Quick hits on Red Sox alumni on the MLB landscape

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Craig Bjornson #53 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait during the Boston Red Sox photo day on February 20, 2018 at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Craig Bjornson #53 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait during the Boston Red Sox photo day on February 20, 2018 at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Red Sox connections on the move in MLB news

Former members affiliated with the Red Sox have been on the move this offseason, and one tossed in that is local boy as a newly minted GM. First out of the gate are two members of Red Sox championship teams that have joined the staff of the Washington Nationals.

Coco Crisp has been hired by the Nats as an outfielder/baserunning coordinator. Crisp certainly knows the speed portion, and in three seasons with Boston (2006-2008), the switch-hitter swiped 70 bags. In the 2007 season, Crisp hit .268 in 144 games while making just one error in centerfield.

Bill Mueller won a batting title with the Red Sox (2003) and contributed to breaking the curse in 2004. Despite being beset with cranky knees, the gritty switch-hitter played a solid third base for three seasons, with the Red Sox hitting .303. Mueller will serve as the Nationals quality control coordinator. He’s still the only player to hit a grand slam from both sides of the plate in the same game.

Few fans will recognize Craig Bjornson, a bullpen coach for Boston, the last three seasons. Bjornson will now assume the same role for the New York Mets. Bjornson originally signed with the Houston Astros as a pitcher and later joined the Houston minor league coaching carousel, eventually becoming the Astros bullpen coach.

A seven-year, $72.5 MM contract is Red Sox fans’ memories of Rusney Castillo. The ill-fated contract left Castillo in the minors for several years before it was washed off the books. Castillo explored the overseas option and signed to play in Japan for 2021.

Castillo struggled, hitting just .225 for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and has signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. The now 34-year-old right-hand hitter is expected to start the road back in Triple-A.

Tony Clark is in baseball news daily as negotiations “speed” forward between the baseball magnets and the players association. Clark is executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and Clark is the first former player to hold that position.

The towering Clark (6’8″) was a college basketball standout but chose the smaller ball after being drafted in the first round by the Tigers (1990). The switch-hitting Clark put together several impressive seasons with the Bengals twice notching 100+ RBI and three times powering 30+ home runs.

Clark was released by the Tigers and signed by the Red Sox in 2001. A low-risk move, considering Clark was 30-years-old. The result was a dismal disappointment as Clark hit just .207 with three home runs in 90 games. The result was Clark again was on the open market.

Clark then made the rounds of several teams, including arguably his best season as a member of the Diamondbacks. In 2005 Clark had his only season above .300, swatted 30 home runs, and bagged 87 RBI. By then, Clark was fully immersed in union activities and, upon retirement (2009), joined the staff at MLBPA.

Brandon Gomes has no connection with the Red Sox but a Massachusetts connection. The right-hand pitcher won only 11 games over five seasons with the Rays but is now the Dodgers General Manager. The 37-year-old Gomes was a standout player for Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts.

How can we miss you if you won’t go away? Right-hander Anibal Sánchez is still in “iffy” mode regarding retirement. The 15-year veteran owns a checkered and injury-plagued career that has produced 111 wins, a no-hitter, and an ERA title.

Sánchez was a key player in a deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston from the Marlins. Without that trade which included Hanley Ramírez, Boston may not have won it in 2007. Sánchez’s last season at the MLB level was 2020 when he won four games for the Nationals. Even at 38-years-old you never say never when it comes to pitching.

Next. The ten best Red Sox moments from the 2002 season. dark