Red Sox agree to minor-league deal with former Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia

The Red Sox and Raimel Tapia have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, as was first reported by the free agent outfielder himself on Instagram. Jon Heyman of the New York Post later confirmed it was a minors pact that presumably comes with an invite to major-league spring training.

Tapia, who turns 29 next month, spent the 2022 season with the Blue Jays. The left-handed hitter batted .265/.292/.380 with 20 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 52 RBIs, 47 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 16 walks, and 81 strikeouts over 128 games (433 plate appearances) for Toronto. He was projected to earn a $5.2 million salary in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility in 2023, but was instead non-tendered in November.

In six games against the Red Sox at Fenway Park last year, Tapia went 9-for-30 (.300) with one double, one triple, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. He most notably hit an inside-the-park grand slam that center fielder Jarren Duran lost in the lights in the third inning of Boston’s historic 28-5 blowout loss to Toronto on July 22.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Tapia originally signed with the Rockies as an international free agent coming out of San Pedro de Macoris in November 2010. He broke in with Colorado in 2016 and spent the first six years of his big-league career there before being dealt to the Blue Jays in exchange for fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk last March.

So, for his career, Tapia is a lifetime .277/.318/.392 hitter with 91 doubles, 15 triples, 26 homers, 188 runs driven in, 233 runs scored, 53 stolen bases, 103 walks, and 343 strikeouts in 567 games (1,858 plate appearances) between the Rockies and Blue Jays over seven major-league seasons. He stole a career-high 20 stolen bases while with Colorado in 2021.

Defensively, Tapia has prior experience at all three outfield positions. Last year in particular, the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder logged 459 innings in left, 249 2/3 innings in center, and 226 2/3 innings in right. He tallied four outfield assists altogether and ranked in the 83rd percentile in arm strength (averaged 90.1 mph on his throws), per Baseball Savant.

Tapia should have the chance to compete for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster as a left-handed hitting bench option once spring training begins next month. The Red Sox already have an outfield mix that includes Masataka Yoshida, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran. With Enrique Hernandez expected to move back to the middle infield to cover for the injured Trevor Story, the newly-signed Adam Duvall is slated to take over in center field. Add in other non-roster invitees such as Narciso Crook and Greg Allen, and the Sox’ outfield picture suddenly becomes quite crowded.

(Picture of Raimel Tapia: Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Miguel Bleis enters Baseball America’s top 100 prospects rankings

Red Sox outfield prospect Miguel Bleis has entered Baseball America’s top 100 rankings heading into the 2023 season.

Previously unranked, Bleis is now considered by the publication to be the 88th-ranked prospect in all of baseball. The 18-year-old was one of five Red Sox minor-leaguers to make the cut for the top-100 on Wednesday, joining the likes of Marcelo Mayer at No. 10, Triston Casas at No. 29, Ceddanne Rafaela at No. 71, and Masataka Yoshida at No. 87.

Bleis is already regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the Dominican-born outfielder for $1.5 million as a highly-touted international free agent coming out of San Pedro de Macoris in January 2021.

After a solid pro debut in the Dominican Summer League, Bleis made the jump to the Florida Complex League last year. The right-handed hitter batted a stout .301/.353/.543 with 14 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 27 RBIs, 28 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 10 walks, and 45 strikeouts in 40 games (167 plate appearances) for Boston’s rookie-level affiliate.

Among qualified hitters in the Florida Complex League last season, Bleis ranked seventh in batting average, 24th in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (.896), 12th in line-drive rate (22.3 percent) second in isolated power (.242), tied for first in speed score (9.3), and sixth in wRC+ (142), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Bleis saw the majority of his playing time for the FCL Red Sox come in center field. The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder logged 310 1/3 innings in center and just five innings in right while registering a team-high five outfield assists, which is a testament to his arm strength.

Had he not been bothered by back soreness in late August, Bleis would have been promoted to Low-A Salem for the final few weeks of the 2022 campaign. The Red Sox instead opted to have Bleis stay back in Fort Myers to get healthy before sending him home for the winter.

Despite playing in just 40 minor-league games, Bleis still drew plenty of attention throughout the calendar year. Back in August, SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall tweeted that Bleis is “the prospect generating the most buzz in the Red Sox farm system right now.”

In late October, Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline tabbed Bleis as “Boston’s best international prospect since Rafael Devers,” noting that the former’s stock rose in 2022 since “he displayed his all-around ability to a larger audience while making his U.S. debut.”

