June 16, 2024

Red Sox lose two journeyman relievers off waivers after DFAing them

A week before the start of spring training, the Red Sox took a small hit in terms of their pitching depth.

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Boston lost two right-handed journeyman — Zack Weiss and Max Castillo — to waiver claims Wednesday, the team announced. The Twins claimed Weiss while the Phillies claimed Castillo. The Red Sox had designated both pitchers for assignment late last week to accommodate other additions. Weiss was designated when Boston claimed infielder Romy Gonzalez off waivers from the White Sox; Castillo was cut loose to make room for catcher Tyler Heineman, who came over in a minor trade with the Mets on Friday.

Weiss, a 31-year-old journeyman who previously pitched for the Reds and Angels, pitched pretty well in a limited sample with the Red Sox at the end of last season. In six games after Boston claimed him from the Angels on Aug. 25, Weiss recorded a 2.08 ERA and struck out eight batters in 8 ⅔ innings (despite a 5.79 FIP) . The former sixth-round pick (2013) owns a 4.61 ERA (14 earned runs in 27.1 innings) in 25 career MLB games since debuting in 2018. Last season, he had a 5.44 ERA while striking out 56 batters and walking 26 batters in 41⅓ innings at Triple-A (between Salt Lake and Worcester).

Castillo, 24, was not in the Red Sox organization long; Boston claimed him off waivers from the Royals on Jan. 2. He has 21 games (six starts) of major league experience with the Blue Jays (2022) and Royals (2022-23) and owns a career 5.43 ERA while striking out 47 batters in 59 ⅔ innings. The Venezuela native spent most of last season at Triple-A Omaha, going 6-7 with a 4.58 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 116 innings over 22 appearances (21 starts) at the minors’ highest level. Castillo was one of two players the Blue Jays sent to the Royals at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for second baseman Whit Merrifield.

Before being designated, both Weiss and Castillo were part of a large group number of optionable right-handed relief/swingman options on Boston’s 40-man roster. Now, the Red Sox have a more limited pool of options as camp opens.

Behind roster locks Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, John Schreiber and a trio of pitchers who could either start or relieve (Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck and Josh Winckowski), there will be a handful of right-handed pitchers competing for spots on the Opening Day roster.

Zack Weiss

Isaiah Campbell, Cooper Criswell, Zack Kelly, Bryan Mata, Justin Slaten and Greg Weissert are among those in the mix. All but Mata and Slaten (a Rule 5 pick) have minor league options remaining.

The Red Sox have a full 40-man roster.

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