Red Sox among several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, per report

The Red Sox are one of several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes.

Per Dierkes, the Sox join the Angels, Cubs, Giants, and Mets as clubs who have expressed interest in Stroman. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi adds that the Mariners are viewed as a potential suitor as well.

Stroman, 30, is one of the top arms remaining on an open market that has seen several intriguing starters — such as Justin Verlander, Anthony DeSclafani, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Matz — come off the board in recent weeks.

After getting traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets in July 2019 and opting out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stroman enjoyed a great deal of success in his first full campaign in his home state of New York in 2021.

In 33 starts for the Mets, the Duke University product posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.49 FIP to go along with 158 strikeouts to 44 walks over 179 innings of work.

Among qualified starters this year, Stroman ranked ninth in ERA, 17th in FIP, 13th in xFIP (3.57), and 23rd in fWAR (3.4), per FanGraphs. His pitch arsenal consists of a sinker, slider, splitter, cutter, four-seam fastball and curveball and he is known for his ability to induce ground balls.

At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Stroman was extended a one-year qualifying offer by the Mets and he accepted it, thus prolonging his free agency to this offseason.

Since he was already extended a qualifying offer once, Stroman does not have any sort of draft pick compensation attached to him this winter, meaning any interested club could sign the righty without having to forfeit a draft selection.

Combine this with the kind of year he is coming off of, and it’s easy to see why someone such as Stroman is an appealing target to teams in need of starting pitching like the Red Sox are.

After watching Rodriguez leave to sign a five-year deal with the Tigers and Matz choose to sign a four-year pact with the Cardinals within the last two weeks, Boston remains locked in on upgrading its starting rotation going into 2022.

“We don’t have anything teed up that I would say is close but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Monday. “We’ve touched base with a wide variety of players. Just about everybody who is on the market and it’s gotten more serious and more involved with some of them.

“I don’t know right now if that’s going to lead to anything or when,” he added. “I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching. I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. But who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

Stroman, who turns 31 next May, would likely not come cheap. MLB Trade Rumors projects that the 5-foot-7, 180 pound hurler will land a five-year, $110 million contract in free agency.

Also of note here is that Stroman does have some history with Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Going back to the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cora — Team Puerto Rico’s general manager — attempted to recruit Stroman (whose mother is of Puerto Rican descent) to join his team. Stroman instead chose to play for Team USA and was later named the tournament’s most valuable player.

(Picture of Marcus Stroman: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘made competitive offer’ to Steven Matz before lefty reached agreement with Cardinals, per report

The Red Sox have lost out on Steven Matz, as the free agent left-hander has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract with the Cardinals that includes an additional $4 million in potential incentives, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

While Boston may have come up short in the bidding war for Matz, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the Sox were “involved in the sweepstakes for the lefty until the bitter end” and “made a competitive offer” before he ultimately chose the Cardinals.

After a down 2020 season with the Mets, Matz was dealt to the Blue Jays in January and flourished in his first year with Toronto. In 29 starts for the Jays, the 30-year-old southpaw posted a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 150 2/3 innings pitched in 2021.

Because of the strong season he had, as well as the fact that he was not extended a qualifying offer, Matz drew plenty of interest on the open market. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Giants, Mets, and Tigers — in addition to the Cardinals and Red Sox — all made offers to Matz.

With Matz ultimately landing in St. Louis, though, Boston will have to look elsewhere when it comes to filling the void in their starting rotation left behind by Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77 million deal with Detroit last week.

When speaking with reporters (including Cotillo) earlier this week, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom discussed just how involved the club has been in free agency as notable starters such as Max Scherzer, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, and Robbie Ray remain unsigned.

“We don’t have anything teed up that I would say is close but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Bloom said. “We’ve touched base with a wide variety of players. Just about everybody who is on the market and it’s gotten more serious and more involved with some of them.

“I don’t know right now if that’s going to lead to anything or when,” he added. “I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching. I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. But who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

It is also worth mentioning that the Sox may be more aggressive when it comes to pursuing free agents or potential trade targets in the coming days since the collective bargaining agreement expires next Wednesday and will likely trigger a work stoppage.

