Posted on June 23, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Boston Red Sox are leaving no stone unturned. The club added a pair of veterans off the proverbial scrap heap on Friday. First, the Red Sox claimed starting pitcher Doug Fister off waivers. Soon after, Boston announced that it has signed veteran infielder Jhonny Peralta to a minor league deal.
Of the two, Fister has a chance to make the most immediate impact for the Red Sox. With Steve Wright out for the season and Eduardo Rodriguez sidelined with a knee injury, Boston has struggled to fill out its starting rotation. Kyle Kendrick was a disaster. Brian Johnson provided a couple good starts before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. Hector Velazquez has also failed to impress when given a chance.
Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski says that Fister will be added to the roster on Saturday and will make his Red Sox debut Sunday against the Angels. Ironically, the Angels are the team that just released Fister earlier this week.
Fister did not sign with a major league club until after the start of the season. He ultimately chose to sign a minor-league deal with the Angels. However, after three starts in the minors, the Angels declined to call up Fister to the big leagues. That prompted Fister to exercise the out in his contract, forcing the Angels to grant him his release.
In those three minor league starts, Fister allowed seven runs over 15.2 innings, good for a 4.02 ERA. However, he’s proven throughout his career to be a capable back-of-the-rotation starter. In 32 starts for the Astros last year, Fister was 12-13 with a respectable 4.64 ERA. If Fister can put up comparable numbers as Boston’s fifth starter, the Red Sox will gladly take it.
Peralta, meanwhile, was only given a minor league deal. But he’ll have a chance to play his way back to the big leagues. The Red Sox likely view Peralta as a potential answer at third base, which has been a revolving door in Boston this season.
Pablo Sandoval began the year as Boston’s third baseman. But he’s hitting a disappointing .212 with a mediocre .622 OPS. He’s also been placed on the DL twice. He currently resides on the DL with an inner ear infection. The likes of Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero have not been suitable replacements at the hot corner, opening the door for Peralta.
Peralta was designated for assignment earlier this month by the Cardinals. He struggled early in the season before going on the DL with an upper respiratory infection. When he returned from the DL, the Cardinals had little playing time available for him and ultimately decided to part ways with him. On the season, Peralta is hitting .204 with no extra-base hits in 54 at-bats.
Nevertheless, the Red Sox are desperate for an answer at third base and willing to give Peralta a chance. It’s still a little early in the season to explore the trade market for a third baseman, so Boston’s options are limited at the moment. But Peralta should not expect much patience from the Red Sox if he can’t produce in the minors.
Ultimately, there’s no guarantee that either Fister or Peralta will end up making much of an impact for the Red Sox this season. But considering the injuries they’ve had and the holes on their roster, it’s worthwhile to take a chance on both. Boston is in the thick of a tight and crowded race in the AL East and an even more crowded wild card race. From their perspective, it’s worth taking a chance on any player with the potential to contribute.