The Red Sox have inked a minor-league deal with former MLB reliever Jenrry Mejia, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). He’ll head to Spring Training (though not MLB camp, Heyman notes) in search of a comeback from a lengthy absence — one that was occasioned by his own incredibly poor decisionmaking. The contract would pay him $625K in the Majors, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.
Mejia, of course, was once a key late-inning reliever for the Mets. That all changed when he was mind-numbingly popped for PED-related violations on three occasions, leading to a lifetime ban. While commissioner Rob Manfred ultimately lifted that prohibition, Mejia is now long removed from his big league career. The 29-year-old last appeared on the MLB mound in the middle of the 2015 season.
Before he cost himself a major chunk of his prime, Mejia had shown some interesting abilities on the bump. After failing to exhibit quite enough as a starter to earn a full chance in the New York rotation, he slid comfortably into the team’s bullpen in 2014. Over 56 1/3 relief innings that year, he worked to a 2.72 ERA with a 60:21 K/BB ratio. Mejia ultimately took the closer’s job, locking down 28 games.
Just what’s left in the tank isn’t known, but the Red Sox will take a shot on the talent of the enigmatic right-hander. That the defending World Series champs have now added Mejia while otherwise waiting out the relief market is sure to draw some curious glances, from both fans who’d like to see more additions and from those on the players side that believe teams need to be spending more money. Obviously, this sort of move will not itself preclude the Boston powerhouse from making further acquisitions, but the timing certainly creates some interesting juxtapositions.