(Picture of Steven Matz: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Latest on Red Sox’ pursuit of Steven Matz, who is expected to pick new team by Wednesday

Happy Steven Matz Decision Day Eve?

Matz, one of the more intriguing free agent starting pitchers on the market, is expected to make a decision on where he will sign before Thanksgiving, with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reporting that the left-hander will pick his team by Wednesday “so that he can finalize the deal before the anticipated lockout.”

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are one of eight teams who have made a contract offer to Matz, joining the likes of the Angels, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Mets, and Tigers.

A native of Long Island, the 30-year-old southpaw spent the first six years of his major-league career with the Mets before getting traded and spending the 2021 season with the Blue Jays.

After being limited to just nine appearances (six starts) in a lost 2020, Matz bounced back in a big way with the Jays in 2021. Over 29 starts, the lefty posted a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts and 43 walks across 150 2/3 innings of work.

Because he was not extended a qualifying offer by the Blue Jays at the end of the 2021 campaign, any team that signs Matz will not have to forfeit a compensatory draft pick, which presumably adds that much more appeal.

As for just how appealing Matz is to the Red Sox, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the team has “been steadily involved in talks with Matz, though it’s unclear how series the club’s interest has been.”

Cotillo additionally notes that as of last week, ” other teams had been more aggressive to that point” in their pursuit of Matz, but also points out that if it is “a top priority” for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, “the Red Sox could have ramped up their attempt to sign Matz in recent days.”

Matz, who does not turn 31 until May, is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a three-year, $27 million contract in free agency. FanGraphs, on the other hand, has the 6-foot-2, 201 pounder landing a three-year pact worth upwards of $38 million.

It’s unclear at this point just how much the Red Sox are offering Matz, but as noted by Cotillo, the high level of interest surrounding him “might push his guarantee even higher” than the aforementioned projections.

Per Baseball Savant, Matz works with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, changeup, curveball, and slider. He may not be in the same tier as other free-agent starters such as Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, or Marcus Stroman, but is still someone teams are intrigued by given the potential upside.

In the scenario that Matz elects to sign with Boston on Wednesday, it’s unlikely that the Sox will stop there when it comes to making upgrades to their starting rotation going into the 2022 season.

Following the departure of Eduardo Rodriguez to the Tigers, Bloom told reporters (including Cotillo) on Monday that the Red Sox have been active in free agency and will continue to do so leading up next Wednesday, when the collective bargaining agreement will expire and likely trigger a work stoppage.

“We don’t have anything teed up that I would say is close but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Bloom said. “We’ve touched base with a wide variety of players. Just about everybody who is on the market and it’s gotten more serious and more involved with some of them.

“I don’t know right now if that’s going to lead to anything or when,” he added. “I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching. I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. But who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

(Picture of Steven Matz: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘remain in touch’ with free-agent left-hander Steven Matz, per report

The Red Sox ‘remain in touch’ with free agent left-hander Steven Matz, who ‘has a healthy market,’ according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Matz became a free agent earlier this month after spending the 2021 season with the Blue Jays, who acquired him from the Mets this past January.

In his first season with Toronto, the 30-year-old southpaw posted a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 29 starts spanning 150 2/3 innings of work.

Since electing free agency, Matz has drawn plenty of interest from other clubs — including the Red Sox. Not only is the 6-foot-2, 201 pound hurler coming off a solid 2021 campaign, but he also did not receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, meaning he has no draft pick compensation attached to him.

Because of these factors, the Sox are not the only club who have inquired on Matz, who is represented by Icon Sports Management and met with potential suitors at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

On Thursday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Mets — the organization Matz began his professional career with as a second-round draft pick in 2009 — have interest in bringing the Stony Brook native back for 2022 and beyond.

Heyman added that the Blue Jays were also interested in reuniting with Matz while several other teams are pursuing him.

The off-season may only be weeks old, but the Red Sox have already taken a hit in regards to their starting rotation with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez jettisoning Boston to sign a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers on Tuesday.

Adding an experienced starting pitcher such as Matz to the mix would be one way Boston could go about filling the void left behind by Rodriguez. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom touched upon this very topic in a recent conversation with Cotillo.

