The Red Sox announced today that three players — infielder Chris Owings, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, and righty Josh Smith — have elected free agency. (H/t MLB.com’s Ian Browne, on Twitter.) Each had the right to choose the open market after being outrighted off of the 40-man roster.
When the Boston organization prepared to defend its 2018 World Series title, it surely did not anticipate relying upon this particular trio. But each ended up playing a reasonably significant role as the club limped through a disappointing season.
The versatile Owings came over after a failed stint with the Royals to open the year. He continued to struggle at the plate and finished the campaign with an overall .139/.209/.233 batting line through 196 plate appearances. There’s little question he’ll be looking for a minor-league deal this winter.
Ditto Hernandez, who batted a meager .143/.218/.245 in 57 attempts with the Sox. He also failed to crack a .700 OPS in the hitter-friendly International League, where he spent most of the season. The former Giants, Pirates, and Marlins outfielder has appeared in parts of six MLB seasons but has never come around with the bat.
As for Smith, 32, he allowed more than five earned runs per nine at both the MLB and Triple-A levels in 2019. He was torched for ten home runs in his 31 major-league frames — the first he had thrown since 2017. In 158 1/3 total MLB innings, he carries a 5.40 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
Both Owings and Hernandez were eligible for arbitration, though it was never likely that either was considered for a tender. MLBTR projected Owings to earn $3.0MM and Hernandez to earn $1.0MM.