José De León announced Thursday he has joined the Boston Red Sox organization.
De León, a right-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico, shared the news on Twitter by posting two photos: One of a Boston jersey and hat; one of him wearing a Red Sox uniform as a kid.
The tweet read: “Since ’97, when I started playing baseball, I always dreamed about being a
@RedSox. Today, the dream of that little kid from Isabela, Puerto Rico, becomes reality. So kids, never stop dreaming! We’re back #OnAMission”
De León, who turns 29 on Saturday, was released by the Cincinnati Reds on July 23 after posting an 8.35 ERA in nine major league appearances (two starts) this season. He struck out 33 and walked 11 over 18 1/3 innings.
De León represents organizational pitching depth at this point but he joins the Red Sox with an intriguing prospect pedigree. Baseball America listed him as the No. 23 prospect in Major League Baseball before the 2016 season, when he was in the Los Angeles Dodgers system. MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus ranked him No. 24 and No. 28, respectively, at that time.
De León made his big-league debut with the Dodgers in 2016. Los Angeles then traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays ahead of the 2017 season for Logan Forsythe. De León’s career never really took off — he missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery — and he eventually landed with the Reds in November 2019.
Obviously, we’re years removed from De León being a highly touted farmhand, but clearly, he possesses enough raw talent to dream on. Plus, there’s some familiarity, as he was with the Rays when Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was a member of Tampa Bay’s front office.
De León owns an 8.44 ERA in 22 career major league appearances (six starts) spanning 48 innings, producing 12.6 strikeouts and 6.6 walks per nine frames. He had a 4.63 ERA in 12 relief appearances (11 2/3 innings) this season with Triple-A Louisville.