“We certainly want to have more guys who are capable of starting games in the big-leagues and doing it well,” Bloom said. “We’re not too focused on how famous they are. It’s more about what we think they can do. With that said, certainly a lot of the guys who could do the job well are also well-known. We’re focusing on those guys, too. We need to cover the whole map here and make sure we’re involved in everything that could help us.”

In addition to Matz, other free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could purse include 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (who is qualified), Anthony DeSclafani, Kevin Gausman, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Marcus Stroman.

Of course, Boston’s quest to add rotation depth does not have to stop in free agency. As Cotillo notes, the trade market is flush with intriguing names such as Sandy Alcantara, Chris Bassitt, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Sean Manaea being floated out there.

“We’ve been really active in talking to free agents and talking to other clubs,” said Bloom. “There are days that start with us thinking we might really have our teeth sunk in something and the day ends quietly. There have been days where it has been the reverse, that midway through the day, something develops and accelerates. Obviously, it hasn’t led to a major transaction for us yet, but the conversations have certainly been active.”

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Just how interested are Red Sox in free agent left-hander Steven Matz?

Earlier this week, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Red Sox were one of multiple teams interested in free agent left-hander Steven Matz. On Friday, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden added more fuel to that fire.

While answering questions from readers, Bowden hypothesized that if the Red Sox are unable to re-sign fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, they will “pivot to another similar starter,” such as Matz.

Matz, 30, became a free agent earlier this month after spending the entirety of the 2021 season with the Blue Jays. The former second-round draft pick out of Stony Brook, N.Y. spent the first 12 years of his professional career with the Mets, but was dealt to Toronto this past January.

In return for Matz, the Mets acquired three right-handed pitchers including prospect Josh Winckowski, who they later traded to the Red Sox as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February.

Regardless of that, Matz made 29 starts for the Jays this season, posting a respectable 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 150 2/3 innings of work. He missed time in the month of June due to a bout with COVID-19.

Among 17 left-handed starters who accrued at least 150 innings in 2021, Matz ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (8.6), ninth in walks per nine innings (2.6), 10th in strikeout rate (22.3%), eighth and walk rate (6.6%), seventh in FIP, and eighth in xFIP (3.94), per FanGraphs.

According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 201 pound southpaw operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, his fastest and most-used pitch, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider.

The Blue Jays had the chance to extend Matz an $18.4 million qualifying offer, but elected not to do so even after making a multi-year extension offer that the veteran hurler reportedly rejected, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Because he was not extended a qualifying offer, Matz does not have any draft pick compensation attached to him.

For this reason, Matz — a client of Icon Sports Management — should be more appealing to interested clubs such as the Red Sox since they would not have to forfeit a draft pick to the Blue Jays in order to sign him.

On that note, Newsday’s Tim Healey reported from Carlsbad, Calif. this week that Matz, who does not turn 31 until next May, was on hand at the GM meetings to talk with teams. Healey, like Sherman, also listed the Red Sox as one of the teams that ‘are in’ on Matz.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) on his way out of the GM meetings on Thursday, Red Sox chief baseball officer would not comment on if he spoke with any players in person, but did say that he felt like progress was made in terms of getting deals done.

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox Lineup: Jonathan Arauz Set to Make First Big-League Start in Series Finale Against Mets

After barely holding on for their second win of the season on Wednesday, the Red Sox will look to put together their first winning streak of the year on Thursday against Steven Matz and the New York Mets.

Left-hander Martin Perez will be making his second start in a Red Sox uniform and his first away from Fenway Park. The 29-year-old surrendered five runs (four earned) over fine innings of his work in his team debut against Baltimore last Saturday, but he did end his outing by twirling three scoreless consecutive frames en route to picking up the losing decision.

In two career appearances (one start) at Citi Field, Perez owns a 3.60 ERA and .171 batting average against over 10 total innings pitched. Here’s how the Red Sox will be lining up behind the Venezuelan southpaw.

With the left-handed Matz getting the ball for New York in this one, the left-handed bats of Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr. Mitch Moreland will start Thursday’s contest on the bench.

