The Red Sox have designated right-hander Marcus Walden for assignment, Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald tweets. They did so to make room for the signing of utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, who’s now officially part of the team.
Walden, formerly with the Blue Jays, Athletics and Twins, signed with the Red Sox before 2017 and broke into the bigs with the club a year later. He was an effective piece of Boston’s bullpen from 2018-19 – a 92 2/3-inning run in which he averaged around 94 mph on his fastball, pitched to a 3.79 ERA/3.91 SIERA, forced grounders at a 54.3 percent clip, and logged strikeout and walk rates of 23.1 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.
Walden amassed a whopping 78 innings in 2019, so the Red Sox were likely expecting another workhorse effort in last year’s truncated campaign. Instead, though, the 32-year-old threw a mere 13 1/3 frames over 15 appearances, in which he posted a horrific 9.45 ERA/5.67 SIERA with a 14.1 percent strikeout rate and a 12.7 percent walk rate. A dip in velocity (92.7 mph average fastball) factored into his decline.
As poorly as he pitched last year, Walden is due to earn a league-minimum salary this season – his final pre-arb campaign – and he has two minor league options remaining. It’s conceivable another team will take a chance on him in hopes that he’ll bounce back to his 2018-19 form.