Red Sox Sign Outfielder César Puello to Minor-League Deal, Invite Him to Major League Spring Training

As pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday, the Red Sox have made another roster addition, signing outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to big league camp.

Puello, who turns 29 at the beginning of April, had spent the 2019 season between the Angels and Marlins, slashing .248/.356/.384 with four home runs and 18 RBI over 44 total games between the two clubs.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 2007, the Red Sox will be the ninth organization Puello has spent time with.

Despite only playing in 44 games last year, Puello was worth 1.0 fWAR thanks to some exceptional defense in the Angels and Marlins outfield, per FanGraphs. He logged time at all three outfield positions as well.

Puello will earn $625,000 if he makes it to the majors this year, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

With this signing, as well as the other non-roster invitees mentioned in the tweet above, the Red Sox now have 65 players attending major-league spring training this year. That number will have to be trimmed down to 26 by the time March 26th comes around.

 

 

Chaim Bloom Says Red Sox Have ‘a Lot of Time’ to Find Replacement for David Price

Mookie Betts and David Price have officially been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Red Sox are getting a serviceable replacement for Betts in the form of 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo, they were unable to compensate for their pitching needs in this five-player deal.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox’ starting rotation is composed of Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and newcomer Martin Perez. That’s about it now that Price is out of the picture.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked at Monday’s press conference about who could replace the veteran left-hander this coming season.

“As strange as it is to say this right before pitchers and catchers report, obviously we have a lot of time to figure that out,” Bloom said. “We have spent a lot of the winter adding starting depth to our 40-man [roster]. We have some good options off-roster as well.”

Prior to shipping Betts and Price off to Los Angeles, Bloom and Co. kept plenty busy by making a number of smaller transactions. Some of the players who will serve as starting depth that are currently on the 40-man roster include Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Chris Mazza, Mike Shawaryn, Hector Velazquez, and Ryan Weber.

In terms of pitchers that are not currently on the 40-man roster, Tanner Houck and Brian Johnson immediately come to mind as hurlers who could start in the majors this season if necessary.

“Because of the shoes David leaves behind, we’re going to continue to look outside the organization as well,” Bloom added.

Just because pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South on Tuesday does not mean that additional roster shakeups will be made. Players will be traded, waived, maybe even released.

With the six-plus weeks remaining until the start of the 2020 regular seasons, it would be foolish to think that the Red Sox’ roster won’t look different come March 25th.

David Price will be missed, both on the field and in the Sox’ clubhouse, but despite what you may be led to believe, there is time to implement an adequate replacement or replacements.

Red Sox Bring Back Jaun Centeno on Minor-League Deal

The Red Sox have brought back veteran catcher Juan Centeno on a minor-league contract for the 2020 season, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invitation to major-league spring training.

Centeno, 30, appeared in just seven games for Boston last year after being called up at the beginning of September when rosters expanded. In those seven contests, the Puerto Rico native went 2-for-15 (.133) with two walks and two RBI while catching 34 innings behind the plate, per FanGraphs.

While with Triple-A Pawtucket last season, Centeno slashed .248/.321/.350 with four home runs and 40 RBI over 81 games played.

In Centeno, the Red Sox have acquired additional catching depth to supplement fellow veteran backstop Jett Bandy, who was brought in on a similar minor-league deal last month. Those two will more than likely compete for a starting role with the PawSox once pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers in February.

And since Bandy and Centeno are both out of minor-league options, they will have to be exposed to waivers if the Red Sox plan on bringing either of them up and sending them back down at any point this season.

Red Sox Agree to One-Year Deal With Jose Peraza

The Red Sox have reportedly signed former Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Peraza to a one-year, $3 million deal laden with incentives, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

This marks their first free-agent signing under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

Peraza, 25, was non-tendered by Cincinnati earlier this month after spending the last four years patrolling the Reds’ infield and outfield.

In 141 games this past season, the Venezuela native slashed .239/.285/.346 with six home runs and 33 RBI while playing second and third base, shortstop, and left and center field.

That underwhelming campaign came right after Peraza had a career year in 2018, and the Reds ultimately did not feel that the infielder was worth the $3.6 million he was projected to earn in arbitration next year.

Originally an international signee of the Atlanta Braves back in 2011, Peraza’s major-league career to this point has been fairly inconsistent. Since he became an everyday player for Cincinnati at the start of the 2017 season, Peraza’s fWAR totals go as follows:

2017: -0.3
2018: 2.6
2019: -0.6

That obviously does not tell the whole story, but it is something worth noting nonetheless.

With the Red Sox’ 40-man roster increasing to 38 players now with the additions of Jonathan Arauz and Peraza on Thursday, there is sure to be a healthy competition for an Opening Day roster spot among names such as those two, as well as C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Marco Hernandez, and Tzu-Wei Lin come the spring.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, despite only inking a one-year pact with Boston, Peraza will be under team control for the next three years due to the arbitration process.

Also, with all those infielders I mentioned above, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox would entertain a reunion with free agent Brock Holt at this point time.

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.

#RedSox Recall No. 17 Prospect Travis Lakins From Triple-A Pawtucket, Option Bobby Poyner

In addition to adding top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez to the active roster, the Red Sox also announced Tuesday that they have recalled right-handed pitching prospect Travis Lakins from Triple-A Pawtucket to the club’s 25-man roster. In a corresponding move, left-hander Bobby Poyner was optioned to the PawSox following Tuesday’s Game 1 loss at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.

The team made the following statement regarding the aforementioned transactions.

Lakins, 24, is ranked as Boston’s 17th-best overall prospect and seventh-best pitching prospect, according to MLB.com

Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 amateur draft out of Ohio State, Lakins has posted a 3.38 ERA and .281 batting average against over six appearances and eight innings of work with the PawSox so far this season.

So, all of a sudden, the Red Sox have three of their top 20 prospects on their temporary 26-man roster in Michael Chavis, Hernandez, and Lakins.

Hernandez, of course, will be optioned back to Double-A Portland later Tuesday night, while both Chavis and Lakins will remain with the big league club for the time being.

 

#RedSox Add Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez to Active Roster Ahead of Game 2 of Doubleheader Against Tigers

Following a 7-4 loss in the first of a two-game doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, the Red Sox have added top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez to the active roster as the club’s 26th man for Game Two.

Hernandez, 22, had begun the 2019 season with Double-A Portland, where he posted a 1.80 ERA and .222 batting average over two starts and 10 total innings pitched for the Sea Dogs.

Added to Boston’s 40-man roster for the first time last November, the Venezuela international really opened eyes during Red Sox camp this past spring, as he allowed just one earned run over six outings (two starts) and 11 frames of work.

Still, I believe the main issue for Hernandez is his control. Granted, I have not watched a lot of what he’s done outside a handful of Grapefruit League games, but, according to MiLB.com, the left-hander has allowed seven total walks in two Eastern League starts this season. That’s good for a BB/9 of 6.3, which is not great.

Optioned to Double-A Portland to develop more as a starter, it appears that Hernandez will see some time as a reliever once Hector Velazquez’s start comes to an end Tuesday. He will be optioned back to the Sea Dogs at the conclusion of Tuesday night’s contest.