Red Sox select Zack Littell to active roster, option Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox selected the contract of right-hander Zack Littell and have added him to the active roster, the club announced prior to Saturday’s game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

In order to make room for Littell on the 26-man roster, fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for him on the 40-man roster, outfielder Adam Duvall was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.

Boston acquired Littell from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations on Friday. The 27-year-old had a May 1 upward mobility clause in his minor-league deal with the Rangers, which required Texas to either promote or trade him if another club was willing to call him up.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox expressed a willingness to add Littell to their big-league roster, which led to Friday’s trade taking place.

Littell spent the first month of the 2023 season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock after signing a minors pact with Texas in February. In eight relief appearances for the Express, the righty posted a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to two walks over 12 innings of work.

A former 11th-round draft selection of the Mariners out of Eastern Alamance High School (N.C.) in 2013, Littell made his major-league debut in 2018 and owns a lifetime 4.08 ERA (4.66 FIP) with 151 strikeouts to 60 walks in 145 career outings (four starts, 169 2/3 innings) between the Twins and Giants.

After a breakout 2021 campaign in which he produced a 2.92 ERA in a career-high 63 appearances for San Francisco, Littell struggled to a 5.08 ERA across 44 1/3 innings last season. He most notably got in a heated argument with manager Gabe Kapler after getting pulled from a game in September and was later outrighted by the Giants before electing free agency in November.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Littell operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s slider, and a mid-80s splitter, per Baseball Savant.

Littell, who will wear the No. 52 with the Red Sox, is out of minor-league options. In other words, the North Carolina native has to stick on Boston’s 40-man roster or he will otherwise be designated for assignment if the club intends on sending him back to the minors by hoping he clears waivers.

Ort, meanwhile, returns to Worcester after a brief one-day stint with the Red Sox. The 31-year-old was called up on Friday night to take the roster spot of Kutter Crawford, who was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain. He did not pitch in Friday’s win over the Phillies.

Duvall has been on the injured list since April 10 due to a distal radius fracture in his left wrist. The 34-year-old slugger did not require surgery and has since transitioned from a hard cast to a removable splint. While he has yet to swing a bat, he has been running and doing other conditioning work, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Because he was transferred to the 60-day injured list, Duvall cannot be activated June 9 at the earliest. It remains to be seen if he will require the minimum 60 days or will still be sidelined beyond that date.

(Picture of Zack Littel: Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)


Red Sox acquire reliever Zack Littell in minor trade with Rangers

The Red Sox have acquired right-handed reliever Zack Littell from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations, according to’s Kennedi Landry.

Littell had been with Texas’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock and was not the club’s 40-man roster. The 27-year-old will report to Triple-A Worcester in the coming days, per’s Chris Cotillo.

A former 11th-round draft selection of the Mariners out of Eastern Alamance High School (N.C.) in 2013, Littell made his major-league debut for the Twins at the age of 22 in 2018. He spent parts of three seasons in Minnesota, pitching to a 4.52 ERA in 43 appearances (two starts) spanning 63 2/3 innings of work.

Littell was outrighted off the Twins’ 40-man roster at the conclusion of the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and signed a minor-league contract with the Giants the following February. The righty enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 by posting a 2.92 ERA over a career-high 63 appearances (two starts, 61 2/3) innings) for San Francisco. He then fell back to earth in 2022 (5.08 ERA in 44 1/3 innings) and most notably got in a heated argument with manager Gabe Kapler after getting pulled from a game last September.

The Giants subsequently parted ways with Littell in November, which allowed him to sign a minors pact with the Rangers earlier this spring. For his career, Littel owns a lifetime 4.08 ERA with 151 strikeouts to 60 walks across 145 outings (four starts) and 169 2/3 innings at the major-league level. Ahead of Friday’s trade, he had forged a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to two walks in eight relief appearances (12 innings) for Round Rock to begin the 2023 season.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Littell operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s slider, and a mid-80s splitter, per Baseball Savant. The North Carolina native should provide the Red Sox with some emergency bullpen depth in Worcester alongside the likes of Taylor Broadway, Jake Faria, Justin Garza, Andrew Politi, and Ryan Sheriff, among others.

