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Red Sox sign lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez

BOSTON -- The Red Sox have signed their first free agent of the offseason. Boston signed lefty reliver Joely Rodriguez to a one-year deal on Wednesday to help bolster the team's bullpen in 2023.

It's not the Xander Bogaerts deal or Rafael Devers extension that most fans are clamoring for this winter, but it's a start. And the Red Sox could definitely use another southpaw out of the pen after unsuccessfully running through a string of lefties last season.

The 31-year-old Rodriguez is coming off the best season of his career, when he tossed 50.1 innings and held opposing hitters to a .226 average for the New York Mets. Rodriguez had a 4.47 ERA over his 55 appearances in 2022, striking out 57 while issuing 26 walks.

His 34.7 percent chase rate ranked in Major League Baseball's 94th percentile, and Rodriguez was in the 96th percentile in average exit velocity at 85.3 MPH. He allowed just three homers out of the New York bullpen last season.

The Red Sox will be Rodriguez's fifth team after he originally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. He also pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies (2016-17), Texas Rangers (2020-21), and New York Yankees (2021), and spent time overseas with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball from 2018-19. 

Over his Major League career, Rodríguez has posted a 4.56 ERA (74 ER/146.0 IP) in 157 games, all of which have come in relief. 

With the Rodriguez signing, the Red Sox' 40-man roster is now at 39.


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