The Red Sox have added a little more pitching depth to their organization, signing former major leaguer Blaine Boyer to a minor-league deal. The signing was announced via the PawSox twitter account.
#PawSox player moves. LHP Brian Johnson recalled to Boston (starts tonight). RHP Blaine Boyer, who has pitched for 7 MLB teams, signed as FA— PawSox (@PawSox) April 18, 2017
Now 35 years old, Boyer has been a journeyman throughout his major-league career, most recently spending all of 2016 in the Brewers bullpen. The righty tossed 66 innings over 61 outings for Milwaukee, pitching to a 3.95 ERA with a 4.00 FIP and a 5.38 DRA.
In terms of style, he is just about as boring of a pitcher as one could imagine. That’s not meant as an insult, because he’s gotten the job done in the past, but aesthetically speaking it’s not exactly sexy. Boyer hardly strikes anyone out, setting down just 3.5 batters per nine innings in 2016 and 5.6 per nine over his major-league career. He also doesn’t really walk anyone, with a BB/9 of 2.3 last year and 3.1 over his career. The career number is skewed by some earlier numbers, as he hasn’t had a rate over 2.6 since 2010. (He missed all of 2012 and 2013.) Instead, Boyer relies on a groundball-heavy approach. He induced them at a rate of 51 percent last year and has a career rate of 53 percent.
In terms of repertoire, he relies on a fastball/sinker/slider mix and occasionally tosses in a curveball. The fastball and sinker both averaged around 93 mph last year, per Brooks Baseball. The latter induced grounders on over 70 percent of balls in play. Meanwhile, the slider was his putaway pitch, as he produced a whiff rate over 20 percent with the pitch in 2016, far and away his highest rate in the repertoire.
At the end of the day, this is just another name to add the mix of fine-but-not-exciting bullpen depth options. Essentially, he is insurance in case guys like Kyle Martin, Noe Ramirez, Chandler Shepherd and Brandon Workman can’t take the next step. I wouldn’t anticipate seeing him in the majors any time soon — he’s at least behind Ben Taylor on the depth chart — but there’s always a chance he could surprise if he does get that chance. The Red Sox have a solid infield defense and that could be a huge boost for someone like Boyer. I wouldn’t bet on him being a mainstay in the bullpen at any point, but stranger things have happened.