Red Sox invite nine minor-leaguers to major-league spring training

In case you missed it, the Red Sox added nine non-roster invitees to their spring training roster on Tuesday afternoon. Those nine players?

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Josh Ockimey
OF Cesar Puello
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson

Besides McCarthy, all players listed here spent the 2020 season with the Red Sox organization in some capacity.

The likes of Pereda, Ockimey, Puello, Gonsalves, Blair, and Simpson spent time at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, while the likes of Baldwin and Espinal did not.

Puello was the only one who saw major-league time with the Sox last year, as the 29-year-old appeared in five games for Boston in September and went 3-for-8 (.375) at the plate with one run scored while also recording a pair of outfield assists in limited action.

McCarthy, meanwhile, yielded three earned runs over five appearances and six innings of work for the Royals this past season, his fifth in the majors. The 28-year-old inked a minor-league pact with Boston last month after being outrighted from Kansas City’s 40-man roster in October.

Another pitcher listed here with big-league experience is Gonsalves, a former top prospect of the Twins organization. The former fourth-round draft pick appeared in seven contests (four starts) for Minnesota in 2018, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.71 FIP over 24 2/3 innings pitched.

Still just 26 years old, Gonsalves was claimed off waivers by the Mets last fall before again being claimed off waivers by the Sox over the summer.

Some within the organization still believe the left-hander has plenty of upside, which was made evident by his impressive performance at the alternate site as well as the club re-signing him to a minor-league deal in November.

“Gonsalves is a guy that can make an impact next year if we bring him back,” Worcester Red Sox pitching coach Paul Abbott said in October. “His velo went from 89-90 mph — and he already had a highly rated fastball that had some carry — the velo jumped up to 94-96 mph. He got better as we went along and I know he was close to getting an opportunity because they brought him up there.”

With the additions of these nine players, the Red Sox currently have 49 players on their 2021 spring training roster as February draws closer. That number of players is likely to change between now and then, though, since chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. still have plenty of time for roster shuffling if they so choose.

Red Sox re-sign Josh Ockimey, 8 others to minor-league contracts

The Red Sox made their first (minor) splash of the offseason on Tuesday, as the club re-signed nine minor-league free agent to minor-league contracts for the 2021 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo and SoxProspects’ Chris Hatfield.

Those nine minor-leaguers, as indicated in the above tweet from Hatfield, are right-handers Seth Blair, Raynel Espinal, and Caleb Simpson, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, catchers Jhonny Pereda and Roldani Baldwin, first baseman Josh Ockimey, first baseman/outfielder Joey Meneses, and outfielder Johan Mieses.

Five of these nine players were at one point or another part of the Sox’ 60-man player pool this past season, and therefore spent some time at the alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Ockimey and Baldwin, meanwhile, are the only two listed here who have been with the Red Sox since before the 2019 Rule 5 Draft last December.

Speaking of Ockimey, the recently-turned 25-year-old slugger may just be the most notable name here, at least among Red Sox fans, despite having yet to make his major-league debut.

The former fifth-round draft selection out of Philadelphia has been with Boston since 2014. Most recently, he clubbed 25 home runs and collected 57 RBI over 122 games (468 plate appearances) for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2019.

Power has never been the problem for Ockimey, as he has crushed 14 or more homers in each of the last four seasons, excluding 2020, of course. Despite being such a threat at the plate, the left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing first baseman has yet to get a shot at the next level.

The Red Sox, led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, clearly like Ockimey enough to keep him around as depth at a fairly important position, but do they value him enough to eventually purchase his contract and see what he can do in the majors?

All signs point to no on that front thus far, but it should be somewhat interesting to watch Ockimey next spring considering the light tower power he is capable of providing at any given moment.

Could Red Sox Welcome Soon-To-Be Free Agent Stephen Gonsalves Back in 2021?

Excluding position players, 27 different pitchers took the mound for the Red Sox in 2020. Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves was not one of them.

The 26-year-old was claimed off waivers by Boston from the Mets early in the season and was subsequently optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, where he remained on the Sox’ 40-man roster up until August 19.

