Red Sox roster moves: Yu Chang activated, Jeurys Familia designated for assignment, Jaylin Davis outrighted

The Red Sox made a series of roster moves before wrapping up a quick two-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, was added to the active roster. To make room on the 28-man roster for Chang, veteran reliever Jeurys Familia was officially designated for assignment.

Additionally, outfielder Jaylin Davis, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Chang, 27, will be playing for his fourth team this season. The Taiwan native began the year with the Guardians before being traded to the Pirates for cash considerations in late May. He was then designated for assignment by Pittsburgh and claimed by Tampa Bay in early July.

Between the three clubs, Chang has batted .236/.278/.349 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (164 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed a more respectable .260/.305/.385 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 36 games (105 plate appearances with the Rays.

Chang originally signed with the Guardians for $500,000 as an international free agent coming out of Taitung in June 2013. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was once regarded as one of the top prospects in Cleveland’s farm system but he has not been able to find his footing at the big-league level.

That being said, the Red Sox still took a chance on Chang and his versatility likely played a role in that since he has experience at all four infield positions. Since he is out of minor-league options, though, Boston will need to keep Chang on its active roster if it does not intend on exposing him to waivers.

Chang, who will wear the No. 12 with the Sox, is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, but he should be available off the bench if needed.

Familia, on the other hand, saw his Red Sox tenure come to an end on Tuesday night after a disastrous 10th inning against the Yankees. The right-hander loaded the bases with two outs before giving up a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres that lifted New York to a 7-6 victory.

After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March, Familia struggled to a 6.09 ERA in 38 appearances before being cut loose by Philadelphia in early August. The former All-Star closer then inked a minors pact with the Red Sox before having his contract selected on Aug. 9.

Since joining Boston’s bullpen, Familia has posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.15 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings spanning 10 1/3 innings of work. Tuesday’s performance was the last straw for the 32-year-old hurler, who made the announcement himself that he had been designated for assignment.

Given that he will likely clear waivers in the coming days, Familia said Tuesday night that he plans on returning home to the Dominican Republic to rest up and then prepare for whatever opportunities may present themselves next year.

UPDATE: Familia cleared waivers on Friday and rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency, the Red Sox announced.

By removing Familia and adding Chang, the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their active roster for the time being. They also have a vacancy on their 40-man roster.

Davis, meanwhile, was designated for assignment so that the Red Sox could add Chang to their 40-man roster on Monday. The 28-year-old was initially claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been removed from Boston’s 40-man roster on two separate occasions.

Each time, Davis cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to Worcester, where he is batting .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games with the WooSox. In two stints with Boston, the right-handed hitter has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. 

(Picture of Yu Chang: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose Phillips Valdez on waivers to Mariners

The Red Sox lost reliever Phillips Valdez on waivers to the Mariners over the weekend. Seattle claimed Valdez on Friday and promptly optioned him to its Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Wash.

Boston had designated Valdez for assignment three days prior in order to create space for Josh Winckowski, who did not count against the club’s 40-man roster while he was out on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Valdez, 30, was originally claimed by the Red Sox off waivers from the Mariners in February 2020. The right-hander made Boston’s Opening Day roster that summer and impressed during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign by posting a 3.26 ERA with 30 strikeouts to 16 walks over a career-high 24 relief appearances (30 1/3 innings pitched).

After producing a 5.85 ERA in 2021, Valdez had spent much of the 2022 campaign with the Red Sox being shuttled between Boston and Triple-A Worcester. With the big-league club, the Dominican-born hurler pitched to a 4.41 ERA (3.92 FIP) with 13 punchouts to seven walks across 13 outings spanning 16 1/3 innings of work. With the WooSox, he yielded a 3.06 ERA to go along with 19 strikeouts to 14 walks over 17 2/3 innings of relief.

Equipped with a changeup, sinker, and slider, Valdez has but one option year remaining, meaning the Mariners could stash him away at Triple-A for the rest of the season if they so choose.

That being said, Valdez made his Rainiers debut on Sunday, pitching a scoreless eighth inning in an 8-3 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas. He was followed by another former Red Sox reliever in Fernando Abad, who worked a shutout ninth inning to preserve the victory.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Michael Feliz elects free agency after being outrighted off Red Sox’ 40-man roster

Four days after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox, reliever Michael Feliz has cleared waivers and has elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Worcester.

