Red Sox acquire reliever Zack Littell in trade with Texas Rangers

Spring Training
Spring Training / Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have made a trade with the Texas Rangers, acquiring relief pitcher Zack Littell for cash considerations. This news was first reported by Kennedi Landry and confirmed by Chris Cotillo.

With recent injuries in the Red Sox bullpen, most recently Kutter Crawford but also Zack Kelly and Wyatt Mills, there was definitely a need for a new arm. Kaleb Ort was brought back up to the major league roster in a move earlier today, however, he has struggled mightily so far this season, so having a backup plan was the correct choice.

Littell has a lot of the physical traits you look for in a quality bullpen arm, at 6'4" and 220 pounds. He has a three-pitch repertoire between a four-seam fastball (93 miles per hour), a slider (87 miles per hour), and a splitter more recently (84 miles per hour). According to Baseball Savant, last year he threw the four-seam 50.7% of the time, the slider 37.1% of the time, and the splitter 12.3% of the time. The four-seam looks to be his best pitch according to the heat charts, however, his inside slider seems to be strong as well.

He has played for two organizations in the majors, accruing a combined 4.08 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 169.2 innings pitched. Last season with the San Francisco Giants, he pitched 44 innings with a 5.08 ERA, however, in 2021 he had a 2.92 ERA through 61.2 innings, and started in two games as well. At only 27 years of age, he still has his best baseball ahead of him seemingly.

In terms of the trade, it makes sense for Boston in all aspects. Only giving up cash for a player who has good relief upside is a great move. With the injuries to the roster aforementioned, as well as the struggles seen by Kaleb Ort and Ryan Brasier, filling out the bullpen is needed.