Red Sox agree to minor-league deal with catcher Jorge Alfaro

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with catcher Jorge Alfaro, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Alfaro, 29, spent the 2022 season with the Padres and batted .246/.285/.383 with 14 doubles, seven home runs, 40 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 11 walks, and 98 strikeouts in 82 games (274 plate appearances) before being non-tendered in November. He also threw out five of 30 possible base stealers while splitting time behind the plate with Austin Nola and Luis Campusano.

A native of Colombia, Alfaro originally signed with the Rangers as a highly-touted international free agent in 2010. Five years later, he was dealt to the Phillies as part of a blockbuster trade that sent Cole Hamels from Philadelphia to Texas.

Alfaro broke in with the Phillies the following September and appeared in a total of 143 games over three seasons with the club before being involved in another significant trade. In February 2019, the Marlins acquired Alfaro and two other players from Philadelphia in exchange for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

In parts of three seasons with Miami, the right-handed hitting Alfaro slashed .252/.298/.386 with 25 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 78 runs scored across 253 total games (876 plate appearances). The Marlins traded Alfaro to the Padres for cash considerations following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.

So, for his big-league career, Alfaro is a lifetime .256/.305/.396 hitter with 67 doubles, four triples, 47 homers, 194 runs driven in, 150 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 70 walks, and 566 strikeouts in 478 games (1,658 plate appearances) between the Phillies, Marlins, and Padres. He has traditionally hit the ball hard (averaged an exit velocity of 89.4 mph last year) but he has done so while posting a career 34.1 percent strikeout rate and measly 4.2 percent walk rate.

Defensively, Alfaro has logged over 3,340 innings at catcher since debuting for Philadelphia in 2016. In that time frame, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound backstop has accrued negative-17 defensive runs saved and has graded poorly in terms of pitch framing. While his arm strength and pop time are well-regarded, his receiving abilities leave much to be desired.

Alfaro, who turns 30 in June, will receive a base salary of $2 million if he makes Boston’s big-league roster. He also has multiple opt-outs in his deal, meaning he can return to free agency if he is not called up by June 1 or July 1 at the latest, per Cotillo.

On paper, Alfaro provides the Red Sox with experienced catching depth. In reality, though, he should have a chance to compete with Reese McGuire and Connor Wong — who also hits from the right side of the plate — for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster once spring training begins next month.

As noted by Cotillo, Wong has minor-league options remaining and can therefore be moved freely between Triple-A Worcester and Boston this coming season. Alfaro, on the other hand, can no longer be optioned to the minor-leagues since he already has more than five years of major-league service time under his belt.

All things considered, the addition of Alfaro should make for an even more interesting spring training in Fort Myers. In the meantime, Alfaro has enjoyed a productive offseason playing for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League. He came into play Monday slashing .383/.471/.633 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 16 postseason games for the Tigres, who are now just two wins away from clinching the LIDOM title.

(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Pedro Castellanos signs minor-league deal with Padres

Former Red Sox prospect Pedro Castellanos has signed a minor-league contract with the Padres, per the MiLB.com transactions log.

Castellanos, 25, originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015. The Carora native received a modest $5,000 signing bonus and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following June.

After earning Red Sox Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year honors in 2016, Castellanos made the jump to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League (now the Florida Complex League) in 2017. From there, the first baseman/outfielder spent the entirety of the 2018 season in Greenville and the entirety of the 2019 season in Salem, where he was named a Carolina League All-Star.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing Minor League Baseball to cancel its 2020 campaign, Castellanos was unable to make the jump to Double-A until 2021. In 87 games with the Portland Sea Dogs that season, the right-handed hitter batted .289/.364/.471 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs over 87 games as he made starts at all three outfield positions.

Castellanos returned to Portland for the start of the 2022 season but got off to a rough start. Coming into play on May 3, he was hitting just .116 (8-for-69) with one homer and eight RBIs through his first 18 games. From that point forward, though, Castellanos turned a corner offensively and proceeded to slash a stout .345/.360/.561 with 16 doubles, seven home runs, 34 RBIs, and 20 runs scored over his next 43 games (178 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to Triple-A Worcester in late June.

In 60 games with the WooSox, Castellanos forged a .269/.307/.397 slash line to go along with 10 doubles, two triples, five homers, 29 runs driven in, 31 runs scored, one stolen base, seven walks, and 47 strikeouts across 241 trips to the plate. The 6-foot-3, 244-pounder put up those numbers while logging 314 1/3 innings at first base, 129 innings in right field, and seven innings in left field.

