Red Sox sign University of Connecticut catcher Matt Donlan

The Red Sox have agreed to terms with undrafted University of Connecticut catcher Matt Donlan, the school announced following the conclusion of Tuesday’s draft.

Donlan, 22, was not regarded as one of the top catching prospects in this year’s draft class. As a non-drafted free-agent, the Connecticut native can sign with Boston for up to $125,000.

After beginning his collegiate career at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., Donlan transferred to UCONN, but was not eligible to play in 2021. So, in his one season with the Huskies, the right-handed hitter batted .260/.375/.489 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, 60 RBIs, 47 runs scored, three stolen bases, 27 walks, and 55 strikeouts over 61 games spanning 265 plate appearances.

From behind the plate, Donlan — equipped with a strong arm — threw out 22 of the 42 base runners who attempted to steal off him this spring. In terms of accolades, the 6-foot-3, 213-pound backstop earned First Team All-Big East and College Park Regional Most Outstanding Player honors for his performance in both the regular and postseason.

Donlan, who turns 23 in November, will likely begin his pro career in the rookie-level Florida Complex League upon officially putting pen to paper. Other Red Sox catching prospects who are currently down in Fort Myers include Enderso Lira, Daniel McElveny, and Diego Viloria, among others.

(Picture of Matt Donlan: University of Connecticut Athletics)


Is right-hander Jacob Wallace ‘the best pure relief prospect’ in the Red Sox’ farm system?

It has been roughly 18 months since the Red Sox traded veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Rockies for a player to be named later in August 2020. Less than three weeks later, the trade was completed when Boston acquired pitching prospect Jacob Wallace from Colorado.

A former third-round draft pick of the Rockies in 2019, Wallace drew immediate interest from the Red Sox fanbase since he hails from Methuen, Mass. and played his college baseball at the University of Connecticut.

After making his organizational debut at fall instructs, Wallace entered last spring ranked by Baseball America as the No. 28 prospect in the Sox’ farm system. The right-handed reliever broke minor-league camp with High-A Greenville, though he did not get off to the best of starts.

In his first 27 appearances out of the bullpen for the Drive, Wallace struggled to the tune of a 7.96 ERA and 5.66 FIP to go along with 43 strikeouts to 19 walks over 31 2/3 innings of work.

That miserable stretch lasted from May 5 through Aug. 1. Four days later, it was almost as if a flip had switched for Wallace when he punched out four of the six batters he faced in two scoreless frames against the Rome Braves at Fluor Field.

From that point on, the 23-year-old seemingly turned his 2021 around for the better by posting a 2.12 ERA and miniscule 1.12 FIP while recording 33 strikeouts to just six walks across his final 12 outings (17 innings pitched) of the year.

Most notably, Wallace made some history when he tossed the ninth and final inning of a combined no-hitter against the Asheville Tourists on September 2. Jeremy Wu-Yelland had started that contest and hurled five shutout frames, while Jose Espada Oddanier Mosqueda combined for three scoreless innings before Wallace closed out a 6-0 victory for Greenville.

Among High-A East pitchers who accrued at least 40 innings on the mound last season, Wallace ranked sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (14.05), 10th in strikeout rate (34.5%), and fourth in swinging strike rate (18.5%), per FanGraphs.

While Wallace was clearly among the top strike throwers at the High-A level in 2021, the righty still seemed to struggle with his control to some degree. His 4.62 walks per nine innings and 11.4% walk rate last year are indicators of that.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Wallace utilizes a unique delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 96-98 mph fastball, an 84-86 mph slider, and a slider that he added after turning pro, according to his scouting report.

Along those same lines,’s director of scouting Ian Cundall tweeted on Monday that he believes Wallace is “the best pure relief prospect in the system” and “could move quick if he can build on his end to 2021.”

Wallace, who does not turn 24 until August, is currently projected by to begin the 2022 minor-league season with Double-A Portland. The hard-throwing hurler can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career next winter, so the Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by late November if they want to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Jacob Wallace courtesy of the Greenville Drive)

Might Red Sox consider adding George Springer if free-agent outfielder remains unsigned going into spring training?

