The Red Sox announced a series of roster moves this morning. The club activated right-hander Zack Kelly from the 60-day injured list, and in corresponding moves optioned righty Nick Robertson to Triple-A while designating fellow right-hander Kyle Barraclough for assignment.
Kelly’s return, while not necessarily unexpected, is surely a major relief for both the Red Sox and Kelly himself. The 28-year-old righty has been on the 60-day injured list for most of the season to this point thanks to an ulnar nerve transposition revision in his throwing elbow he underwent at the beginning of May. Despite battling injuries to this point in his big league career, Kelly has been effective on the mound when healthy, with a career 3.86 ERA in 21 innings of work that includes a 3.68 ERA across six appearances this season. In returning for the final games of the season, Kelly should have the opportunity to test his arm ahead of the offseason and prepare himself for a typical offseason regimen with an eye on returning to the club’s bullpen in 2024.
The move spells the end of Barraclough’s tenure with the Red Sox. Once a quality reliever with the Marlins who posted a 3.21 ERA (122 ERA+) and 3.45 FIP to go with a 29.8% strikeout rate from 2015-18, Barraclough has struggled in limited big league opportunities ever since. In 63 1/3 innings of work since the start of the 2019 season, Barraclough has seen his strikeout rate dip to 23.1% despite an elevated 12.7% walk rate. As a result, his ERA has ballooned to 6.11 with a 6.45 FIP during that time. To make matters worse, Barraclough’s strikeouts have all but evaporated this year: he’s punched out just four of the 46 batters he’s faced with Boston.
While Barraclough’s results at the big league level have been rough for several seasons at this point, he figures to look ahead to the offseason with a solid chance of landing a minor league deal somewhere, should he choose to do so. After all, the veteran righty has a track record of past success in Miami and has never stopped performing at the Triple-A level, with a career 3.44 ERA in 170 innings of work at the level. Robertson also figures to look toward translating success in the minors to big league production headed into 2024, as the 24-year-old hurler sports a brutal 6.33 ERA in 21 1/3 career innings as a major leaguer despite a sterling 2.98 ERA in 51 games at the Triple-A level.