While he was never truly regarded as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system (topped out at No. 27 on Baseball America’s rankings in 2019), Castellanos did prove to be a quality hitter — as evidenced by his career .294 batting average — during his seven years as a member of the Red Sox organization.

Castellanos, who does not turn 26 until December, will now look to break in at the big-league level with the Padres. He has technically been assigned to San Diego’s Double-A Affiliate in San Antonio, but it would not be all that surprising if he began the 2023 season at Triple-A El Paso.

In the meantime, Castellanos has been playing winter ball for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. He slashed .289/.344/.436 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 46 regular season games for the Cardenales, who are currently in that league’s playoffs.

(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox release Eric Hosmer

The Red Sox have officially released first baseman Eric Hosmer, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Hosmer, 33, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals.

Boston originally acquired Hosmer — as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson — from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with a boost at first base, but he was limited to just 14 games with the club due to low back inflammation that kept him sidelined from late August until early October. During that time, top prospect Triston Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well enough to establish himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman heading into the 2023 season.

As chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo over the weekend, the Red Sox designated Hosmer for assignment with Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — at the forefront of their future plans.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” Bloom said. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

According to Cotillo, the Red Sox “worked hard” to trade Hosmer in recent weeks but were ultimately unable to find a partner. Hosmer opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month, so the acquiring team would be getting three years of control. Once he was designated for assignment, it became a foregone conclusion that Hosmer would be released since the team that claimed him would then be on the hook for the aforementioned last three years of his deal.

Now that he has cleared waivers and has been cut loose by the Red Sox, Hosmer — who is represented by Scott Boras — is free to sign elsewhere. Per Cotillo, whichever club signs Hosmer will only be responsible for the league minimum salary next year while the Padres pick up the rest of the tab.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts bids farewell to Red Sox fans on Instagram: ‘Thank you Boston. Until we meet again’

Exactly 10 days after leaving the Red Sox for the Padres in free agency, Xander Bogaerts took to Instagram on Monday morning to reflect on his time in Boston and send thanks to the fans of the organization he began his career with.

“Dear Red Sox Nation – Thank you for an incredible ride (and what a ride it was)!” Bogaerts wrote. ” It was an honor to wear the Red Sox uniform and play in front of the best and most knowledgeable fans in baseball. There were some highs and lows but two World Series trophies during my time to celebrate with you all was absolutely incredible. Thank you to the Red Sox for taking a chance on a young kid from the island of Aruba.

“Thank you to all the coaches, athletic trainers, managers and front office folks who I have crossed paths with over the course of 14 years,” he continued. “Every single one of you impacted my life in more ways than one and helped me develop into the player I am today. And lastly, to every player that took the field with me in a Red Sox uniform, I say thank you. Thank you for being great teammates and friends. So many of you taught me what it means to be a professional on the field and off the field. Thank you Boston. Until we meet again!”

Bogaerts, 30, originally signed with the Red Sox for $410,000 as an international free agent coming out of Aruba in August 2009. The Oranjestad native made his major-league debut four years later and went on to become arguably the most prolific shortstop in franchise history.

In 1,264 career games with the Red Sox, Bogaerts batted .292/.356/.458 with 308 doubles, 15 triples, 156 home runs, 683 RBIs, 752 runs scored, and 74 stolen bases. His 1,192 appearances at shortstop during that stretch are the most in team history. He made four All-Star teams, won five Silver Slugger Awards, and won two World Series titles over the course of 10 seasons in Boston.

Despite accomplishing so much and establishing himself as a fan favorite, Bogaerts and the Red Sox were unable to come to terms on a new contract. That resulted in Bogaerts, who is represented by Scott Boras, agreeing to a massive 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres on the final day of the Winter Meetings earlier this month.

In a conversation with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last week, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained that while Bogaerts’ decision to leave for San Diego was not necessarily surprising, it was still tough to take in.

“He’s a really important person to everyone here and he’s important to the organization. From that standpoint, the fact he’s not going to be here anymore is hard,” Bloom said. “And that’s sad. I think anybody who sugarcoats that is being dishonest. Just because there are business decisions everyone has to make doesn’t mean that the emotional side or the personal side is any less.”

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Eric Hosmer for assignment, likely ending first baseman’s time in Boston after just 14 games

After acquiring right-handed reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals on Friday night, the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster. They did so by designating veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer for assignment.

