Red Sox sign Alexi Ogando to one-year contract
Just days after trading for left-hander Robbie Ross, the Red Sox have brought another former Ranger reliever to Boston, signing Alexi Ogando to a one-year, $1.5M major league contract.
The Red Sox have been linked to Ogando for weeks now (in fact, my colleague Drew Peabody weighed the risk versus reward in signing Ogando two weeks ago here) as they seek high-upside arms for their bullpen and Ogando certainly fits that high-upside mold. The 6’4″ right-hander has dealt with a multitude of injuries over the past two seasons, including nerve damage and inflammation in his throwing shoulder which sidelined him for a good portion of the 2014 season. However, when healthy, he has shown the ability to dominate opponents with a high 90’s fastball in both the rotation and bullpen.
In addition to spending a good deal of time on the disabled list last season, though, Ogando wasn’t very effective even when on the pitchers’ mound last season. He posted a 6.84 ERA and his BB/9 ballooned to 5.4 (his career mark is 2.9) in 27 appearances for the last-place Rangers.
Before last season, Ogando was a consistently excellent swingman for the Rangers, though. From 2010-2013, Ogando posted a 3.12 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 to go with a 3.79 FIP. And even last season, when Ogando’s velocity was down and he struggled with his command, his FIP of 3.81 suggests that he was not nearly so bad as his ERA would indicate.
Interestingly, the Red Sox are bringing Ogando aboard with a major league contract, making him apparently the eighth reliever slated to start the season on the 25-man roster. Either the Red Sox are planning on trading a member of their bullpen or they are simply adding injury insurance, but either way, it’s unusual to see them add another arm so shortly before spring training starts.
If Ogando has fully recovered from his injury, however, you can consider him a lock to make the team. Coming to Boston on a relatively inexpensive one-year deal (though he does have the ability to earn double the guaranteed amount through incentives), he offers massive upside. Despite adding Ross and Anthony Varvaro and re-signing Koji Uehara and Craig Breslow, the bullpen is one of the weaker areas of the Red Sox and a healthy Ogando could go a long way towards strengthening that aspect of the team.