Left-handed reliever Tyler Olson has agreed to a deal with the Red Sox, his representatives at Ball Players Agency announced on Twitter this morning. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweets that it’s a minor league deal and Olson will head to extended Spring Training in Fort Myers, rather than the team’s alternate site in Worcester, to begin the year.
Olson, 31, signed with the Cubs last offseason but didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 2020. He was an oft-used member of the Indians’ bullpen from 2017-19, working to a combined 3.46 ERA with a 25.7 percent strikeout rate and a 10.1 percent walk rate through 78 frames.
Some fans may recall Olson’s brilliant 2017 campaign, during which he held opponents scoreless for 20 innings upon being called up from Triple-A for his team debut. Things obviously didn’t go as well for Olson in 2018-19, but he was still serviceable, logging a combined 4.66 ERA over those two seasons while actually increasing his strikeout rate.
Boston is likely to open the season with southpaws Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor in the bullpen, but there’s little in the way of left-handed relief depth in the organization behind that pair. The vast majority of bullpen candidates in the upper minors with the Sox are right-handed. Stephen Gonsalves, Kyle Hart and Matt Hall are the most experienced lefties likely to open the year at the Red Sox’ alternate site, and each has worked primarily as a starter in the minors.