Where are they now for former Red Sox players?
The Boston Red Sox castaways are on the move as the season approaches. Four former players have signed deals to either resuscitate their career or the be last gasp before entering the nonplayer part of their lives. First up is the lone position player in this group Chris Owings.
Owings is a right-hand-hitting infielder who the Red Sox acquired in 2019 after he was jettisoned by the Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox fervent hope was Owings could somehow return to the semblance of the player he was in 2016.
In that career season, Owings topped the National League in triples and hit a solid .277. The next two seasons showed a steady decline in performance and playing time. The non-tendered Owings signed a one-year $3 MM with the Royals. More failure and a release and signing by the Red Sox in 2019. Owings hit just .156 and was gone.
In 2020 Owings was with the Colorado Rockies and had some positive results. He slashed .268/.318/.439 for the Rockies over 17 games but it was not enough. Owings eventually agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies and now has made the 26-man roster.
Baseball has not been kind to righty Heath Hembree since Boston traded the 32-year-old to the Phillies. Hembree was supposed to add some substance to the Philadelphia bullpen but allowed seven home runs in just 9.1 innings. A release was no shock.
In Boston Hembree was a fairly reliable but not spectacular bullpen option. Acquired from the Giants, Hembree pitched seven seasons for Boston posting a 15-5 record and 3.70 ERA/4.32 FIP over 251 games.
Hembree signed a minor league deal this offseason with the Indians or whatever they are now known as. The Tribe – obviously not impressed this spring – recently released Hembree who has now inked a minor league deal with the Reds.
Maybe if Red Sox manager John Farrell had not decided to use All-Star Steven Wright as a pinch-runner in 2016 his career may have been different? Wright injured his shoulder and attempted a brief comeback late in the season. Still, the knuckleballing right-hander went 13-6.
For Wright, the issues were self-induced and physical. A domestic charge drought a 15 game suspension. Another 80 game suspension for PEDs after signing a $1.35 MM contract would soon follow. Knee surgery, toe injury, and finally Tommy John Surgery.
The Red Sox released Wright and he has now recovered and signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wright pitched seven seasons for the Red Sox after being traded by the Indians for Lars Anderson. Wright appeared in 81 games (44 starts) and finished with a 3.86 ERA/4.46 FIP over 347.2 innings.
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In 2020 the Red Sox had a revolving door regarding pitching. Apparently, any arm released was scooped up by Chaim Bloom as a shot worth taking. One such arm was right-hander Zack Godley. The risk was understandable since Godley had once won 15 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Godley would not win a game for Boston.
Godley made seven starts and was treated rudely – quite an understatement – losing four games. Godley also allowed seven home runs in just 28.2 innings but there is a caveat. Godley was dealing with an arm issue that had cost him velocity. That also cost him his job. The Brewers have now signed Godley to a deal for just $800 K. A minor-league deal stacked with incentives and a mid-May opt-out. At 31-years-old, Godley may have something left.
Now, these may not be the cream of the crop names of past Red Sox members but they were all involved in some way, shape, or form within the fold these past few years. Opening Day is right around the corner and though their time in Boston may not have bred loads of success at least they’re getting another shot at The Show. Whether or not they’ll find what they couldn’t with the Sox is unknown but having the opportunity is more than many receive.