As things stand now, the Red Sox currently have four relievers on the injured list in Kutter Crawford, Zack Kelly, Wyatt Mills, and Joely Rodriguez. Crawford was placed on the 15-day injured list because of a left hamstring strain earlier Friday afternoon. Kaleb Ort was recalled from Worcester to take his place on the big-league roster for the time being.

(Picture of Zack Littel: Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire infield prospect Ángel Pierre from Royals to complete Adalberto Mondesí trade

When the Red Sox acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi from the Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor back in January, they also ensured that they would be receiving a player to be named later or cash considerations as part of the deal.

That player to be named later was revealed earlier Sunday afternoon, as Boston announced it had acquired infield prospect Angel Pierre from Kansas City to complete the Mondesi/Taylor swap from Jan. 24.

Pierre, 19, signed with the Royals as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic last January. The right-handed hitter made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League and batted .300/.424/.500 with 11 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 19 RBIs, 23 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 21 walks, and 31 strikeouts in 33 games (125 plate appearances) for Kansas City’s DSL Stewart affiliate.

Despite signing as a shortstop, Pierre saw the majority of his playing time last year come at third base. The 6-foot, 170-pound infielder logged 188 innings at the hot corner, 33 innings at short, and three innings at second base while committing 13 total errors.

Outside of these statistics, there is not much else available on Pierre as far as a scouting report is concerned. At this point, it remains to be seen if the San Pedro de Macoris native will return to the Dominican Summer League or make the jump to the Florida Complex League in his first season as a member of the Red Sox organization.

Mondesi, meanwhile, will not be making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster later this month. The speedy 27-year-old will instead begin the season on the injured list as he continues to work his way back from a torn left ACL that required surgery last May.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes takes apparent shot at Chaim Bloom when reflecting on time with Red Sox: ‘That organization represents so much more than who’s currently running it’

Former Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes had the opportunity to watch his old team take on his new team in Grapefruit League action on Tuesday night. The Marlins right-hander decided against it.

Barnes pitched in Miami’s 4-3 win over the Astros on Monday. As such, the righty was not required to in attendance for Tuesday’s tilt against Boston. He instead left Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium for his apartment after lunch, well before the Red Sox defeated the Marlins, 7-2, to remain unbeaten this spring.

It has now been a little over a month since the Red Sox designated Barnes for assignment and subsequently traded him to the Marlins for left-handed reliever Richard Bleier. At that time, the 32-year-old described the decision as “a complete blindside.”

Though four-plus weeks have passed since he was moved, Barnes told Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe that while he holds no grudge against the organization he spent the first 12 years of his professional career with, he does take issue with who is running the club at present.

“I’m not mad and I don’t have any animosity toward the Red Sox organization because that organization represents so much more than who’s currently running it,” Barnes said. “The people at the top were so great to me.”

According to Abraham, Barnes “mentioned being grateful” to Red Sox ownership, general manager Brian O’Halloran, and assistant general managers Eddie Romero and Raquel Ferreira. He did not make any mention of chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, however.

Bloom, of course, made the decision to give Barnes a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension in July 2021. At that point in time, Barnes was among the top relievers in the American League and had just been named to his first All-Star Game.

After posting a 2.61 ERA during the first half of the 2021 campaign, though, Barnes struggled to a 6.48 ERA in 22 appearances (16 2/3 innings) down the stretch. He only made Boston’s ALDS roster as an injury replacement that October and was left off the ALCS roster entirely.

Last year, Barnes got off a rough start in which he produced a 7.94 ERA in 20 games before hitting the injured list with right shoulder inflammation in early June. He returned to action two months later and ended his season on a strong note by forging a 1.59 ERA in his final 24 outings. The Red Sox, however, were convinced that those numbers did not reflect Barnes’ true performance.

