Former Red Sox outfielder Tim Locastro returns to Yankees on one-year deal

Former Red Sox outfielder Tim Locastro is returning to the Yankees on a one-year deal for the 2022 season, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Locastro, 29, never appeared in a game for the Red Sox after Boston claimed him off waivers from New York last November. The Auburn, N.Y. native spent less than a month on the Sox’ 40-man roster before being non-tendered on Nov. 30.

As a result of not being tendered a contract, Locastro became a free agent. At that time, it was reported that the Red Sox were interested in bringing back the speedster on a minor-league pact, though nothing came to fruition during or immediately following the MLB lockout.

After being traded from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees last summer, Locastro tore his right ACL in a game against the Red Sox on July 17 that prematurely ended his season. Prior to suffering the injury, the right-handed hitter had batted .180/.263/.252 with four doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, 15 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 64 games (156 plate appearances) between Arizona and New York.

Known primarily for his speed, Locastro underwent knee surgery on July 21 and was rehabbing from his injury by early November. In an exchange with BloggingtheRedSox.com via email, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom described Locastro as “great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

Things obviously did not work out in Locastro’s favor there, but the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder has bounced back by netting himself a major-league deal for the upcoming campaign.

With that being said, though, it would have at least been interesting if the Red Sox held on to Locastro throughout the winter and gave him a chance to compete for a spot on their 2022 Opening Day roster this spring. He will instead aim to do that with Boston’s top division rival.

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox non-tender Tim Locastro, but ‘are already trying to re-sign’ speedy outfielder, per report

The Red Sox may have non-tendered Tim Locastro on Tuesday night, but the club may already be looking into bringing the speedy outfielder back.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox are indeed trying to re-sign Locastro, who was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2022.

Locastro, 29, was originally claimed off waivers from the Yankees on November 5 and was subsequently added to Boston’s 40-man roster. He spent the 2021 season with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, slashing .180/.263/.252 with four doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, 15 runs scored, five stolen bases, seven walks, and 33 strikeouts over 64 games (156 plate appearances) between both clubs.

Upon getting traded from Arizona to New York on July 1, Locastro suffered a season-ending injury very early into his Yankees career, as he tore his right ACL in a game against the Red Sox in the Bronx on July 17.

After undergoing season-ending knee surgery on July 21, Locastro later lost his spot on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, thus allowing the Red Sox to claim him in the first place.

As of early November, the right-handed hitting speedster had began running again and was making significant progress in his rehab.

“Tim’s on track for a full recovery from his injury,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a recent conversation with BloggingtheRedSox.com. “With his speed and athleticism, he’s great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

At that time, Bloom also said, “We’ll see how things play out from here.” Less than a full month later, it turns out Boston has removed Locastro from their 40-man roster.

While coming off a tough injury such as an ACL tear, Locastro had previously established himself as one of the quickest base runners in the majors. Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder led the league in sprint speed in 2019 (30.8 feet per second) and 2020 (30.7 feet per second) and was tied with Trea Turner atop the leaderboard in 2021 (30.7 feet per second).

Taking his elite speed and the fact that he plays all three outfield positions into consideration, there is an appeal to Locastro’s game. The former 13th-round draft pick out of Ithaca College does not turn 30 until next July, has one minor-league option year remaining, and is also under club control through 2024.

With that being said, Cotillo notes that in their efforts to retain Locastro, the Red Sox could get the New York native to sign a minor-league deal for the 2022 season that would include an invite to major-league spring training.

Boston has, after all, been active in minor-league free agency as of late. On Tuesday, the club reportedly inked outfielders Rob Refsnyder and Christin Stewart to minor-league contracts for the 2022 campaign.

Adding Locastro via another minors pact would only further strengthen the Sox’ outfield depth behind the likes of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and Jarren Duran.

On another note, it is worth mentioning that Locastro was one of 41 players to not be tendered a contract by their respective teams on Tuesday. It’s likely that the Red Sox will be involved in talks with those who have recently been made free agents before the impending work stoppage begins on Wednesday night.

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Ryan Brasier, non-tender Tim Locastro in flurry of roster moves

In a flurry of roster moves made on Tuesday, the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract with Ryan Brasier for the 2022 season, did not tender a contract for 2022 to Tim Locastro, and tendered contracts to all 27 remaining unsigned players on the major-league roster.

