The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Heath Hembree, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. He’ll take home a $1,312,500 salary that checks in north of the $1.2MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Hembree is represented by the Ballengee Group.
Hembree, 30 next month, pitched to a 4.20 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.50 HR/9 and a 39.4 percent ground-ball rate in 60 innings of relief. He also tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings in the postseason, albeit with five walks against three strikeouts in that time.
The 2018 season was Hembree’s least-effective year since establishing himself as a regular in the Boston bullpen, though his cumulative body of work over the past three seasons has been solid. In 173 innings he’s logged a 3.54 ERA and averaged 10 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings pitched. Hembree has taken on an increasingly high-leverage role over the years as well, tallying a career-high 20 holds this past season.
Hembree will return to a Boston bullpen that has already lost Joe Kelly and could very well lose fellow free agent Craig Kimbrel this offseason as well. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski still has a fair share of heavy lifting to do this offseason as he looks to piece the relief corps back together. At present, Hembree is slated to join Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, Brandon Workman and Brian Johnson in bullpen.