Rangers Trade Zack Littell to Red Sox

Zack Littell
(Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers have dealt right-hander Zack Littell to the Boston Red Sox. The deal was first reported on Friday evening by Kennedi Landry of MLB.com, and it marks the first in-season transaction for both teams. In exchange for Littell, the Red Sox will be sending cash considerations the other way to Arlington. Littell wasn’t on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, so no corresponding moves will be necessary. Zack Littell’s contract contained an upward mobility clause requiring the Rangers to trade him, or promote him to the majors if another club was willing to add him to the major league roster. With this knowledge in hand, the Red Sox expressed a willingness to do so, leading to the trade.

Good Results in Round Rock

The 27-year-old righty was with the San Francisco Giants for the past two years. He was outrighted off their roster at the end of last season and elected free agency. Littell signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers in the winter and had been pitching well at Triple-A Round Rock. Through 12 innings for the Express, he posted an ERA of 2.25, striking out 33.3% of opponents against a walk rate of 4.2%.

It seems that Zack Littell has performed better in the minors as of late than he has in the majors. With the Giants in 2021 and 2022, he pitched 106 innings with a 3.82 ERA, 23.1% strikeout rate. He also had a 8.4% walk rate. Evidently the Red Sox were encouraged enough by the small-sample improvements to take a shot on him. The Rangers, meanwhile, were seemingly content to let him go and pocket some cash.

Out of Options

Littell is out of minor-league options. This means that he’d have to stick in the majors if he gets back there. If he doesn’t, he’ll be designated for assignment. He came into this season with three years and 67 days of service time, meaning he could get to the four-year mark if called up soon. Even in that case, he’d have a couple more arbitration years before getting to the six-year mark and automatic free agency, though a delayed call-up could push that back.


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