Hosmer was acquired from the Padres (with minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August. The 33-year-old was initially going to be traded to the Nationals as part of the package that netted the Padres Juan Soto and Josh Bell, but he exercised his limited no-trade clause and Luke Voit was sent in his place.

The Red Sox then jumped in on the opportunity to nab Hosmer, who signed off on the move. As part of the four-player swap, Boston would only owe Hosmer the league minimum while San Diego would be responsible for the rest of his contract.

To that point in the season, the Red Sox had gotten little production out of their first basemen, namely Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero. Hosmer, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, was brought in to provide some stability at the position. He made his Boston debut on Aug. 4 and batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts in his first 12 games (45 plate appearances) with the club before hitting the injured list with low back inflammation on Aug. 23.

While Hosmer was sidelined, the Red Sox called up top first-base prospect Triston Casas from Triple-A Worcester in early September. The 22-year-old impressed to some degree down the stretch, as he slashed .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 27 games (95 plate appearances). Hosmer, on the other hand, returned from the injured list in early October and went 2-for-5 (.400) in two games against the Rays before season’s end.

The Red Sox entered the offseason with four first basemen on their 40-man roster (or five if you include Christian Arroyo). Last month, they did not tender a contract to Cordero, who has since signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles. They have also made Dalbec available in trade talks. Hosmer unsurprisingly opted into the final three years and $39 million of the eight-year, $144 million deal he originally received from the Padres in February 2018. Casas injured himself in winter ball but projects to be the team’s Opening Day first baseman in 2023.

Both Casas and Hosmer hit from the left side of the plate and primarily play first base, so rostering the two of them would have been difficult due to their redundancy. The Red Sox clearly view Casas — who turns 23 in January — as their first baseman of the future while Hosmer was viewed as more of an insurance policy. Keeping Hosmer on the roster was not impossible, but the kind of offensive production he has provided of late does not make him an ideal designated hitter candidate, either.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo on Friday night. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

Instead of holding onto Hosmer going into the spring, the Red Sox — as explained by Bloom— elected to cut bait now. Boston now has the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hosmer, who can reject any move since he gained a full no-trade clause after being dealt by the Padres. Though Hosmer, who turns 34 in October, is slated to earn $13 million per year over the next three years, he can be had for the major-league minimum since San Diego remains on the hook for the bulk of the $39 million that is still owed to him. That in itself could make the former All-Star appealing to other teams in need of an experienced first baseman. If all else fails, Bloom and Co. could simply elect to release Hosmer, which would allow him to hit the open market and sign elsewhere as a free agent.

With Hosmer out of the picture, the Red Sox now seem poised to pursue a right-handed hitting corner infielder who could complement Casas at first base and would be an upgrade over Dalbec, who posted a .652 OPS in 117 games this past season.

Hosmer, for what it’s worth, becomes the third player Boston has designated for assignment this week, joining the likes of infielder/outfielder Hoy Park (who has since been traded to the Braves) and infielder Jeter Downs, who will likely get traded to or be claimed by another team in the coming days.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leaves Red Sox, agrees to 11-year, $280 million deal with Padres

Former Red Sox shortstop has agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman. The deal does not include any opt-out clauses or team options, though it does come with a full no-trade clause, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

Bogaerts, 30, became a free agent last month after opting out of the final three years and $60 million of the extension he signed in April 2019. The Red Sox had extended Bogaerts a qualifying offer (which he declined), so they will receive a compensatory pick that falls between the fourth and fifth round of next year’s draft after exceeding the luxury tax threshold in 2022. The Padres, on the other hand, will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks since they, too, spent past the threshold. They will also have their international signing bonus pool reduced by $1 million.

By agreeing to a monstrous contract with the Padres, Bogaerts puts an end to an impressive tenure with Boston. The Red Sox originally signed Bogaerts for $410,000 as an international free agent coming out of Aruba in 2009. The Oranjestad native made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year and quickly emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the organization.

After rising through the ranks in the minor-leagues, Bogaerts was called up by the Red Sox for the first time on August 20, 2013. At just 21 years old, Bogaerts helped Boston in winning its first World Series title at Fenway Park since 1918. Bogaerts endured a sophomore slump of sorts in 2014 but bounced back in 2015 by winning his first Silver Slugger Award. He repeated as a Silver Slugger Award in 2016 while also making his first All-Star team. In 2017, Bogaerts’ production took a dip due to a right hand injury.