Bleis, who turns 19 in March, is expected to begin the 2023 season in Salem, where he should serve as the Red Sox’ primary center fielder. There are some concerns about his approach at the plate, but he has time to work out those issues as he continues to develop. As the saying goes, Bleis’ potential is through the roof at the moment.

“He has five tools. That’s the reality,” Red Sox director of player development said of Bleis in a conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings last September. “You don’t see that too often. What those five tools will ultimately (become), how they will pan out, not sure. But in terms of the tools, and in terms of the ability to impact the game in various ways, he does that. I think whenever you have a player who does those types of things, he’s someone you want to pay attention to and watch.”

(Picture of Miguel Bleis: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Matthew Lugo named co-Rookie of the Year in Puerto Rican Winter League

Red Sox infield prospect Matthew Lugo has been named co-Rookie of the Year in the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican Winter League), the league announced on Wednesday.

Lugo, representing the Criollos de Caguas, received the same amount of votes as Leones de Ponce left-hander Miguel Ausua. In 39 games with Caguas this winter, the right-handed hitting 21-year-old batted .275/.360/.450 with three doubles, six home runs, 19 RBIs, 20 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 34 strikeouts over 140 plate appearances.

Defensively, Lugo saw playing time at three different positions for the Criollos. The 6-foot-1, 187 pounder logged 54 2/3 innings at second base, 152 1/3 innings at third base, and 85 2/3 innings at shortstop. His winter ball assignment ended on December 23.

The Red Sox originally selected Lugo in the second round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the Carlos Beltran (Lugo’s uncle) Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. They swayed the Manati native away from his commitment to the University of Miami by signing him for $1.1 million. He is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 14 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Lugo spent the vast majority of the 2022 minor-league season with High-A Greenville. He slashed .288/.344/.500 with 18 home runs and 78 RBIs in 114 games (512 plate appearances) for the Drive before earning a promotion to and appearing in three games with Double-A Portland down the stretch in late September.

At season’s end, Minor League Baseball tabbed Lugo as one of Boston’s organizational All-Stars at shortstop. Interestingly enough, however, Lugo moved off short in August and mostly played third base from that point forward. It now appears as though he is slated to remain at the hot corner since he looked more comfortable there last summer, per SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall.

Lugo, who turns 22 in May, is projected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 season in April. If he intends on having success against more advanced pitching with the Sea Dogs, he will need to work on raising his on-base percentage by drawing more walks while also cutting down on the number of times he expands the strike zone.

In other Puerto Rican Winter League-related news, infielder Edwin Diaz was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Diaz reportedly signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox earlier this week. Additionally, former Red Sox reliever Yacksel Rios was named Pitcher of the Year after allowing just two earned runs in 27 2/3 innings of work for Caguas.

(Picture of Matthew Lugo: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox invite 11 prospects to rookie development program; Ceddanne Rafaela, Bryan Mata among those scheduled to participate

After a three-year hiatus, the Red Sox will be bringing back their Rookie Development Program to Fenway Park later this week.

Boston announced on Wednesday that 11 players are scheduled to participate in the five-day program, which begins on Saturday, January 21, and concludes on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The prospects who were invited are infielders/outfielders Ceddanne Rafaela and Enmanuel Valdez, infielder David Hamilton, outfielder Wilyer Abreu, left-handers Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter, and right-handers Brayan Bello, Ryan Fernandez, Franklin German, Zack Kelly, and Bryan Mata.

Rafaela, Valdez, Hamilton, Abreu, Murphy, and Walter were all added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft. Mata was added in 2020 for the very same reason. Bello, German, and Kelly, meanwhile, all made their major-league debuts for Boston last season.

Interestingly enough, Fernandez is the lone player here who is not currently a member of the Sox’ 40-man roster. The 24-year-old righty flashed some electric stuff (including a high-90s fastball) between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland last year before suffering a season-ending elbow injury in July. He is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 38 prospect in the organization.

Fernandez and these 10 other players will take part in this development program, which was first introduced in 2004 in an effort to ease the transition from the minor- to the major-leagues. Past participants include Bobby Dalbec, Jarren Duran, Tanner Houck, Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts, Matt Barnes, Christian Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts.

The Red Sox last held their rookie development program in Jan. 2020. It was cancelled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not take place in 2022 due to the MLB lockout. In lieu of it being axed last year, Boston held a “Winter Warmup” minicamp in Fort Myers for select prospects who were not yet on the 40-man roster, such as Rafaela, German, Kelly, Murphy, Walter, and Triston Casas.

