The Red Sox have optioned outfielder Jarren Duran to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced following Tuesday’s Grapefruit League finale against the Braves at JetBlue Park.
By optioning Duran, the Red Sox have effectively cleared the way for non-roster invitee Raimel Tapia to make the team as a fifth outfielder. Tapia, however, is not yet on Boston’s 40-man roster, which is currently at full capacity. And so the club still needs to clear a spot in order to officially add the 29-year-old outfielder to the mix.
Duran and Tapia were essentially competing for a reserve outfield spot behind the likes of Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall, Alex Verdugo, and Rob Refsnyder on Boston’s Opening Day roster. Whoever came out on top would be in line to serve as a left-handed hitting complement to the right-handed hitting Refsnyder off the bench.
In just nine games with the Red Sox this spring, Duran went 6-for-18 (.333) at the plate with three doubles, one home run, one RBI, five runs scored, one stolen base, four walks, and three strikeouts. The 26-year-old was away from the team for a little more than two weeks earlier this month to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. But he was used sparingly in that time and only accrued five plate appearances.
Tapia, meanwhile, signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in January and proved to be one of the club’s top offensive performers this spring. In Grapefruit League games, he batted .326/.383/.605 with six doubles, two homers, five RBIs, seven runs scored, three stolen bases, three walks, and six strikeouts across 47 trips to the plate.
According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Tapia had the ability to opt out of his deal on Monday, but he elected to remain with the Red Sox through their final game of the spring and went 1-for-2 with a double and run scored in Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to the Braves.
With Duran optioned and Tapia set to make the team, the Red Sox are now tasked with creating an opening for the latter. As noted by The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams, it appears as though the club will accomplish this by placing infielder Adalberto Mondesi (ACL rehab) on the 60-day injured list to begin the season.
The Red Sox have just one roster-related decision remaining, and it pertains to the final spot in the bullpen. It will either go to Kaleb Ort, who is already on the 40-man roster but has struggled mightily this spring, Oddanier Mosqueda, Ryan Sherriff or an external option is not yet with the club.
If one of Mosqueda or Sherriff — who were in camp as non-roster invitees — or an outside addition gets the job, another 40-man roster spot would need to be cleared. In that scenario, Ort could very well wind up getting designated for assignment.
All things considered, the Red Sox must finalize their initial 26-man roster to start the season before their Opening Day matchup against the Orioles at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon.
(Picture of Jarren Duran: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)