Bogaerts broke out in a big way in 2018, which was also Alex Cora’s first year at the helm in Boston. The right-handed hitting infielder clubbed a then-career best 23 home runs and collected 103 RBIs en route to finishing 13th in American League MVP voting and winning another World Series. The following April, he inked a six-year, $120 million contract extension to remain with the Sox. His agent, Scott Boras, subsequently negotiated an opt-out clause that would allow Bogaerts to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

For the next three seasons, Bogaerts continuously ascended and put himself in the conversation for the top shortstop in the game. After another stellar offensive campaign in 2021, it became apparent that Bogaerts was going to opt out as long as he remained healthy.

Knowing this, the Red Sox attempted to re-sign Bogaerts to another extension this spring. Rather than make a respectable offer, though, Boston lowballed Bogaerts with a four-year, $90 million offer that effectively tacked on an additional year and $30 million in salary to the remainder of his contract. Bogaerts expectedly rejected the offer, and the two sides did not talk at all during the regular season.

Bogaerts, for his part, batted .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs over 150 games this season while playing some of the best defense of his career at shortstop. From the time the regular season ended in early October until free agency opened in November, the Red Sox were able to exclusively negotiate with Bogaerts, yet they could not come close to an agreement.

As a result of hitting the open market for the first time in his career, Bogaerts drew widespread interest from a number of teams this offseason. On multiple occasions, Red Sox officials described retaining Bogaerts as the club’s No. 1 priority.

When the Winter Meetings commenced in San Diego earlier this week, there seemed to be a growing sense of optimism that the Sox would be able to hammer out a deal with Bogaerts. On Wednesday morning, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported that the two sides had met and that there was momentum towards an agreement. It was only hours later that Heyman broke news of Bogaerts coming to terms with the Padres.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Boston’s final offer to Bogaerts was in the range of $160 million over six years. While the average annual value of that proposal ($27 million) surpassed the $25.5 million per year Bogaerts will be receiving from San Diego, the difference in the number of guaranteed seasons led to a $120 million gap between the two offers.

Some within Bogaerts’ camp believed the Sox would raise their offer. Regardless of that though, it has become apparent that Boston was not comfortable paying Bogaerts a high salary into his late thirties. The Padres, meanwhile, have committed a whopping $280 million to Bogaerts through his age-40 season.

All told, Bogaerts certainly left his mark on the Red Sox in his 14 years with the organization. He played 1,264 games for Boston, which are the 15th-most in team history. His 1,192 appearances at shortstop are also the most in team history. In total, Bogaerts slashed .292/.356/.458 with 156 home runs and 683 RBIs across 1,264 games in a Red Sox uniform. He won two World Series titles, was named to four American league All-Star teams, and won five Silver Slugger Awards in his first 10 seasons as a big-leaguer.

Bogaerts will take that impressive resume out west to San Diego. The Padres, under general manager A.J. Preller, have been aggressive in free agency this winter and finally landed the star they coveted in Bogaerts. Bogaerts will join a talented core in San Diego that includes Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres reached the National League Championship Series this fall and came up three wins short of a World Series berth.

While the Padres got their guy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox will now have to look elsewhere when it comes to filling the void at shortstop left behind by Bogaerts. Speculation within the industry would seem to suggest that in-house options such as Trevor Story or Enrique Hernandez could overtake those responsibilities. Bloom and Co. could also look to free agency and pursue the likes of Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson to take over for Bogaerts.

With Bogaerts gone, the Red Sox should now turn their attention to star third baseman Rafael Devers, who is under club control for one more season and will be a free agent at this time next winter.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Could Red Sox explore a trade for Padres catcher Austin Nola?

Could the Red Sox explore a trade for Padres catcher Austin Nola this offseason?

In Reese McGuire and Connor Wong, the Sox already have two big-league caliber catchers under club control for 2023. But that should not stop them from looking into external additions at the position. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said as much when speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) at the ongoing GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“It’s a hard spot to find one guy you can trust, much less more than one,” Bloom said. “In any given winter, there’s only a handful of players on the free agent market who you see as really good fits at that position. So the trade market is another avenue. I would say that we don’t think we’ll be looking at a huge group of possibilities there, but there are some possibilities through both avenues.”

According to Speier, the Sox “have cast a wide net in trade talks about catchers” over the last two years. They had conversations with the Athletics pertaining to Sean Murphy ahead of this year’s trade deadline that did not pan out. They “also have discussed other catchers who are heralded for their defense,” such as Nola.