“They told me I was lucky,” said Barnes. “Unfortunately, a lot of people in this game make decisions based on a spreadsheet.”

This appears to be another indirect shot at Bloom, who explained in January that while he holds Barnes in high regard, the decision to move on from him had more to do with giving other relievers in the organization — especially those who still have minor-league options — an extended look in 2023.

“This was not an easy move. But one that we felt was the right one,” Bloom told reporters (including’s Chris Cotillo) on Jan. 24. “It wasn’t anything bad about Matt, who I’m sure is going to continue to have success in his career. It was a reflection of where we thought we were and how we saw the pen coming together and what those other guys have a chance to do for us.”

Cotillo also reported on Tuesday that he was always told Bloom was one of Barnes’ “biggest fans (if not the biggest) in the organization. There was not a lot of surprise when it was Barnes who got the rare in-season extension.”

In trading Barnes to the Marlins, the Red Sox agreed to send Miami $5.5 million in cash considerations as part of the deal. Barnes, who turns 33 in June, can become a free agent for the first time next winter if his $8 million club option for 2024 is not picked up at the end of the year. He told Abraham that he is looking forward to a fresh start with a new team.

“It’s been great here so far. The guys are awesome; the staff is awesome,” Barnes said. “We have some really good talent on this team. I’ve seen that in a few weeks. As weird as it’s been, the adjustment has been pretty good. But it’s hard when you go from knowing everybody to knowing nobody.”

Following Tuesday’s exhibition contest in Jupiter, the Red Sox will not see the Marlins again until they host them in a three-game series from June 27-29. Barnes said he will save being “buddy-buddy” with his former teammates and coaches until he steps into Fenway Park as a visitor for the first time in his big-league career.

“I know I was fortunate to play as long as I did in Boston,” he added. “But I’ve got some good years left in me. We have a lot of talent in this clubhouse and we’re here to win.”

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox need to add Enmanuel Valdez to 40-man roster this month in order to prevent him from reaching free agency

Enmanuel Valdez is eligible to become a minor-league free agent this offseason. The Red Sox, therefore, have until five days following the conclusion of the World Series to add the versatile 23-year-old to their 40-man roster in order to prevent him from hitting the open market.

Boston acquired Valdez and fellow prospect Wilyer Abreu from the Astros in the August trade that sent veteran catcher Christian Vazquez to Houston. Both players can become eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft if they are not added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in the coming weeks.

As noted by’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox could elect to re-sign Valdez to a minor-league contract. But that would still leave him (and Abreu) exposed to the Rule 5 Draft if they were not added to the 40-man prior to the November deadline.

In 2016, the Red Sox saw Josh Rutledge leave for the Rockies via minor-league free agency. They then re-acquired Rutledge by selecting him from Colorado in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The following year, they added Bryce Brentz to the 40-man roster after the 2017 World Series in order to block him from reaching minor-league free agency. These are just a few past examples provided by Smith.

Valdez, who turns 24 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The native Dominican originally signed with Houston for $450,000 as an international free agent coming out San Juan de la Maguna in July 2015.

At the time the three-player trade between the Red Sox and Astros was made this summer, Valdez was batting .327/.410/.606 with 26 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 77 RBIs, 66 runs scored, five stolen bases, 45 walks, and 73 strikeouts in 82 games (378 plate appearances) between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land.

Upon switching organizations for the first time in his career, the left-handed hitter proceeded to slash .237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven homers, 30 runs driven in, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 44 games (195 plate appearances) for Triple-A Worcester.

Though his production dropped off with the WooSox, Valdez still posted a 131 wRC+ on the 2022 season as a whole and was named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Year as a result.

Defensively, Valdez saw the majority of his playing time in Worcester come in left field. The 5-foot-9, 191-pounder logged 330 innings at the keystone and 24 innings at third. He also made three starts in left field and has limited experience in right field as well.