At that point, Gonsalves was designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for veteran right-hander Andrew Triggs.

A week went by and Gonsalves went unclaimed, which resulted in his being outrighted to Pawtucket.

As he spent the final few weeks of his 2020 campaign working out at McCoy Stadium, the San Diego native was actually very impressive, which is important when you consider the fact that he will become a minor-league free agent this winter. Worcester Red Sox pitching coach Paul Abbott made that much clear when speaking with reporters via Zoom last week.

“Gonsalves is a guy that can make an impact next year if we bring him back,” Abbott said. “I know he’s a minor-league free agent. His velo went from 89-90 mph — and he already had a highly rated fastball that had some carry — the velo jumped up to 94-96 mph. He got better as we went along and I know he was close to getting an opportunity because they brought him up there.”

A former fourth-round pick of the Twins out of high school in 2013, Gonsalves only has seven major-league outings under his belt. In those seven appearances, four of which were starts, towards the end of the 2018 season, the one-time University of San Diego commit posted a 6.57 ERA and .822 OPS against over 24 2/3 innings pitched.

At the start of the 2019 campaign, Gonsalves suffered an elbow strain in April and a stress reaction to that same elbow in May, which resulted in the former top prospect accruing just 13 innings of work across three minor-league levels last year prior to ultimately getting designated by Minnesota in November.

Since joining the Red Sox organization over the summer, Gonsalves obviously has not had the chance to showcase himself in any real, meaningful games. But, as Abbott mentioned, an uptick in the 6-foot-5 southpaw’s fastball velocity could mesh well with his other three pitches — changeup, slider, curveball — moving forward.

With that being said, in addition to how highly Abbott spoke of him, Gonsalves may be someone the Red Sox look to bring back early on in free agency this offseason.

Assuming he is brought back by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. on a minor-league deal, Gonsalves could prove to be an interesting hurler to monitor during spring training next year given the fact he has experience as both a starter and reliever.

Red Sox Release R.J. Alvarez, Outright Stephen Gonsalves and Mike Shawaryn in Slew of Roster Moves

Before taking on the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves, releasing right-hander R.J. Alvarez, outrighting left-hander Stephen Gonsalves to the alternate training site in Pawtucket, and outrighting right-hander Mike Shawaryn and removing him from the 60-man player pool.

There is a lot to digest there, so let’s start with Alvarez.

The 29-year-old initially signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox last December and was eventually added to the club’s player pool as a non-roster invitee last month. Because of that, Alvarez was assigned to the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket, where he was limited to just working live batting practice sessions or simulated games and was likely viewed as emergency depth out of the bullpen prior to his release.

As for Gonsalves, the 26-year-old cleared waivers after getting designated for assignment last Wednesday.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Twins in 2013, Gonsalves was claimed off waivers by Boston from the Mets on July 25 and was subsequently added to the player pool that same day.

Although he is no longer on the Sox’ 40-man roster, the San Diego native is still part of Boston’s player pool, so he will remain in Pawtucket and continue to get work in at McCoy Stadium.

Finally, we arrive at the only homegrown player here in Shawaryn.

The New Jersey native, who turns 26 next month, was drafted by Boston in the fifth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of the University of Maryland and made his major-league debut with the Sox last June.

In 14 appearances out of the bullpen in 2019, Shawaryn posted a 9.74 ERA and .987 OPS against over 20 1/3 innings of work.

Coming off that rather disappointing rookie campaign, the righty was added to the Red Sox’ player pool in June and assigned to the alternate training site in July prior to getting designated in August. That move was made by Boston in order to make on the 40-man roster for infielder Christian Arryou, who has since been DFA’d and outrighted as well.

Unlike Arroyo and Gonsalves, though, Shawaryn’s 2020 season, if you want to call it that, has essentially come to a close as he has been removed from the Sox’ player pool altogether and will presumably head back home.

With these transactions made, the Red Sox’ player pool is at full capacity at 60, but they do have one open 40-man roster spot.

