The Red Sox have officially released veteran reliever Ryan Brasier, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.
Brasier was designated for assignment following last Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the Cardinals at Fenway Park in which he gave up three runs over a career-high 2 1/3 innings. The 35-year-old right-hander is now free to sign elsewhere as a free agent after clearing waivers while the Red Sox remain on the hook for the remainder of his $2 million salary this year.
In 20 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, Brasier struggled to a 7.29 ERA and 4.40 FIP with 18 strikeouts to nine walks across 21 innings pitched. He lost his spot on Boston’s active roster when left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez was reinstated from the injured list last Monday.
“Honestly, a new start might not be bad,” Brasier told reporters last Sunday night. “Obviously getting to play at Fenway every day is a dream come true. Two parks you want to play at growing up are Yankee Stadium and Fenway. And I got to do both a lot. So grateful. It sucks obviously but new start.”
Brasier first joined the Red Sox organization as a minor-league free agent shortly before the start of the 2018 season. After spending the previous year pitching for the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the righty impressed in spring training and was called up by Boston for the first time that July.
Having gone nearly five years between big-league appearances, Brasier proved to be a major contributor out of the bullpen for the Red Sox during their historic World Series run. He compiled a 1.60 ERA in the regular season and allowed just one earned run over nine postseason outings (8 2/3 innings) in his first taste of October baseball.
After pitching to a 4.57 ERA from 2019-2020, Brasier dealt with a plethora of injuries in 2021 and did not make his season debut until early September. He was effective down the stretch and compiled a 1.50 ERA in 13 outings (12 innings), but that success did not carry over into the 2022 campaign.
Instead, Brasier posted a 5.78 ERA over a team-high 68 relief appearances (62 1/3 innings). Because he ended the season on a strong note, though, Brasier kept his roster spot through the winter and made his fourth career Opening Day roster this spring. While the Red Sox may have been optimistic about Brasier’s outlook heading into the 2023 season, things changed relatively quickly.
To go along with a 7.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched this year, Brasier was also hit hard. According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot, 227-pound hurler currently ranks in the fifth percentile in average exit velocity, the second percentile in hard hit rate and the eighth percentile in expected batting average.
Even with those discouraging peripherals in mind, it would not be surprising if Brasier were to land with a new team in need of experienced bullpen depth in the coming days or weeks. If Brasier were to sign elsewhere, his new team would only be responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary.
“A couple tweaks, maybe somebody sees something that they think they can build on,” Brasier said of potential suitors. “That’s all you can really ask for.”
Brasier, who turns 36 in August, forged a 4.55 ERA and 3.79 FIP with 211 strikeouts to 65 walks in 222 career appearances (one start) spanning 209 2/3 innings of work in a Red Sox uniform. He ranks 37th on the club’s all-time list for appearances.
With Brasier’s release, Chris Sale and Rafael Devers are now the only two players remaining from Boston’s 2018 championship team.
(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)