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Red Sox sign a pair of relievers to minor-league deals

More small moves for the bullpen

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves
Dan Runzler

The Red Sox are continuing their strategy of not making major expenditures to supplement the bullpen, a strategy on which I have made my feelings clear. Theres really not much we can do about it if you are with me on the idea of bringing back Kimbrel, with the one consolation being that the offseason isn’t over yet. It’s not yet worth getting overly upset about something that still could happen, ya know?

In the meantime, they have clearly decided to load up on as many minor-league pacts as possible, particularly for players with major-league experience. They had two more join the already-large pack, signing Dan Runzler and Brian Ellington to minor-league deals.

We start with Runzler, whose deal was first reported by Chris Cotillo of Masslive. Runzler is a 33-year-old lefty with a few years of major-league experience, though most of that came almost a decade ago. The southpaw did toss four innings for the Pirates in 2017, but before that all of his major-league experience came with the Giants from 2009-2012. He didn’t pitch in any affiliated ball last year, instead pitching in the Independent Leagues for the Sugar Land Skeeters where he pitched to a 2.81 ERA over 53 appearances with almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Over his career, Runzler has pitched 76 13 innings at the highest level with over a strikeout per inning under his belt but also over five walks per nine innings. For his career he has a 3.89 ERA, a 3.52 FIP and a 4.22 DRA. Runzler is a fastball/slider pitcher, and in 2017 his fastball sat at an average of 95 mph. It’s unclear at this time whether or not he’ll get an invite to big-league camp.

The Ellington signing, meanwhile, comes to us from Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. He is a 28-year-old righty who has spent three years in the majors with the Marlins. He has pitched exclusively as a reliever in his major-league career, and he’s been pretty successful or not at all depending on your metric of choice. He does have two years of sub-3.00 ERA’s (in 25 and 33 innings, respectively), but both of those years were also paired with well below-average DRAs. Over his career, Ellington has thrown 102 23 innings in the majors with a 4.65 ERA, a 4.69 FIP and a 5.86 DRA. The righty strikes out just under a batter per inning but pairs it with extreme flyball tendencies and a walk rate above five per nine innings. This past year Ellington pitched in the minors in the Diamondbacks organization but was released over the summer. He has a big fastball that averages over 98 mph (that’s a career total, as we have no data since 2017), and he mixes in some changeups, sliders and curveballs. As with Runzler, it is not clear whether or not Ellington will get an invite to major-league spring training.