Red Sox’ Jorge Alfaro has unique clause in contract that could make him available to all other teams later this month

Red Sox catcher Jorge Alfaro has a unique clause in his contract that could complicate his future with the club, according to’s Chris Cotillo.

Alfaro signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in January that came with an invite to major-league spring training. It has since been revealed that the deal also comes with an “upward mobility” clause that would go into effect on March 25.

As noted by Cotillo, this differs from a standard opt-out. It instead allows Alfaro to secure a major-league opportunity elsewhere if the Red Sox are not willing to give him one. If Alfaro is not added to Boston’s 40-man roster by March 25, he can request to become available to all 29 other teams in hopes of landing a big-league job.

If another club is interested in Alfaro, the Red Sox would then have 72 hours to either add Alfaro to their own 40-man roster or allow him to switch teams. If no other club is interested in Alfaro at the time of his request, Boston would be able to keep the 29-year-old without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Alfaro will soon be leaving Red Sox camp in Fort Myers to play for Team Colombia in the World Baseball Classic. The Sincelejo native has appeared in two Grapefruit League games so far this spring and has gone 3-for-6 (.500) with one double and two strikeouts.

After deciding against signing or trading for a catcher on a major-league deal this winter, the Red Sox brought in Alfaro as a non-roster invitee. The right-handed hitter is currently competing with Reese McGuire and Connor Wong for a spot on the club’s Opening Day roster. Because Alfaro can play first base and serve as a designated hitter, Boston could very well carry all three backstops on its 26-man roster come March 30.

More likely than not, though, the Red Sox will elect to carry the left-handed hitting McGuire and one of Alfaro and Wong, who both hit from the right side of the plate. Wong, who suffered a left hamstring strain in Thursday’s 15-3 win over the Phillies, also has one minor-league option remaining, meaning he can be shuttled between Triple-A Worcester and Boston up to five times this season. The same cannot be said for Alfaro, who is out of options.

A veteran of seven major-league seasons between the Phillies, Marlins, and Padres, Alfaro possesses intriguing power, athleticism, arm strength, and speed. With San Diego last year, he ranked in the 97th percentile of all big-leaguers in max exit velocity (115.2 mph), the 96th percentile in average pop time to second base (1.89 second), and the 85th percentile in average sprint speed (28.7 feet per second), per Baseball Savant.

On the other side of the coin, though, Alfaro does own a rather high career strikeout rate of 34.1 percent to go along with a career walk rate of just 4.2 percent. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has also had his issues as a receiver after leading the National League in passed balls in each of the last two seasons.

Alfaro, who does not turn 30 until June, will have the next three-plus weeks to determine what his immediate future looks like. That being said, Wong’s status moving forward could impact his decision. Additionally, depending on how things play out in spring games (and in the World Baseball Classic) Alfaro could draw interest from catcher-needy teams who would be willing to guarantee him a roster spot. If that happens, the Red Sox would then have to decide to either add Alfaro to their own roster or let him go.

If Alfaro remains with Boston past March 25 without being added to the big-league roster, he would have the ability to opt out of his deal on June 1 and July 1 in order to test free agency. If Alfaro is in the majors with the Red Sox at some point this season, he would earn a base salary of $2 million.

(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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