Given that he is only one promotion away from the big-leagues, it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would risk losing Valdez this winter and will instead add him to their 40-man roster sooner rather than later. It is also worth mentioning that, after outrighting Tyler Danish on Monday, Boston currently has 39 players on its 40-man roster. Perhaps that spot will go to Valdez.

In the meantime, Valdez has been playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. Coming into play on Tuesday, he has gone 6-for-28 (.214) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, and six strikeouts in nine games with the Toros del Este.

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from Brewers and assign him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have acquired veteran outfielder Abraham Almonte from the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations, per the club’s transactions log.

Almonte, 33, should provide the Sox with experienced outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester. The WooSox were likely in need of some outfield help anyway with Jaylin Davis, Jarren Duran, and Rob Refsnyder all currently up in Boston.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons who appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in 2021, Almonte signed a minor-league contract with Milwaukee last October.

After failing to make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, Almonte began the 2022 season at Triple-A Nashville. In 48 games with the Sounds, the switch-handed hitter batted .294/.380/.533 to go along with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 25 walks, and 48 strikeouts across 213 trips to the plate.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 223 pounds, Almonte originally signed with the Yankees as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. The Santo Domingo native broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for the the Padres, Guardians, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Braves.

At the big-league level, Almonte owns a career slash line of .234/.302/.374 with 23 home runs, 116 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases over 440 total games. Defensively, Almonte unsurprisingly has experience at all three outfield positions. The majority of his playing time in the majors has come in center, though he had only played the corners while in Nashville this season.

With the addition of Almonte, the WooSox now have five outfielders listed on their active roster. The Red Sox made a similar sort of move last season when they acquired Delino DeShields Jr. from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. DeShields Jr. appeared in 18 games for Worcester in August before being dealt to the Reds at the end of the month.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade Silvino Bracho to Braves for cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded reliever Silvino Bracho to the Braves in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced Thursday night.

Bracho had just been designated for assignment after spending the last two days on Boston’s big-league roster. The right-hander was initially called up on Tuesday in place of Connor Seabold to provide the Sox with an extra reliever for the remainder of their series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

He did not get into a game, however, and lost his spot on both the 26- and 40-man roster on Thursday when the Red Sox activated fellow righty Tanner Houck — who cannot travel to Canada on account of his unvaccinated status — from the restricted list ahead of their weekend series with the Cubs in Chicago.

The 29-year-old originally signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox back in March and began the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. He posted a 3.16 ERA and 2.58 FIP with 36 strikeouts to four walks over 18 appearances (1 start) spanning 31 1/3 innings of work for the WooSox before having his contract selected on Tuesday.

Bracho, who turns 30 in less than three weeks, now joins a new organization after only spending a few hours in DFA limbo. The native Venezuelan first signed with the Diamondbacks as an international free agent in August 2011 and broke in with Arizona four years later.

In his first four seasons with the D-backs, Bracho posted a 4.67 ERA across 91 relief appearances. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2019 and was limited to just one outing during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

Since he spent all of 2021 with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, Bracho has just one big-league appearance under his belt in the last three years. Because he is out of minor-league options, Bracho will have to stick with the Braves or will otherwise risk being designated for assignment again.

(Picture of Silvino Bracho: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire right-hander James Norwood from Phillies

The Red Sox have acquired right-hander James Norwood from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations, the team announced on Saturday.

Norwood, 28, was designated for assignment by Philadelphia last Monday after posting an 8.31 ERA — but a much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 22 strikeouts to nine walks over 20 relief appearances (17 1/3 innings) with the club this season.

Before this move was made, Boston’s 40-man roster was at 39 players since Christian Arroyo is on the COVID-19 related injured list. They therefore did not need to make a corresponding move in order to add Norwood, who is out of minor-league options.