The club made all of these transactions official earlier Tuesday night.

By signing Brasier to a one-year pact for the 2022 season, the Red Sox have avoided salary arbitration with the right-handed reliever.

According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, Brasier will earn $1.4 million next year, which is the exact same amount MLB Trade Rumors projected he would receive in what would have been his second season of arbitration eligibility.

This past season marked Brasier’s fourth in the Red Sox organization since originally inking a minor-league pact with Boston back in March 2018, and it was certainly a hellish one.

After breaking his pinky finger over the winter and straining a calf muscle during spring training, the 34-year-old was struck in the head by a line drive during a simulated game in Fort Myers in early June.

Brasier was left with a concussion, but the veteran righty made his way back to the major-leagues by September and wound up posting a 1.50 ERA with nine strikeouts to four walks over 13 appearances spanning 12 innings pitched out of the Boston bullpen.

Brasier, who does not turn 35 until next August, put up those numbers while making $1.25 million in 2021, so the $1.4 million he is slated to earn in 2022 represents an increase from that amount.

On the flip side of retaining Brasier, the Red Sox non-tendered Locastro, the speedy outfielder they claimed off waivers from the Yankees in early November.

Locastro, 29, tore his ACL last season and is just months removed from the season-ending surgery he underwent in July.

While he is on track for a full recovery, the Sox ultimately decided against tendering Locastro a contract for the 2022 campaign, thus bringing the size of their 40-man roster down to 37 players as he becomes a free agent.

That being said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the Red Sox are already trying to re-sign Locastro on a new deal. The New York native was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility, but could be brought back to Boston on a minor-league deal.

Besides Brasier and Locastro, the Red Sox tendered contracts to all remaining unsigned players on their major-league roster. That group also includes arbitration-eligible players such as Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Kevin Plawecki, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Taylor.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Verdugo, Arroyo, Pivetta, and Taylor are all first-year eligible, while Devers and Renfroe are in their second year of eligibility and Plawecki is in his third.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Elsa/Getty Images)

With acquisition of Tim Locastro, Red Sox gain speed and athleticism, Chaim Bloom says

New Red Sox outfielder Tim Locastro has — and quite frankly always has had — elite speed in the field and on the base paths.

As a junior at Ithaca College in 2013, Locastro stole 40 bases in 41 attempts, setting the single-season program record in stolen bases as well as runs scored (71).

Upon being selected by the Blue Jays in the 13th round of the 2013 amateur draft, Locastro swiped 32 bags in his first full professional season with Low-A Vancouver in 2014 and was only caught four times.

As a prospect, Locastro was well-known for his “plus-plus speed” and was traded from the Blue Jays to the Dodgers in July 2015. With Los Angeles, the right-handed hitter’s speed was highly coveted leading up to his major-league debut in late September of the 2017 campaign.

Locastro appeared in just 21 total games for the Dodgers, however, as he was dealt to the Yankees at the conclusion of the 2018 season before ultimately winding up with the Diamondbacks that following January.

In his debut season with Arizona in 2019, Locastro put his speed on full display by recording 17 stolen bases without getting caught once. He led all of Major League Baseball with a sprint speed of 30.8 feet per second and finished tied for second in bolts (61), or any run with a speed of at least 30 feet per second.

While his stolen base numbers took a dip in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Locastro did enjoy a career year at the plate in which he slashed .290/.395/.464 (134 wRC+) across 33 games and 82 plate appearances. In the process of putting up those impressive numbers, he was perfect in stolen base attempts (4-for-4) while again putting up an MLB-best sprint speed of 30.7 feet per second.

Coming into 2021, Locastro had yet to be caught stealing (26-for-26) for his big-league career. He picked up stolen base No. 28 at Chase Field on April 13 to set the MLB record for most successful stolen bases to start a career, passing Hall of Famer Tim Raines in the process of doing so.

Just four days after breaking Raines’ record, though, Locastro was finally caught stealing for the first time, as he was picked off at second base by then-Nationals catcher Yan Gomes at Nationals Park on April 17.

Locastro stole two more bases and was caught two more times in a Diamondbacks uniform before he was traded back to the Yankees in exchange for pitching prospect Keegan Curtis at the start of July.