Like Murphy, Nola is under team control for three more years. He is also nearly five years older than Murphy and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn significantly less than him in 2023. Murphy is slated to receive $3.5 million in his first year of arbitration while Nola is projected for $2.2 million.

Nola, who turns 33 in December, appeared in a career-high 110 games for the Padres this season. The right-handed hitter batted .251/.321/.329 with 15 doubles, four home runs, 40 RBIs, 40 runs scored, two stolen bases, 34 walks, and 60 strikeouts across 397 trips to the plate.

From behind the plate, Nola logged 834 2/3 innings at catcher and threw out eight of 64 base stealers. Among the 15 catchers who caught at least 800 innings, Nola ranked 13th in Defensive Runs Saved (-6), 14th in Catcher Framing (-8.3), and 14th in Defense (-5.2), per FanGraphs. While those metrics are not all that encouraging, the 6-foot, 197-pounder has proven to be a better defender in the past, especially when it comes to pitch framing.

Originally selected by the Marlins in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Louisiana State University, Nola initially came up through Miami’s farm system as a shortstop not begin catching at the professional level until he was in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

The Marlins outrighted and released Nola at the conclusion of the 2018 season. The Baton Rouge native then inked a minor-league deal with the Mariners and finally made his major-league debut in 2019 at the age of 27. The following August, Nola was dealt to the Padres in a trade that involved six other players.

After an array of injuries limited him to just 56 games in his first full season with San Diego, Nola emerged as the Padres’ starting catcher in 2022 thanks in part to the way he handled their pitching staff in a run to the National League Championship Series.

The Padres ultimately came up short against Nola’s younger brother, Aaron, and the rest of the Phillies. Under the direction of president of baseball operations A.J. Preller, the Friars could elect to shake things up at catcher this winter.

In addition to Nola, San Diego has two other major-league caliber catchers on its roster in Jorge Alfaro and Luis Campusano. Alfaro posted a .667 OPS this season and is a non-tender candidate. Campusano, on the other hand, was ranked by Baseball America as the sport’s No. 53 prospect coming into the 2022 season. But the 24-year-old only received 48 at-bats this season, so the Padres may feel like it is time to give him an extended look beginning next spring.

From the Red Sox’ end, it would likely not take much to pry Nola away from the Padres as far as prospect capital is concerned. Nola himself represents an inexpensive addition at catcher who could platoon with the left-handed hitting McGuire if Wong winds up being the odd man out.

When it comes to what the Red Sox are looking from out of their catchers next year, Bloom emphasized the importance of handling a pitching staff.

“Now, that doesn’t mean there’s only one way to get value at the position, but it’s certainly something we value,” he said. “And I think we have a staff that can really take advantage of somebody who’s invested in that aspect of the game, specifically with [catching instructor Jason Varitek].”

Nola represents just one direction Bloom and Co. could lean if they intend on adding another catcher to the mix this winter. While Murphy is the top trade target, the Sox could also pursue the likes of Wilson Contreras, Mike Zunino, Omar Narvaez, Gary Sanchez, or even old friend Christian Vazquez in free agency.

(Picture of Austin Nola: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Eric Hosmer will not exercise opt-out clause in contract; first baseman is set to earn $39 million over next 3 seasons

Eric Hosmer has informed the Red Sox that he will not be opting out of the final three years and $39 million of his contract, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to take on nearly the entirety of Hosmer’s remaining contract, leaving Boston on the hook for only the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with stability at first base at a time when they desperately needed it. The 33-year-old recorded just nine hits in his first 12 games with the club before low back inflammation kept him sidelined and on the injured list into October. He returned in time for the final two games of the season.

After batting .272/.336/.391 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, 32 runs scored, 33 walks, and 55 strikeouts in 90 games (369 plate appearances) with the Padres to begin the year, Hosmer slashed .244/.320/.311 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts over 14 games (50 plate appearances) with the Red Sox to close it out.

Given that level of production, Hosmer’s decision to opt in is not necessarily a surprising one. The former first-round draft pick of the Royals spent the first seven years of his major-league career in Kansas City before signing an eight-year, $144 million deal with the Padres in February 2018.

At that time, Hosmer had inked the largest free-agent contract in Padres history. The deal included a full no-trade clause from 2018-2020 and a limited no-trade clause thereafter that prevented the Boras Corp. client from being traded to 10 teams.

