Free agent reliever Joe Nelson has signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox, effectively taking him off the Chicago Cubs’ radar, if he was ever on it to begin with.
The Red Sox reached agreement with veteran reliever Joe Nelson on a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training on Monday, the 35-year-old right-hander confirmed to MLB.com.
After a solid bounceback year for the Marlins in 2008 — when he sported a 2.00 ERA in 54 innings — Nelson struggled with the Rays this past season, posting a 4.02 ERA in 42 relief appearances before spending August and September in the Minor Leagues.
In 2009, Nelson sported an 8.53 ERA in May, but an ERA no higher than 3.00 in April, June or July.
For his five-year career, Nelson is 7-2 with a 4.07 ERA.
As of now, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez (the one who posted a 2.84 ERA in 70 games for the Red Sox last season) look to have solidified spots in Boston’s bullpen. redsox.com.
Nelson was recently quoted as saying he really wanted to come to the Cubs, and given that he accepted a minor league deal on a team with a relatively crowded bullpen, we can surmise that the Cubs never made him an offer.