Red Sox Claim Right-Hander Andrew Triggs off Waivers From Giants, Designate Left-Hander Stephen Gonsalves for Assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Andrew Triggs off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. In order to make room for Triggs on the 40-man roster, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves was designated for assignment. The club made this transaction official earlier Wednesday.

Triggs, 31, was designated by San Francisco last Wednesday, 10 days after he yielded three earned runs on three hits and three walks in just 1/3 of an inning in his 2020 debut on August 2.

Prior to the 2020 season, Triggs, a three-time draftee out of the University of Southern California, made 45 appearances (27 starts) for the Oakland Athletics from 2016 through 2018.

In those 45 outings over the course of three seasons with the A’s, the Tennessee native posted a 4.53 ERA and 4.12 FIP over 163 total innings pitched.

Obviously capable of both pitching out of the rotation and bullpen based off his track record, Triggs owns a lifetime 4.28 ERA and .693 OPS against as a starter, and a lifetime 6.39 ERA and .839 OPS against as a reliever.

Last season, Triggs made just three appearances with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas before getting released in August. That in turn led him to sign a minor-league deal with the Giants in January, but his tenure there clearly did not last all that long given Wednesday’s news.

Per Statcast, Triggs is a three-pitch pitcher, as he primarily works from a three-quarters arm slot and has a sinker, slider, and curveball in his arsenal.

With this roster move made, Triggs is now on the Sox’ 40-man roster and has been optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Gonsalves, meanwhile, was removed from Boston’s 40-man roster nearly four weeks after he was originally claimed off waivers from the Mets. The 26-year-old had been working out at McCoy Stadium, and he will likely clear waivers unless he piques another club’s interest.

Red Sox Claim Right-Hander Robert Stock off Waivers From Phillies

While dropping their second straight to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox made a roster move in claiming right-hander Robert Stock off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies.

As the above tweet mentions, Stock has been optioned to the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Now the 40th player on Boston’s 40-man roster, Stock was designated for assignment by Philadelphia on Thursday.

The 30-year-old hurler out of the University of Southern California has 42 career major-league relief appearances under his belt since making his big-league debut with the San Diego Padres in June 2018.

Between those 42 outings with the Phils and Pads, Stock owns a career 4.11 ERA and 3.67 FIP over 50 1/3 total innings of work. Granted, he surrendered 12 earned runs in just 10 2/3 innings pitched last year.

A former second-round selection of St. Louis back in the 2009 draft, Stock has spent time in the Cardinals, Astros, Pirates, Reds, Padres, and Phillies organizations. In other words, he’s been around.

Per his Statcast page, the 6-foot-1, 214 lb. righty works with a high-velocity four-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a sinker.

The addition of Stock for the Red Sox comes less than 24 hours after the club claimed left-hander Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the Mets.

If the Sox intend to add Stock to their player pool, which is currently at its full capacity, another player who is currently in the pool will have to be removed.

Red Sox Claim Left-Hander Stephen Gonsalves off Waivers From Mets

The Red Sox have claimed left-hander Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to their alternative training site in Pawtucket, the club announced Saturday evening.

Gonsalves, who turned 26 earlier this month, was designated for assignment by the Mets on Thursday in order to open a spot on their 40-man roster.

A former top prospect of the Twins organization, Gonsalves last appeared in the majors in 2018, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.71 FIP over seven appearances (four starts) and 24 2/3 total innings pitched for Minnesota.

In the minors, Gonsalves only made eight appearances between three different levels in 2019 as he was hampered by elbow issues or more specifically, a stress reaction in his left elbow/forearm.

The 2013 fourth-round draft pick out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego was let go by the Twins this past November before subsequently getting picked up by the Mets. Obviously, his tenure with New York only lasted a little more than eight months.

Per his Statcast page, Gonsalves operates with a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a cutter, and a slider. He will likely serve as rotation depth for Boston.

By adding Gonsalves, the Red Sox now have 38 players on their 40-man roster. Their player pool size has also reached maximum capacity at 60.