According to the Red Sox, this year’s version of the rookie development program includes “two workouts daily that emphasize conditioning and strength training as well as a concentration on baseball fundamentals. In addition, the players are attending a number of seminars that will focus on the assimilation into major-league life on and off the field. They will attend the Boston Bruins game on Sunday, Jan. 22, host an RBI clinic alongside the Red Sox Foundation on Monday, Jan. 23, and visit Boston Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 24.”

Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, general manager Brian O’Halloran, and manager Alex Cora are among those who are scheduled to speak with this year’s participants. They will also hear from other members of the club’s baseball operations, baseball communications and media relations, and community relations departments.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to one-year, $7 million deal with outfielder Adam Duvall

The Red Sox and free agent outfielder Adam Duvall have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, as was first reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

According to Mish, Duvall will receive a base salary of $7 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses. Those bonuses are based on number of plate appearances and could take the total value of the deal up to $10 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Duvall, 34, batted .213/.276/.401 with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 21 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 86 games (315 plate appearances) with the Braves last year. The right-handed hitter was shut down in July due to a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required season-ending surgery.

A native of Kentucky, Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. He broke in with San Francisco in 2014 and was then traded to the Reds in a package for veteran starter Mike Leake the following July.

With Cincinnati, Duvall was able to establish himself as a power threat from the right side of the plate. He hit 33 home runs and collected 103 RBIs in the process of being named to his first All-Star team in 2016 and then followed that up by putting together a 31-homer, 99-RBI campaign in 2017.

After a tough start to the 2018 season, the Reds traded Duvall to the Braves that July. He spent the next 2 1/2 years with Atlanta before becoming a free agent for the first time and signing a one-year deal with the Marlins in February 2021. Duvall bounced back in Miami and was then dealt back to Atlanta ahead of the trade deadline that year.

In 146 combined games between the Marlins and Braves in 2021, Duvall slashed .228/.281/.491 with 17 doubles, two triples, a career-high 38 home runs, a National League-best 113 RBIs, 67 runs scored, five stolen bases, 35 walks, and 174 strikeouts across 555 total trips to the plate. He also helped Atlanta win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his defensive work in right field.

All told, Duvall is a lifetime .230/.289/.465 hitter with 163 career homers under his belt in 830 games with the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins. In postseason play, Duvall owns a career line of .200/.247/.400 with five homers and 18 runs driven in across 27 total games. He has the kind of swing that could play well at Fenway Park, where he has gone 6-for-18 (.333) in his career with four home runs in four games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

With Xander Bogaerts opting to sign with the Padres in free agency and Trevor Story slated to miss the start of the 2022 season after undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month, the Red Sox needed to inject some power back into a lineup that hit the seventh-fewest home runs (155) in the American League last year.

While the absences of both Bogaerts and Story made it seem as though the Red Sox would pursue middle infield help before the start of spring training, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have instead elected to solidify their outfield mix. With Duvall expected to regularly man center field alongside fellow free agent signee Masataka Yoshida in left and Alex Verdugo in right, Enrique Hernandez seems primed to move back to the infield after serving as Boston’s everyday center fielder for the better part of the last two seasons.

For his part, Duvall has prior experience at all three outfield positions. Last year, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder logged 237 1/3 innings in left, 382 innings in center, and 90 innings in right. As far as the metrics are concerned, Duvall ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5). He also ranked in the 79th percentile in arm strength (averaged 89.1 mph on his throws), the 74th percentile in outfield jump, and the 67th percentile in sprint speed, per Baseball Savant.

The Red Sox, per Cotillo, are fully confident in Duvall’s ability to play center field. Depending on what Boston does between now and Opening Day, Hernandez and Verdugo represent possible fallback options down the line. The same can be said for Jarren Duran and Rob Refsnyder as well.

Duvall, who turns 35 in September, becomes the seventh major-league free agent addition the Red Sox have made this winter, joining the likes of starter Corey Kluber, relievers Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner, and Yoshida. Of these seven, only Yoshida received more than two guaranteed years on his deal.

As currently constructed, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. So they will have to clear a spot for Duvall once he passes his physical and his signing can be made official.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Armando Sierra improved across the board in 2022

Red Sox first base/outfield prospect Armando Sierra celebrated his 19th birthday on Tuesday.

