The Red Sox have designated right-hander Phillips Valdez for assignment, the team announced Tuesday. His DFA will open a spot on the 40-man roster for righty Josh Winckowski, whose contract will be selected to the Major League roster today (as MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted). Valdez’s subtraction from the roster in Triple-A Worcester also opens a spot there for outfielder Abraham Almonte, whom the Red Sox acquired from the Brewers in exchange for cash yesterday. Almonte is not on the 40-man roster, however.
Valdez, 30, has tallied 16 1/3 innings out of the Boston bullpen this season, pitching to a 4.41 ERA with an 18.1% strikeout rate and a 9.7% walk rate in that abbreviated sample. It’s his fourth consecutive season with big league time — the past three of which have come with the Sox. Overall, he carries a 4.56 ERA with a 20.8% strikeout rate, an 11.1% walk rate and a 53.9% ground-ball rate through 102 2/3 Major League innings.
Valdez has a decent track record in Triple-A, where he’s logged a 3.87 ERA in parts of five seasons — including a 3.06 mark in 17 2/3 innings this year. He was sitting at a career-high 94.4 mph with his sinker in the big leagues this year, although it also bears mentioning that Valdez has walked 14 of the 72 Triple-A opponents he’s faced this year (19.4%). Pair that with the 11.1% walk rate he showed in the Majors and with a whopping six hit batsmen in his limited MLB time this year, and it’s clear that there are some command issues he’s attempting to navigate.
The Red Sox will have a week to trade Valdez, pass him through outright waivers or release him. He can be optioned freely for the remainder of the 2022 season, but this is Valdez’s final minor league option season, meaning he’ll have to either make a team’s big league roster next spring or else pass through waivers unclaimed at some point — be it in the next few days with the Sox or down the road with a new club.