23:38: Littell’s contract with Rangers has a move-enhancing clause that requires Rangers to trade him or promote him to the majors if another club is willing to add him to the MLB roster, Alex reports Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). The Red Sox expressed a willingness to do so, leading to the transaction. Although Littell was initially assigned to Triple-A Worcester, he is expected to soon be officially promoted to the major league roster.
5:30 pm: The Red Sox has acquired a right-hander Zack Littell from Rangers, report Kennedy Landry of MLB.com, with cash considerations going the other way. Littell is not on the club’s 40-man roster, so there will be no need to move accordingly.
Littell, 27, has played for the Giants for the past two years but was dropped from their roster at the end of last season and was elected as a free agent. He signed a minor league contract with Rangers in the winter and has played very well in Triple-A. Over 12 plays for the Round Rock Express, he has a 2.25 ERA, beating 33.3% of opponents compared to a small walk rate of 4.2%.
It was a stronger performance than he’s managed in recent major tournaments. With San Francisco in 2021 and 2022, he hit 106 runs with a 3.82 ERA, a 23.1% hit rate and an 8.4% walk rate. It looks like the Red Sox has been encouraged enough by small sample improvements to attack him, while Rangers seem content to let him go and pocket some cash.
Littell has no choice, meaning he’ll have to stick with the major leagues if he returns there, or else he’ll be assigned to the assignment. But in the event he returns with the big clubs, he could be kept for future seasons. He enters this season with a service of 3 years and 67 days, meaning he could hit the 4-year mark in 2023 if called up early. Even in that case, he’ll have a few more years before hitting the six-year mark and automatically being a free agent, although a delayed additional call could push that back.
The Sox have dealt with a number of injuries to their relief team this year, like Zack Kelly, Joely Rodríguez And Wyatt Factory are on the injured list. right-handed Kutter Crawford joined them today as the Sox took him to IL with a left hamstring strain, recalls right Kaleb Ort to take his place. Littell will give the club a bit of depth off the roster and try to get back into the professional leagues.