Sierra originally signed with the Red Sox for $150,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic just two days shy of his 17th birthday in January 2021. Shortly thereafter, the Sabana Grande de Palenque native was identified by Baseball America as a potential under-the-radar addition to Boston’s 2021 signing class.

“Armando was a player we scouted later on in his signing year,” Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero said of Sierra in April 2021. “After scouting him a few times, he stood out for his strong frame and his power. As we continued to see him, it became apparent that not only did he have above average power for his signing class, but he also was developing a stronger approach.”

Sierra made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in July 2021. In 53 games for the DSL Red Sox Blue, the right-handed hitter batted .284/.373/.379 with 10 doubles, two home runs, 35 RBIs, 24 runs scored, 21 walks, and 41 strikeouts over 193 plate appearances.

After seeing the majority of his playing time come in the outfield corners in 2021, Sierra played more first base as he returned to the Dominican Summer League last year. In the process of logging 220 2/3 innings at first, 46 innings in left field, and 41 innings in right field, the 6-foot-2, 189-pounder slashed .314/.399/.473 with 15 doubles, five homers, 48 runs driven in, 37 runs scored, three stolen bases, 25 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 51 games (218 plate appearances) with the DSL Red Sox Blue.

Among the 69 hitters in the Dominican Summer League who made at least 210 trips to the plate in 2022, Sierra ranked second in strikeout rate (10.1 percent), ninth in batting average, 16th in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging percentage, 12th in OPS (.872), 24th in isolated power (.160), 16th in line-drive rate (23 percent), third in swinging-strike rate (16.5 percent), and 10th in wRC+ (136), per FanGraphs. He also represented the Red Sox in last July’s DSL All-Star Game.

As the above numbers indicate, Sierra showed signs of improvement across the board last season. He hit for a higher average (.284 to .314), raised his on-base percentage (.373 to .399), hit for more power (.379 to .473 slugging percentage), walked more (10.9 percent to 11.5 percent walk rate), and struck out less (21.2 to 10.1 percent strikeout rate) while putting up a wRC+ that increased by 19 percent (117 to 136).

Of course, Sierra has done all of this at the lowest rung of the minor-league ladder. He will likely be faced with an adjustment period when he makes the expected jump to the rookie-level Florida Complex League later this summer. With that being said, though, Sierra certainly seems to be on an encouraging trajectory even if he is still just a developing teenager.

Sierra, who obviously does not turn 20 until next January, is not yet regarded by publications such as SoxProspects.com as one of the top 60 prospects in Boston’s farm system. He should, however, have the chance to elevate his profile once he officially goes stateside in 2023.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign infielder Edwin Díaz to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed infielder Edwin Diaz to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. It is unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Diaz, 27, is not to be confused with the All-Star closer for the Mets. While they both hail from Puerto Rico, the Diaz the Red Sox are signing has yet to break in at the big-league level.

A native of Vega Alta, Diaz was originally selected by the Athletics in the 15th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Ladislao Martinez High School. He made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League that July and has since appeared in a total of 717 minor-league games across nine seasons.

After reaching free agency for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, Edwin signed a minors pact with the Astros during the lockout that December. The right-handed hitter missed the first two months of the 2022 season with an undisclosed injury. He then batted .168/.254/.376 with two doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 24 RBIs, 20 runs scored, two stolen bases, 17 walks, and 60 strikeouts in 44 games (169 plate appearances) with Double-A Corpus Christi before moving up to Triple-A Sugar Land in late August.

With the Space Cowboys, Diaz slashed .227/.277/.373 with five doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 runs driven in, 12 runs scored, eight walks, and 46 strikeouts over 30 games (120 plate appearances). All told, he is a lifetime .215/.296/.394 hitter in the minor-leagues. That includes a .217/.295/.405 line at Double-A and a .175/.242/.299 line at Triple-A.

On the other side of the ball, Diaz — who is described by Lockard as slick-fielding — has experience at every infield position besides pitcher and catcher. This past season, for instance, the versatile 6-foot-2, 223-pounder logged 18 innings at first base, 191 1/3 innings at second base, 104 innings at third base, and 276 1/3 innings at shortstop between Corpus Christi and Sugar Land.

Diaz, who turns 28 in August, should provide Boston with experienced infield depth regardless of where he starts the 2023 season (Portland or Worcester). If he receives an invite to big-league spring training, he would become the ninth player to get one thus far, joining the likes of Jorge Alfaro, Greg Allen, Narciso Crook, Niko Goodrum, Caleb Hamilton, Ronaldo Hernandez, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Norwith Gudino.

