The Boston Red Sox may square off against a familiar face this season.
Former longtime Boston relief pitcher Heath Hembree officially had his contract selected and will join the Tampa Bay Rays’ big league club, according to the team.
The 34-year-old certainly has plenty of American League East experience. Hembree was traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Red Sox ahead of the 2014 season and spent six full seasons with the club before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline.
In six and a half seasons in Boston, Hembree compiled a 3.70 ERA across 251 appearances to go along with 270 strikeouts. The relief pitcher put together a 15-5 record across 257 2/3 innings pitched and was a member of the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series-winning club.
Hembree has bounced around the league ever since leaving Boston. Since being traded to the Phillies he has played for the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and Los Angeles Dodgers at the big league level. The 34-year-old signed with the Rays as a free agent ahead of the 2023 season to a minor league contract and will now join the MLB’s hottest team.
The righty has struggled in recent years but gives the Rays yet another veteran option in the bullpen. Tampa Bay is the best team in all of baseball with an eye-popping 20-3 record, but have dealt with some injuries already this season. Hembree is a 10-year veteran who may not be in his prime anymore but provides the club even more depth.
Maybe we will even see Hembree back at Fenway Park this season.