Feliz made one appearance for Boston after having his contract selected from Worcester last week. Taking the place of the injured Tyler Danish on the major-league roster, the right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit, two walks, and four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings of relief against the Yankees on July 8.

The following day, Feliz — who is out of minor-league options — lost his spot on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster when fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was called up from the WooSox.

Since he has accrued more than five years of big-league service time, Feliz had the ability to reject an assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency should he clear waivers, which is exactly what happened on Wednesday.

Now, Feliz is free to sign elsewhere. The 29-year-old hurler from the Dominican Republic could appeal to other clubs given the fact he posted a 3.28 ERA and 2.85 FIP with 28 strikeouts to nine walks across 18 appearances (three starts) and 24 2/3 innings for the WooSox this season.

(Picture of Michael Feliz: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright James Norwood to Triple-A Worcester after right-hander clears waivers

Five days after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox, right-hander James Norwood has cleared waivers and has therefore been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

The Sox originally acquired Norwood from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations last Saturday. The hard-throwing 28-year-old spent one day on Boston’s major-league roster before being designated for assignment on Monday so that the club could create an opening for infielder Jeter Downs.

While he did not appear in a game with the Red Sox, Norwood does own an 8.31 ERA — but much more respectable 3.65 FIP — with 22 strikeouts to nine walks over 20 relief appearances (17 1/3 innings) for the Phillies this season.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound hurler works with a four-seam fastball that has averaged 98.6 mph this year, a split-finger fastball, and a slider.

Norwood, who is out of minor-league options, will join a WooSox bullpen that includes several relievers with prior big-league experience like Kaleb Ort, Eduard Bazardo, Silvino Bracho, Taylor Cole, Geoff Hartlieb, Michael Feliz, and Phillips Valdez.

(Picture of James Norwood: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Eduard Bazardo to Triple-A Worcester after right-hander clears waivers

Three days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox announced on Sunday that right-hander Eduard Bazardo had cleared waivers and had been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester.

Bazardo, 26, was one of two pitchers (the other being Ralph Garza Jr.) Boston designated for assignment last Thursday in order to clear 40-man roster spots for the additions of Hansel Robles and Travis Shaw.

While Garza Jr. was quickly claimed by the division rival Rays, Bazardo remains in the Red Sox organization after spending a few days in limbo.

The Venezuelan-born righty was originally signed by Boston for just $8,000 as an international free agent in 2014. It took some time for Bazardo to rise to relevance, but he did so at fall instructs in 2020, where he displayed increased fastball velocity to ultimately earn a spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster that November.

The Red Sox added Bazardo to their 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He made two appearances (including his debut) with the big-league club in 2021, though he was also sidelined for about three months due to a right lat strain.

During spring training this year, Bazardo was used in just one Grapefruit League game before losing his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster ahead of Opening Day. According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the 6-foot, 187 pound hurler was completely healthy.

“That decision goes above me,” Cora said on Thursday. “He was healthy and he pitched on the backfields. He only pitched in one game but everything went fine. Our roster is becoming harder and harder, especially the last two years. That’s a good problem to have, right? Because you have good pitchers, good players. It was a tough decision toward the end. There were a few guys that we talk about it.”

Cora had also been hopeful that Bazardo would clear waivers and stick with the organization as a non-40-man player, which turned out to be the case.

Now that he has been outrighted to Worcester, Bazardo joins an intriguing WooSox bullpen that includes others with major-league experience such as Taylor Cole, Tyler Danish, Michael Feliz, Geoff Hartlieb, Derek Holland, Kaleb Ort, and John Schreiber.

Considering that he has two minor-league option years remaining and does not turn 27 until September, it would not be all that surprising if Bazardo found his way back into the Red Sox’ bullpen mix at some point down the line.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Hudson Potts to minor-leagues after infielder clears waivers

Three days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have outrighted infielder Hudson Potts to the minor-leagues, the club announced on Friday afternoon.

Boston had designated Potts for assignment earlier this week when they needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for right-hander Kyle Tyler, who has since been designated for assignment himself.

Potts, 23, was one of two prospects (the other being outfielder Jeisson Rosario) the Red Sox acquired from the Padres in the trade that sent veteran first baseman to San Diego in August 2020.

A former first-round draft pick of the Padres in 2016, Potts was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November 2020 and entered the 2021 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 27 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

After dealing with an oblique injury during spring training, Potts missed the first month or so of the minor-league season and did not make his debut with Double-A Portland until June 10. Limited to just 78 games with the Sea Dogs, the right-handed hitter slashed .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 307 plate appearances.