In the meantime, Diaz is coming off a solid offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League in which he batted .229/375/.418 with eight homers and 29 RBIs over 48 games (192 plate appearances) for the Criollos de Caguas (Alex Cora’s hometown team). Ramon Vazquez served as Diaz’s manager in Caguas before being named Red Sox bench coach back in November.

(Picture of Edwin Diaz: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade Connor Seabold to Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded right-hander Connor Seabold to the Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Seabold, 26, was designated for assignment last Thursday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for newly-signed veteran starter Corey Kluber.

Boston originally acquired Seabold from the Phillies alongside fellow righty Nick Pivetta in the August 2020 trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia. The California native had been regarded as one of the better pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system and had served as upper-minors rotation depth for the better part of the last two seasons.

In 11 starts for Triple-A Worcester in 2021, Seabold posted a 3.50 ERA with 52 strikeouts to 19 walks over 54 innings of work. He followed that up by forging a 3.32 ERA with 89 punchouts to 19 walks across 19 starts (86 2/3 innings) for the WooSox in 2022.

Unfortunately, the success Seabold has enjoyed at the Triple-A level has yet to carry over to the major-leagues. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound hurler lasted just three innings in his big-league debut against the White Sox in September 2021 and then allowed a total of 23 earned runs in 18 1/3 frames (11.29 ERA in five starts) for the Red Sox last year.

All told, Seabold owns a lifetime 10.55 ERA and 6.82 FIP in six career major-league outings (21 1/3 innings). He has, however, been marred by injuries (right elbow inflammation, pectoral strain, right forearm extensor strain) in each of the last two seasons, which has likely played a role in his four-seam fastball hovering in the low-90s in the majors as opposed to the mid-90s when he was a member of the Phillies organization.

With the addition of Kluber, the Red Sox have further bolstered a starting rotation mix that already includes Pivetta, Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello, Jamex Paxton, and Tanner Houck. While those seven will likely be contending for spots in Boston’s Opening Day rotation, the likes of Josh Winckowski, Kutter Crawford, Bryan Mata, Chris Murphy, and Brandon Walter will presumably start the year at Triple-A, meaning Seabold only became more expandable.

Seabold, who turns 27 later this month, will now look to capitalize on a new opportunity with the Rockies. He still has one minor-league option remaining, so Colorado would be able to send Seabold to the minors without first exposing him to waivers.

Regardless of how he fares with the Rockies, though, Seabold becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to be lopped off the 40-man roster this winter and join a new organization after the fact. Most notably, Eduard Bazardo, Franchy Cordero, and Darwinzon Hernandez have all ended up with the Orioles while Tyler Danish signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees. Jeter Downs was claimed off waivers by the Nationals and Eric Hosmer has inked a one-year contract with the Cubs.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw announces retirement from baseball

Former Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw is calling it a career. The 32-year-old took to Twitter on Monday evening to officially announce his retirement from baseball.

“For the last eight years, I’ve been blessed with to live my childhood dreams of playing Major League Baseball,” Shaw wrote. “But today, that dream comes to an end! 12 years ago, being a 9th-round pick, I would never have imagined what this game provided me. The memories will last a lifetime. To everyone that made an impact on my career (the list is endlessly long), I will forever be indebted to you! As this chapter closes, the only two words that come to mind is THANK YOU!”

The son of longtime reliever Jeff Shaw, Travis was originally selected by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Kent State. While the Ohio native was not heralded as a premier prospect, he gradually worked his way through Boston’s farm system and made his major-league debut at the age of 25 in May 2015.

Shaw proceeded to put together a solid rookie campaign, as he batted .270/.327/.487 with 10 doubles, 13 home runs, and 36 RBIs in his first 65 games (248 plate appearances) with the Red Sox. While being dubbed “The Mayor of Ding Dong City” by fans, Shaw slashed .242/.306/.421 with 34 doubles, 16 home runs, and 71 RBIs in 145 games (530 plate appearances) the following year.

That September, however, there was a falling out of sorts between Shaw and then-Red Sox manager John Farrell following the promotion of top prospect Yoan Moncada, who cut into Shaw’s playing time. Three months later, Shaw and two others were traded to the Brewers in exchange for reliever Tyler Thornburg.

