Notes: Contracts finalized; Darwinzon update

March 9th, 2020

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced on Monday they had agreed to terms with 19 players and renewed the contract of third baseman Rafael Devers.

The moves bring all players on the 40-man roster under contract for the upcoming season.

Devers enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, slashing .311/.361/.555 with 32 homers, 54 doubles and 115 RBIs across 156 games. The 23-year-old ranked 14th in MLB last season with a 94.1 mph average exit velocity and ranked 29th with 48 barreled balls. According to a source, his contract is worth $692,500.

Alex Verdugo ($601,500) and Michael Chavis ($571,000) were also among those who agreed to terms. Verdugo, an outfielder, was one of the key pieces of the Mookie Betts trade on Feb. 10. Verdugo has yet to play while he recovers from a stress fracture in his back.

Chavis came on strong in his rookie season, hitting .313 in his first 10 Major League games before finishing with a .254 average over 95 games. He’s had a slow start this spring and could either start at first base or take on more of a roving role.

Also agreeing to terms were pitchers Yoan Aybar ($563,500), Ryan Brasier ($584,500), Colten Brewer ($569,500), Austin Brice ($573,500), Matt Hall ($565,000), Kyle Hart ($563,500), Darwinzon Hernandez ($566,000), Chris Mazza ($566,000), Mike Shawaryn ($565,000), Josh Taylor ($577,000), Marcus Walden ($579,500) and Ryan Weber ($600,000), as well as position players Jonathan Araúz ($563,500), C.J. Chatham ($563,500), Bobby Dalbec ($563,500), Tzu-Wei Lin ($570,000) and Marcus Wilson ($563,500).

Hernandez slated for sim game
Thursday is an off-day for the Red Sox, but with throw simulated game as he attempts to get back into a routine. The 23-year-old recently missed time returning to Venezuela after a death in his family. The trip threw off his schedule a bit but shouldn’t affect him going forward, interim manager Ron Roenicke said.

“If everything goes well with him [Thursday], we should be fine,” added Roenicke, who met with media in Fort Myers in the morning prior to the night game against the Braves. “He threw some when he was gone.”

Hernandez could slot into the bullpen in a number of ways, his versatility providing Boston the luxury of flexibility depending on the situation. There’s talk of building up the big lefty to be used as an opener, should the Red Sox decide to go with two openers in lieu of traditional starters as they wait for Chris Sale to return from a flexor strain in his left elbow. In that situation, Hernandez would probably be built up to three innings this spring.

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Hernandez started 86 games over five seasons in the Minor Leagues, so the possibility of him returning to that down the road isn’t entirely off the table.

“I think [that’s possible],” Roenicke said. “We’re not quite sure where we’re going with that, but first of all we need to get him back and throwing and then try to get him out to at least a couple of innings.”

Up next
The Red Sox return home Tuesday to host the Cardinals in a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at JetBlue Park (listen live on Gameday Audio). Left-hander Brian Johnson will get the ball for Boston against Jack Flaherty for St. Louis. Johnson is a non-roster invite who appeared in 21 games for the Red Sox (seven starts) in 2019 and has a 2.84 ERA in four Grapefruit League games (one start) this spring.