The lockout was officially lifted on Thursday night, and with it the transaction market once again opened back up. The Red Sox have plenty of work to do before the season, as we know, but they did not strike on a major-league deal or a trade on the first day of activity. That said, they did make a minor move and we heard some rumors about potential targets.
Thomas Pannone signed to a minor-league deal
It’s an open question as to whether or not the Red Sox will add another starting pitcher on a major-league deal before the season — I’d be a bit surprised if they did, but it’s certainly not out of the question — but even if they don’t they certainly could always use more depth on minor-league deals. They added some arms before the lockout, including Tyler Danish, and their first post-lockout move was another minor-league deal. This one went to Thomas Pannone, a left-handed pitcher entering his age-28 season.
Pannone might be a familiar name for Red Sox fans as the entirety of his major-league experience came with the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom the Rhode Island native served as a swingman. Across stints in 2018 and 2019, the southpaw has 116 innings under his belt at the highest level, and he’s pitched to a 5.43 ERA with a 5.14 FIP. He spent last season in Triple-A with the Angels organization, pitching to a 7.07 ERA with a 6.25 FIP over 118 innings, serving mostly as a starter.
He’s a three-pitch pitcher with a fastball that sits in the high-80s along with a curveball and a changeup. The curveball has been his most effective offering in his career. Pannone is likely nothing more than emergency depth, but especially in a season like this with a shortened spring training, you can never have enough pitching depth.
Red Sox have shown interest in Seiya Suzuki
File this one under: No duh. Still, it’s notable that the rumors match up with our expectations on this front. According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Red Sox were among five teams who showed interest in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. They were joined by the Dodgers, Mariners, Giants, and Cubs. We’ve talked a ton this winter about his fit with Boston as an all-around talent who could slot in nicely in Boston’s right field. There’s going to be competition here, but this has always made the most sense for a Red Sox splash and they have the money to spend. We’ll be keeping an eye on these rumors. His posting window was paused during the lockout, giving him 20 days to sign with a team. That said, given how quickly the season is coming one would think he’d like to sign sooner than later.
Red Sox among teams pursuing Collin McHugh
Outfield is the most prominent hole on the Red Sox roster right now, but the bullpen is arguably a bigger need, both in terms of late-inning talent and just overall depth. So it makes sense that the Red Sox would be interested in some of the top names on the free agent market. That includes Collin McHugh, and Chris Cotillo reported on Friday that Boston has shown interest in the righty. There is some connection here as McHugh signed with Boston prior to the 2020 season, but he ended up opting out of the COVID-shortened season. Last year with the Rays, the veteran righty pitched to a dominant 1.55 ERA with a 2.12 FIP over 64 innings of work. Cotillo notes that plenty of other teams are in on the reliever as well, which makes sense given that performance last year. McHugh will be entering his age-35 season.