The Red Sox have brought back catcher Roldani Baldwin on a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, per the team’s transaction log. The deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.
Baldwin, who turns 26 next month, returns to the organization he began his career with after originally signing with Boston as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in November 2013.
Most recently, Baldwin spent the entirety of the 2021 season with Double-A Portland, though he did spend one day on Triple-A Worcester’s roster in August. Regardless of that, the right-handed hitting backstop slashed .242/.321/.389 with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, 18 RBIs, 18 runs scored, one stolen base, 13 walks, and 61 strikeouts over 45 games (168 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.
One of the reasons Baldwin appeared in just 45 minor-league games last year was because he missed nearly two weeks of action while on the injured list. Another reason is that he had to step away from affiliated ball in order to help his native Dominican Republic win a bronze medal in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Defensively, Baldwin has primarily been used as either a catcher or third baseman throughout his professional career. In 2021, however, the 5-foot-11, 211 pounder not only saw time behind the plate and at the hot corner, but he also logged 47 innings at second base, and nine innings in left field.
This off-season, Baldwin spent part of his winter playing for Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League. There, the 25-year-old slashed .412/.500/.529 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored over the course of a brief seven-game sample that consisted of 20 plate appearances as well as seven appearances (five starts) at catcher.
Coming into the 2022 season, Baldwin has apparently been assigned to Portland and represents some experienced catching depth the Red Sox will have available to them in the upper minors.
As SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield alluded to on Twitter, the addition of Baldwin does have some significance considering the fact the MLB lockout remains unresolved.
If the lockout continues into the spring, the Red Sox would not be able to assign prospects on their 40-man roster — such as catchers Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez — to minor-league affiliates when the season begins in April.
With that being said, Hatfield notes that Boston could sign players like Baldwin to minor-league deals so that they can cover for those prospects affected by the lockout.
In addition to Wong and Hernandez, other prospects the Red Sox have on their 40-man roster include pitchers Eduard Bazardo, Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Jay Groome, Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, Jeter Downs, Hudson Potts, Jarren Duran, and Jeisson Rosario.
(Picture of Roldani Baldwin: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)