Amidst the hysteria surrounding this week’s scandal and today’s arbitration news about Mookie Betts (a record $27 million) and Jackie Bradley Jr. ($11 million), the Red Sox have made a low-key good move. Today, they announced that they have acquired righty reliever Austin Brice from the Miami Marlins, in exchange for 18-year-old minor league infielder Angeudis Santos. Brice will take infielder Marco Hernandez’s spot on the 40-man roster; he was designated for assignment today.
Brice, 27, is known for being the first person born in Hong Kong to play in MLB. He comes to the Sox after beginning his career with Miami in 2016, spending two seasons in Cincinnati, and then returning to Miami when they claimed him off waivers prior to 2019. Last season, he posted a career-best 3.43 ERA over 44 ⅔ innings in 36 games with the Marlins, both career-mosts. He had a solid 9.27 K/9 IP and 4.87 FIP, striking out 46 total batters last year.
But what’s most impressive about Brice’s 2019 was how he held down opposing batters. Overall, opponents couldn’t manage higher than a .214 batting average against him. Righties fared even worse, hitting just .192 against him. For reference, Boston’s best bullpen arms in 2019 were Matt Barnes, who finished the year with a .210 AVG against him over 70 games, and Brandon Workman, who held batters to an MLB-best .123 AVG over 73 games.
Brice will have to make the team out of Spring Training, because he’s already out of options, otherwise, it’ll be a waiver situation for the Sox. 2019 was undoubtedly Brice’s best season so far in the majors, but he’s shown improvement with every passing season, which is extremely promising for the Red Sox, whose bullpen desperately needs an infusion of new arms, and not from Pawtucket.
All in all, Brice seems like a solid get for Boston, a pleasant surprise this offseason.
Photo: Miami Herald