Thornburg was marred by injuries and appeared in just 41 games in three seasons with the Red Sox. Shaw, on the other, hand broke out in Milwaukee by clubbing 31 homer runs in 2017 and putting up a career-best 32-homer campaign in 2018 as the Brewers’ everyday third baseman.

Beginning in 2019, though, Shaw’s production began to dip. The left-handed hitter was limited to just 86 games due in part to a right wrist strain and struggled to the tune of a .157/.281/.270 slash line before being non-tendered by Milwaukee that December.

After spending the COVID-shortened 2020 season with the Blue Jays, Shaw returned to the Brewers in 2021. He got off to another tough start and was placed on release waivers that August. The Red Sox then claimed Shaw, who provided the club with a bit of a spark off the bench. He most notably hit a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning of an 8-4 win over the Rangers on Aug. 23.

Shaw got into five games during Boston’s run to the American League Championship Series that October. He spent four months on the open market before returning to the Red Sox on a minor-league deal last March and making the Opening Day roster out of spring training.

To start the 2022 season, Shaw went 0-for-19 with zero walks and seven strikeouts in his first seven games. He was designated for assignment on April 29 and went unclaimed on waivers, thus becoming a free agent again. After not landing with another team last year, Shaw has ultimately decided to hang up his cleats.

All told, Shaw was a lifetime .237/.319/437 hitter with 127 doubles, three triples, 114 home runs, 366 RBIs, 310 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 733 career games (2,690 plate appearances) between the Red Sox, Brewers, and Blue Jays. He saw playing time at first base, second base, third base, and left field as part of an eight-year tenure in the big-leagues.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to minor-league deal with catcher Jorge Alfaro

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with catcher Jorge Alfaro, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Alfaro, 29, spent the 2022 season with the Padres and batted .246/.285/.383 with 14 doubles, seven home runs, 40 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 11 walks, and 98 strikeouts in 82 games (274 plate appearances) before being non-tendered in November. He also threw out five of 30 possible base stealers while splitting time behind the plate with Austin Nola and Luis Campusano.

A native of Colombia, Alfaro originally signed with the Rangers as a highly-touted international free agent in 2010. Five years later, he was dealt to the Phillies as part of a blockbuster trade that sent Cole Hamels from Philadelphia to Texas.

Alfaro broke in with the Phillies the following September and appeared in a total of 143 games over three seasons with the club before being involved in another significant trade. In February 2019, the Marlins acquired Alfaro and two other players from Philadelphia in exchange for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

In parts of three seasons with Miami, the right-handed hitting Alfaro slashed .252/.298/.386 with 25 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 78 runs scored across 253 total games (876 plate appearances). The Marlins traded Alfaro to the Padres for cash considerations following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.

So, for his big-league career, Alfaro is a lifetime .256/.305/.396 hitter with 67 doubles, four triples, 47 homers, 194 runs driven in, 150 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 70 walks, and 566 strikeouts in 478 games (1,658 plate appearances) between the Phillies, Marlins, and Padres. He has traditionally hit the ball hard (averaged an exit velocity of 89.4 mph last year) but he has done so while posting a career 34.1 percent strikeout rate and measly 4.2 percent walk rate.

Defensively, Alfaro has logged over 3,340 innings at catcher since debuting for Philadelphia in 2016. In that time frame, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound backstop has accrued negative-17 defensive runs saved and has graded poorly in terms of pitch framing. While his arm strength and pop time are well-regarded, his receiving abilities leave much to be desired.

Alfaro, who turns 30 in June, will receive a base salary of $2 million if he makes Boston’s big-league roster. He also has multiple opt-outs in his deal, meaning he can return to free agency if he is not called up by June 1 or July 1 at the latest, per Cotillo.

On paper, Alfaro provides the Red Sox with experienced catching depth. In reality, though, he should have a chance to compete with Reese McGuire and Connor Wong — who also hits from the right side of the plate — for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster once spring training begins next month.

As noted by Cotillo, Wong has minor-league options remaining and can therefore be moved freely between Triple-A Worcester and Boston this coming season. Alfaro, on the other hand, can no longer be optioned to the minor-leagues since he already has more than five years of major-league service time under his belt.

All things considered, the addition of Alfaro should make for an even more interesting spring training in Fort Myers. In the meantime, Alfaro has enjoyed a productive offseason playing for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League. He came into play Monday slashing .383/.471/.633 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 16 postseason games for the Tigres, who are now just two wins away from clinching the LIDOM title.

(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)