A native of New York City, Norwood was originally selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2014 amateur draft out of St. Louis University. The righty broke in with Chicago in 2018 and has since produced a 5.48 ERA (3.73 FIP) in 48 career major-league outings between the Cubs, Padres, and Phillies.

Per Baseball Savant, Norwood operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a splitter, and a slider. The 6-foot-2, 215 pound hurler has averaged 96.6 mph with his four-seamer this season, which ranks in the 91st percentile of qualified big-league pitchers.

Because he is out of options, the Red Sox will have to keep Norwood on their 26-man roster or will otherwise have to expose him to waivers if they wish for him to remain in the organization at Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of James Norwood: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Red Sox infield prospect Alex Binelas has plenty of raw power

Alex Binelas enters his first season with the Red Sox as the organization’s No. 17 prospect, according to Baseball America’s rankings.

After being selected by the Brewers in the third round of last year’s draft out of the University of Louisville, Binelas’ time with his hometown team came to an abrupt end when he (and fellow prospect David Hamilton) was traded to the Red Sox alongside outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for Hunter Renfroe in early December.

It was a move that evoked plenty of emotion for Binelas, a Wisconsin native who grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee and less than 20 miles away from American Family Field.

When he was taken by the Brewers last July, Binelas had just recently wrapped up his third and final season with Louisville. In 50 games with the Cardinals, the 21-year-old junior slashed .256/.348/.621 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs across 230 trips to the plate.

Regarded by Baseball America as the 77th-ranked draft-eligible prospect in the 2021 class, Binelas signed with Milwaukee for $700,000 and was assigned to the rookie-level Arizona Complex League Brewers Gold out of the gate. It took all of seven games for the left-handed hitting infielder to earn a promotion to Low-A Carolina on August 16.

Spending the rest of his debut season with the Mudcats, Binelas batted a stout .314/.379/.636 to go along with 11 doubles, nine homers, 27 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 12 walks, and 33 strikeouts over 29 games spanning 132 plate appearances.

Among all Low-A East hitters who made at least 130 trips to the plate in 2021, Binelas ranked ninth in batting average, 35th in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS (1.014), third in isolated power (.322), and fifth in wRC+ (163), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Binelas saw time at both corner infield positions in his first exposure to pro ball, as was the case throughout his college career. With Carolina in particular, the 6-foot-3, 225 pounder logged a total of 42 2/3 innings at first base and 167 innings at the hot corner.

Since he was unaffected by this off-season’s lockout, Binelas was one of several Red Sox minor-leaguers who participated in the team’s Winter Warm-Up program back in January. Spring training began shortly thereafter, allowing Binelas to see some action in one Grapefruit League game thus far.

Two days before making his Grapefruit League debut this past Thursday, Binelas was identified by Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes as one of the top raw power prospects in the game since he hit the ball hard and far on a consistent basis last year.

Binelas, who turns 22 in May, is projected by to make the jump to High-A Greenville for the start of the 2022 campaign. His first full season as a professional should be one worth watching.

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox infield prospect Nick Sogard joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox infield prospect Nick Sogard.

Sogard, 24, was traded from the Rays to the Red Sox last February alongside catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez. The switch-hitting infielder spent the 2021 season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland and batted .276/.346/.461 with 13 home runs, 42 RBIs, and eight stolen bases over 80 games.

Among the topics Nick and I discussed are how he found about the trade and his initial reaction to it, his relationship with his older cousin Eric Sogard, what he thought of his 2021 season, his defensive versatility, the key differences in the level of competition between High-A and Double-A, going back-and-forth between the two levels, how he spent part of his off-season in Nashville, what he has made of spring training in Fort Myers so far, getting to work with Alex Cora a little bit, his expectations for the 2022 season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

My thanks to Nick for taking some time out of his spring schedule to have a conversation with yours truly. You can follow Nick on Twitter (@NickSogard22) by clicking here and on Instagram (@Nick_Sogard) by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Nick Sogard: Kelly O’Connor/