Defensively, Potts was used strictly as a third baseman with Portland despite having prior experience at every other infield position. The 6-foot-3, 205 pounder logged a total of 609 2/3 innings at the hot corner in 2021.

Before losing his spot on the 40-man roster on Tuesday, Potts had appeared in four Grapefruit League games this spring and had gone 0-for-7 with one walk and four strikeouts. Since the Texas native cleared waivers, the Red Sox retain his services as a non-40-man player.

Coming into the 2022 campaign, Potts is regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 53rd-ranked prospect in the organization. He is projected by the site to return to Portland for the start of the minor-league season, which begins next month.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox claim Ralph Garza off waivers from Twins, designate Kyle Tyler for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Ralph Garza off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, the club announced on Thursday afternoon. In order to make room for Garza on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Kyle Tyler was designated for assignment.

Garza, who turns 28 next month, had been designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday so that Minnesota could accommodate the addition of star free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa.

The 27-year-old was originally selected by the Astros in the 26th round of the 2015 amateur draft out of the University of Houston and broke in with Houston just last year.

Just nine outings into his Astros career, though, Garza was designated for assignment on August 1 and was subsequently scooped up by the Twins three days later.

After spending a little more than a week with Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate, Garza was recalled by the big-league club on Aug. 14. He closed out the year with the Twins by posting a 3.26 ERA and 4.88 FIP to go along with 15 strikeouts to seven walks over 18 relief appearances spanning 19 1/3 innings of work.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Garza — a Texas native — operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a slider, sinker, four-seam fastball, cutter, changeup, curveball. His slider was his most-used pitch last year (31.1%) and opponents hit just .118 off it, per Baseball Savant.

Boston has already optioned Garza to Triple-A Worcester, so he should provide the Sox with some additional bullpen depth who has minor-league options remaining.

Tyler, on the other hand, loses his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster just two days after getting claimed off waivers from the Angels earlier this week. The 25-year debuted with Los Angeles last season and yielded a 2.92 ERA (5.20 FIP) in five appearances out of the Halos’ bullpen.

The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Tyler. It’s certainly possible that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are optimistic they can sneak the Oklahoman through waivers and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Ralph Garza: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim right-hander Kyle Tyler off waivers from Angels, designate infielder Hudson Potts for assignment

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels, the club announced on Tuesday. In order to make room for Tyler on the 40-man roster, infielder Hudson Potts was designated for assignment.

Tyler, 25, made his major-league debut with Los Angeles last September after originally being selected by the Halos in the 20th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma native posted a 2.92 ERA and 5.20 FIP to go along with six strikeouts and six walks over five appearances (12 1/3 innings pitched) out of the Halos’ bullpen.

Before getting called up for the final few weeks of the 2021 campaign, Tyler had spent the entirety of the year between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, producing a 3.66 ERA and 3.69 FIP with 92 strikeouts and 25 walks across 20 outings (14 starts) spanning 86 total innings of work.

At the midway point of the 2021 season, Tyler was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 28 prospect in the Angels’ farm system. The 6-foot, 185 pound hurler operates with a four-pitch mix that includes a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup, per Baseball Savant.

Boston was able to claim Tyler off waivers when he was designated for assignment by Los Angeles this past Saturday so that they could accommodate the addition of free-agent reliever Ryan Tepera.

Tyler, who does not turn 26 until December, has minor-league options remaining and has already been assigned to Triple-A Worcester. He should be joining the Red Sox at major-league camp soon and has the chance to provide his new club with versatile pitching depth as both a starter and reliever.

Potts, meanwhile, was one of two prospects (the other being outfielder Jeisson Rosario) the Red Sox acquired from the Padres in the trade that sent veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to San Diego in August 2020.

After being added to Boston’s 40-man roster that November, Potts missed the first month of the 2021 minor-league season due to an oblique injury. As a result, the right-handed hitting 23-year-old was limited to just 78 games with Double-A Portland and struggled to the tune of a .217/.264/.399 slash line with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs over 307 plate appearances.

A former first-round pick of the Padres in 2016, Potts entered the 2022 season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 53 prospect in the system. By taking him off their 40-man roster, the Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, waive, or release Potts.

If Potts goes unclaimed and clears waivers, he would remain with Boston as a non-40-man roster player. Since the Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity, they will need to clear another spot before making the signing of Trevor Story official.

(Picture of Kyle Tyler: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via 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)