The Padres attempted to trade Hosmer to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto/Josh Bell swap over the summer, but the four-time Gold Glover exercised his no-trade rights. While San Diego ultimately sent Luke Voit to Washington to complete the deal, it also found a trade partner for Hosmer when the Red Sox — who were not on his no-trade list — agreed to acquire the veteran first baseman.

Because he was traded by the Padres, though, Hosmer once again received full no-trade protection. Only this time it would last for the remainder of his contract. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported about this provision last month.

Given that unique caveat, the Red Sox may have difficulty in finding a trade partner for Hosmer since he has the ability to veto a trade to any other team. At the same time, however, there could still be plenty of interest on account of the fact Boston only owes Hosmer $720,000 per year over the next three years.

As things stand now, Hosmer’s fit on the 2023 Red Sox would seem to be an imperfect one. Boston already has a left-handed hitting first baseman on the rise in Triston Casas, so on paper there really would not be much of a need to carry two similar players like that.

With that being said, the Red Sox could elect to retain Hosmer as insurance behind Casas. It also helps that Hosmer played a role in mentoring Casas, a fellow American Heritage High School alum, after the 22-year-old was called up for the first time in September.

Beyond first base, Hosmer could help fill the void left behind by J.D. Martinez at designated hitter since Martinez is expected to sign elsewhere in free agency. He also has past experience in right field, though his last appearance out there came during his age-25 season in 2015.

At the end of the day, the Red Sox have options when it comes to what they will do with Hosmer moving forward. It should be interesting to see what the future has in store for him.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Jay Groome named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week; left-hander has posted 3.48 ERA since being traded to Padres

Former Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of September 12-18 on Monday.

In his last start for Triple-A El Paso, Groome scattered three hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts across six scoreless innings in a 13-0 win over the Round Rock Express.

Since joining the Chihuahuas’ rotation last month, Groome has posted a 3.48 ERA and 4.52 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 18 walks over eight starts spanning 41 1/3 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .277 with a .777 OPS off the left-hander.

A former first-round selection of the Red Sox in 2016, Groome was dealt to the Padres in exchange for veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer and fellow prospects Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier at the trade deadline.

At that time, Groome was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 13 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 24-year-old southpaw is now ranked by the publication as the No. 10 prospect in San Diego’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Groome operates with a 90-94 mph fastball that touches 95-96 mph, a 76-80 mph curveball, a 79-82 mph changeup, and an 85-87 mph slider. The New Jersey native is already on the Padres’ 40-man roster and will have just one minor-league option remaining after this season.

Taking that into account, MLB Pipeline notes that the Padres could elect to use Groome out of the bullpen if they no longer believe he has starter potential.

(Picture of Jay Groome: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Chase Meidroth gets pro career off to strong start with Low-A Salem

Chase Meidroth, who the Red Sox selected in the fourth round of this summer’s draft out of the University of San Diego, ended his first professional season on a strong note with Low-A Salem.

After being scouted by J.J. Altobelli and signing with Boston for $272,500, Meidroth appeared in just three Florida Complex League games before earning a promotion to Salem on August 9. In 19 games with the Red Sox, the right-handed hitting infielder batted .309/.424/.559 to go along with five doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, four stolen bases, 12 walks, and nine strikeouts over 85 plate appearances.

It’s a small sample size, but among the 229 hitters who made at least 80 trips to the plate this season, Meidroth ranked third in strikeout rate (10.6%), 16th in batting average, 13th in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging percentage, seventh in OPS (.982), seventh in isolated power (.250), 11th in line-drive rate (30.5%), and eighth in wRC+ (167), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Meidroth saw all his playing time on the field this year come at second base. With Salem, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder logged 114 1/3 innings at the keystone and did not commit an error.

Meidroth, who turned 21 in July, was regarded by Baseball America as the 258th-ranked prospect in the 2022 draft class after spending three years at San Diego, where he was selected to the All-West Coast Conference First Team as a sophomore.

The Torrance, Calif. native also spent part of his summer on Cape Cod, where he got a chance to swing a wood bat while slashing .286/.434/.381 with one home run and seven RBIs in 22 games (84 plate appearances) with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

Per his Baseball America scouting report from before the draft, Meidroth “is a small hitter who uses a line drive swing with average bat speed to make lots of contact and spray the ball into the gaps. His home run power is almost exclusively to his pull side. … He is a below-average runner who is best at second base.”

While he is not yet on Baseball America’s Top 30 list, Meidroth is currently ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 52 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected by the site to make the jump to High-A Greenville for the start of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Chase Meidroth: Robert Simmons/RTS Photography)