New York re-acquired Locastro in order to inject more speed into a station-to-station lineup that was in desperate need of a boost. Just nine games into his Yankees tenure, though, the Auburn, N.Y. native suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Red Sox.

Manning left field for the Yankees in the first inning of a July 17 contest against the Sox in the Bronx, Locastro leaped to catch an Alex Verdugo fly ball in foul territory, but landed awkwardly and could be seen grabbing at his right knee after crashing into the wall down the left field line.

As a result of said play, Locastro came up gimpy and was later replaced in left field by Tyler Wade before being diagnosed with an ACL tear that same night.

The Yankees placed the 29-year-old on the 10-day injured list the following day and transferred him to the 60-day injured list a week later. At the end of the season, they must have felt that it was not worth it to add Locastro back to their 40-man roster and instead placed him on waivers.

This gave other clubs the opportunity to put a claim in for the 6-foot-1, 190 pound speedster, which is exactly what the Red Sox did last Friday.

Now a member of Boston’s 40-man roster, which currently sits at 33 players, Locastro was expected to begin running again sometime this fall after undergoing knee surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City back in late July.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom essentially confirmed as much in a recent conversation with BloggingtheRedSox.com.

“Tim’s on track for a full recovery from his injury,” Bloom said via email. “With his speed and athleticism, he’s great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

Locastro, who does not turn 30 until next July, certainly fits the profile of player the Red Sox have added since Bloom took over two years ago in that there is little risk and plenty to gain from it.

As previously mentioned, Locastro is extremely fast and is dangerous on the base paths, which is something Alex Cora’s Red Sox were lacking this past season. Not only that, but he plays all three outfield positions as well and has been a plus-defender in right field (positive-3 defensive runs saved, positive-2.1 ultimate zone rating in 207 1/3 innings) throughout his career.

Additionally, Locastro comes with club control, as he is slated to become eligible for salary arbitration for just the first time next season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in 2022.

There is, of course, risk involved in acquiring someone like Locastro considering the fact that he is a player who primarily relies on their speed and is coming off a major ACL injury.

Still, the addition of Locastro — should he prove to have recovered from his injury — does provide the Red Sox with experienced outfield depth. It could also make some for some interesting positional battles come spring training.

That being said, spring training is still a long ways away and there is still plenty of off-season ahead. As Bloom put it, “We’ll see how things play out from here.”

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox claim speedy outfielder Tim Locastro off waivers from Yankees

The Red Sox have claimed outfielder Tim Locastro off waivers from the Yankees, the club announced Friday afternoon.

Locastro, 29, must have been designated for assignment by the Yankees recently for him to be available on waivers and eventually claimed by the Red Sox.

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the Sox have made a habit of plucking players away from the Yankees, with Locastro being just the latest instance of that.

Boston acquired right-hander Garrett Whitlock from New York via last winter’s Rule 5 Draft before adding both veteran reliever Adam Ottavino and right-handed pitching prospect Frank German in a January trade with the Bronx Bombers.

A native of New York himself, Locastro was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 13th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Ithaca College. He was traded to the Dodgers along with left-hander Chase De Jong for two international bonus slots two years later and made his major-league debut for Los Angeles in September 2017.

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Dodgers dealt Locastro to the Yankees, who then traded him to the Diamondbacks prior to the start of spring training in 2019. He spent the entirety of the 2019 and 2020 campaigns with Arizona before getting traded to New York again for right-hander Keegan Curtis this past July.

With the Diamondbacks this year, Locastro slashed .178/.271/.220 with two doubles, one home run, five RBI, 11 runs scored, five stolen bases, six walks, and 26 strikeouts over 55 games spanning 133 plate appearances. Following the trade, the right-handed hitter appeared in just nine games with the Yankees before tearing his ACL in a game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on July 17.

On July 21, Locastro underwent season-ending knee surgery, which was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Last month, MLB.com reported that Locastro “could begin running in October or November and he is expected to be active by the beginning of the 2022 season.”

Known for his elite speed and versatility, Locastro, who does not turn 30 until next July, has stolen 31 bases on 34 attempts across 209 major-league games between the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Yankees while seeing time at all three outfield positions.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Locastro has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster, which now sits at 35 players. He is slated to become eligible for salary arbitration for the first time in his career next season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in 2022.

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)