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Three Red Sox players opt for free agency

Gorkys Hernandez lays down a bunt in a September game.
Gorkys Hernandez lays down a bunt in a September game.jim davis/Globe Staff

Three players who spent time in the majors with the Red Sox this past season but had little impact have all chosen to become free agents rather than accept assignments to Triple A Pawtucket, the team announced Monday.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, infielder Chris Owings, and pitcher Josh Smith were all recently outrighted to Triple A and removed from the Sox’ 40-man roster. However, they decided Monday to test the open market.

Hernandez, 32, was acquired by the Sox in 2018 after electing free agency with the Giants. He’s a solid outfielder but could never get it going with the bat.

In 430 at-bats for Pawtucket this past season, he hit just .219 with a .695 OPS. As a September callup, he hit .143 for Boston in 57 plate appearances.


Like Hernandez, Owings, 28, was solid in the field but struggled at the plate. He got a solid look this season but didn’t capitalize on the opportunity, hitting .156 with in 51 plate appearances with the Sox. In 145 plate appearance with Kansas City to start the season, he hit .133.

Owings was a first-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2009 out of Gilbert (S.C.) High School. He elected free agency in 2018 and was picked up by the Royals. After signing with the Sox as a free agent, he had success in Pawtucket, batting .325 with 11 homers and a .980 OPS.

The Sox hoped to get starts out of Smith, but ultimately that was a failed plan. Smith, 32, inked a minor league contract with the Sox after being released by the Mariners in 2018. He posted a combined 5.64 ERA between Pawtucket and the majors in 98⅓ innings.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @byjulianmack.