 season ends.

Red Sox Recall Josh Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket, Option Travis Lakins in Corresponding Move

Before kicking off a two-game interleague series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the Red Sox announced that right-hander Josh Smith had been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Travis Lakins was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transaction official earlier Tuesday.

Smith will be making sixth stint with Boston this season and first since being optioned down to Pawtucket on August 4th.

In his most recent stretch with the PawSox, the 32-year-old allowed eight earned runs on 15 hits over two starts and nine innings pitched.

With the Sox this year, Smith has been used as both a starter and reliever, posting a 4.84 ERA and .283 batting average against through 11 appearances (two starts) and 22 1/3 total innings of work.

Per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox’ Smith is up to provide some length out of the bullpen in the event that Tuesday’s starter Brian Johnson does not pitch deep into the game.

On the other side of this move, Travis Lakins was sent back down to Pawtucket eight days after being recalled for his fourth big league stint of 2019.

In those eight days with Boston, the 25-year-old yielded one unearned run in two relief appearances and four total innings pitched against the Baltimore Orioles this past weekend.

On the 2019 season as a whole, Lakins owns an ERA of 4.05 and batting average against of 2.45 through nine appearances and 13 1/3 innings with the Red Sox.