Alongside the likes of Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer remains one of the top free-agents still on the market.

The 31-year-old is coming off a 2020 season with the Astros in which he posted a .265/.359/.540 slash to go along with 14 home runs and 32 RBI over 51 games played, which was enough to finish 13th in American League MVP voting.

While there have not been too many definitive rumblings as to where Springer could land this offseason, it is apparent that the Blue Jays and the Mets are pursuing the three-time All-Star the hardest.

That being the case because according to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, “indications are [Toronto’s] No. 1 free-agent priority is still center fielder George Springer.”

MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi, meanwhile, notes that Springer “has drawn the most significant interest from the Blue Jays and Mets” and “the 31-year-old is said to have a preference to play near his home state of Connecticut.”

Given that reported preference, Springer — a UCONN product — would seem more likely to lean towards signing with the Mets, although New York might be limited in what they can do now in order to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

As SNY’s Andy Martino wrote on Friday, “Once the Mets traded for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco last week, their pursuit of Springer downshifted significantly, according to people involved in the talks.”

Martino also reports that Springer, who does not turn 32 until September, has a five-year deal on the table from the Blue Jays worth anywhere from $115 million to $125 million.

Assuming what has already been reported is true, it does not seem like the two-time Silver Slugger will remain on the open market for too much longer.

That being said, the possibility still remains that Springer could remain unsigned going into the start of spring training, as has been the case with past coveted free-agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in 2019.

In that scenario, it might not be too crazy for a team that has not been seriously linked to the right-handed hitting, 6-foot-3, 221 lb. outfielder to this point, like the Red Sox for instance, to explore a potential deal there.

Of course, any team outside of the Astros that signs Springer would have to forfeit a second-round draft pick as well as $500,000 in international signing bonus pool money due to the fact that Houston extended a qualifying offer, which was later rejected, to its former first-round draft pick in November.

Even with that caveat in mind, though, the Sox could at least consider negotiating with Springer if he is still a free agent come mid to late-February.’s Chris Cotillo discussed that possibility with’s Ian Browne and The Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam on the latest installment of the Fenway Rundown podcast.

“I think if the bottom falls out of this George Springer market, and he is unsigned into spring training, which it feels like the Mets aren’t going there, the Blue Jays are a lot of talk and not a lot of action like another team we know… If the bottom really falls out of that, I think [the Red Sox] will legitimately consider whether it’s worth giving up a second-round pick for him. He might be the one exception to that rule there,” Cotillo said.

“He has the talent of somebody you would give up a second-round pick for. That would justify cheaping out on some of these other guys if they go out and get George Springer,” Browne added.

“He solves a ton of problems. He gives you an above-average defender in center — I don’t think he’s equal to [Jackie Bradley Jr.] but he’s good — but more importantly…he’s a terrific leadoff option. So you don’t have to worry about, in the event that [Andrew] Benintendi somehow stayed, putting [Benintendi] there since he’s not crazy about it. [Alex] Verdugo, I think, has made it well known that while he’ll do it, he’d prefer to hit lower. So it takes care of your leadoff guy.

“And as we know, Springer has shown himself to be a fabulous October player. He’s had a ton of experience on the big stage with Houston the last four years. So, presumably, if someone can do that in the big moment in October, then playing in Boston with expectations would not be anything that would rattle him. Of course, he’s got a New England background having gone to UCONN,” said McAdam.

“And Alex Cora. There are some damaged relationships from all the fallout of the Astros’ scandal. That’s not one of them. Alex has said that he communicates with Springer pretty frequently, so that won’t be an issue,” concluded Cotillo.

So, even though Queens may be slightly closer to New Britain, Conn. — Springer’s hometown — than Boston, it’s probably fair to say that the Red Sox, with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom at the helm, cannot be ruled out of the Springer sweepstakes at this point in time.

If push were to come to shove within the next few weeks, then perhaps former UCONN right-hander turned Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, who was teammates with Springer on the Huskies baseball team from 2009-2011, would be willing to do some recruiting as well.

(Picture of George Springer: Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)