The Red Sox signed right-hander Jose De Leon to a minor league deal earlier this week, as the right-hander announced himself on his Twitter feed. De Leon was designated for assignment and then released by the Reds two weeks ago.
SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson tweets that the Pirates and Blue Jays also showed interest in De Leon’s services, and it isn’t surprising that multiple teams looked into taking a flier on the righty considering his past status as one of the game’s top pitching prospects. Unfortunately for De Leon, his development was hampered by a Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2018 season, not to mention other injuries.
As a result, De Leon has only 48 Major League innings on his career resume since making his big league debut in September 2016. De Leon has an unimpressive 8.44 ERA over his brief time in the majors, including an 8.35 ERA over 18 1/3 frames with Cincinnati in 2021. Control (14.5% walk rate) has been a significant issue, though De Leon is missing a lot of bats with a 27.7% strikeout rate.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is no stranger to De Leon, as Bloom was working in the Rays’ front office when Tampa Bay acquired the right-hander from the Dodgers back in January 2017. There’s no risk for the Sox in seeing if their minor league development staff can sharpen up De Leon’s control and turn him into a real bullpen weapon, considering his obvious strikeout ability.