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Red Sox To Select Joely Rodriguez; C.J. Cron Granted Release

Red Sox To Select Joely Rodriguez; C.J. Cron Granted Release

TODAY: The Red Sox released Cron and informed Rodriguez that he made the roster, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (X link).

MARCH 22: First baseman C.J. Cron and left-hander Joely Rodriguez have both exercised the uniform opt-out provision in their minor league contracts with the Red Sox, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Both players were Article XX(B) free agents — six-plus years of service time, finished the season on a major league roster or injured list — who signed minor league contracts and were thus granted a trio of mandatory opt-out opportunities: five days prior to Opening Day (today), May 1 and June 1. The Red Sox will now have 48 hours to either put Cron and/or Rodriguez on the 40-man roster. They’ll have to release either player if they decide against carrying him on the Opening Day roster.

Cron, 34, has four seasons of 25-plus homers under his belt and was consistently an above-average hitter from 2014-22. Back and neck injuries tanked his 2023 season, limiting him to 278 plate appearances with a .248/.295/.434 slash, but he has a strong track record of hitting for power — with largely even platoon splits. From 2018-22, Cron piled up 2290 plate appearances and hit .260/.331/.490 with 116 home runs. He’s only had 15 plate appearances this spring, during which he’s 2-for-11 with three walks and two strikeouts. The Red Sox are set at first base and DH with Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida, but Cron could serve as a right-handed complement/insurance to either or perhaps some right-handed pop off the bench.

Rodriguez, 32, was with the Sox in 2023 but pitched just 11 innings due to oblique, shoulder and hip injuries that combined to result in three different stints on the injured list. He posted a 6.55 ERA in his short time on the mound, striking out 27.5% of his opponents against an 11.8% walk rate and 45.2% ground-ball rate.

It wasn’t a strong year overall for Rodriguez, but the lefty has posted far better numbers over the three preceding seasons in his return from an excellent two-year stint in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. From 2020-22, Rodriguez pitched 109 1/3 frames between the Rangers, Yankees and Mets, working to a 4.28 ERA with even more encouraging secondary marks. Rodriguez fanned 25.5% of his opponents in that time and induced grounders at a huge 55.7% clip. His 10.3% walk rate was still a couple ticks north of the league average, but the lefty offered an enticing blend of missed bats…

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