Taking that into consideration, Jose Peraza will be making just his sixth career start at third base in place of Devers while batting out of the leadoff spot, Kevin Pillar will be making his first start at center field as a member of the Red Sox in place of Bradley Jr. while batting out of the five-hole, and Michael Chavis, who is off to a 0-for-9 start at the plate, will be getting the start at first in place of Moreland while batting out of the seven-hole.

Alex Verdugo and Andrew Benintendi, who collected his 500th career hit Wednesday, are the only two primary left-handed hitters in Boston’s starting lineup Thursday.

Rookie infielder and 2019 Rule 5 Draft selection Jonathan Arauz will be making his first career major-league start at second base. The 21-year-old out of Panama, who will be batting out of the No. 9 spot, can hit from both sides of the plate and is still looking for his first big-league knock.

Other than that, J.D. Martinez has been dropped to the No. 3 spot after starting his team’s first six games in the two-hole, Xander Bogaerts is back in the cleanup spot after being limited to pinch-hitting duties on Wednesday, and Christian Vazquez, fresh off clobbering his second homer of the season, will be catching Perez while hitting out of the five-hole.

That just about covers everything as the Red Sox look to split this four-game, home-at-home series with the Metropolitans. First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI.

Gorkys Hernandez Mashes Homer, Makes Diving Catch in #RedSox Victory over Mets

The Red Sox improved to 5-5 in Grapefruit League play on Monday following a 9-3 win over a split New York Mets squad for their second consecutive victory.

Eduardo Rodriguez made the start for Boston in this one at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, his second of the spring.

The left-hander looked solid against New York’s lineup this afternoon as he retired six of the nine hitters he faced while scattering three hits and striking out a pair over two scoreless innings en route to the eventual winning decision.

Through two outings this spring, the 25-year-old hurler has given up two earned runs in four total innings of work while also fanning five.

In relief of Rodriguez, Brandon Workman, Mike Shawaryn, Adam Lau, Denyi Reyes, Matthew Gorst, and Brian Ellington combined to surrender three runs on 10 hits, three walks, one HBP, and eight punch outs over the final seven frames on Monday.

Shawaryn was fairly impressive himself, as he was responsible for five of those strikeouts while shutting out New York in more than two innings of relief. He also walked one and hit another with a pitch.

On a side note, Tim Tebow was featured in the Mets’ starting lineup for the first time ever against the Red Sox.

The former Heisman Trophy winner went 2/3 with a pair of singles, his first two base knocks of the spring.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mets left-hander Steven Matz, who struck out 152 batters with New York in 2018.

The southpaw did not have much going his way on Monday though, as Boston’s bats got to him for four runs on five hits before being chased in the top half of the third.

As it turns out, all four of those runs off of Matz came in the second inning, as Chad De Le Guerra got the scoring started with a one out RBI single to score Sam Travis and advance Tony Renda to third.

Immediately following that, Gorkys Hernandez had his first signature spring moment, as the former Giants outfielder belted a three-run home run to deep left field for his first of 2019.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Travis and Renda struck again, this time driving in a pair of runs on an RBI single and RBI groundout respectively off of Justin Wilson.

An inning later, the Red Sox tacked on another two runs to pad their lead, with Juan Centeno and 2018 seventh round draft selection Jarren Duran picking up a run driven in each.

Finally, in the ninth, a Bobby Dalbec leadoff double would later result in Boston’s final run of the afternoon crossing the plate on a two out RBI single off the bat of Danny Mars.

That run-scoring knock put the Red Sox up 9-3, which would go on to be the final score of this contest.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers, batting second, went 2/3 on Monday. JD Martinez, batting right after Devers, finished the day 0/3 with a strikeout.

In addition to his first home run of the spring, Gorkys Hernandez flashed the leather a bit as well to rob Amed Rosario in the first inning.

Tate Matheny also robbed Michael Conforto of a hit.

Next up for the Red Sox, they head to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to take on the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

As it was the last time these two clubs matched up, it will be Hector Velazquez vs. Max Scherzer for your starting pitching matchup.

First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. This one will not be on NESN, but if you have MLB.TV, MASN is the way to go.