Red Sox reportedly made attempt to sign Zach Eflin before right-hander agreed to three-year, $40 million deal with Rays

The Red Sox reportedly made an attempt to sign Zach Eflin before the free agent right-hander agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the division rival Rays on Thursday.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Boston offered Eflin the same three-year, $40 million deal he received from Tampa Bay. But Eflin — a native of nearby Orlando — ultimately decided to sign closer to home.

On that note, The Athletic’s Chad Jennings reports that the Red Sox were actually the highest bidder for Eflin, but the Rays were given the opportunity to match the offer and that is exactly what they did.

“The Red Sox were not given an opportunity to raise their bid,” Jennings wrote late Thursday. “They also didn’t know until the deal was done that the Rays were going to have the final opportunity to match.”

Eflin, who turns 29 in April, is slated to earn $11 million in each of the next two seasons and will then see his salary increase to $18 million in 2025, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. The $40 million in guaranteed money represents the largest free agent contract the Rays have ever given out.

A former first-round draft pick of the Padres out of high school in 2012, Eflin was dealt to the Dodgers — who then traded him to the Phillies — in December 2014. The righty broke in with Philadelphia in 2016 and spent the last seven seasons with the club before becoming a free agent for the first time last month.

Eflin has traditionally been used as a starter throughout his big-league career and that was once again the case to kick off the 2022 campaign. He posted a 4.37 ERA and 3.83 FIP with 56 strikeouts to 15 walks in his first 13 starts (68 innings) of the season before suffering a right knee contusion towards the end of May. That led to him being sidelined nor nearly two months, and so the Phillies elected to bring Eflin back as a reliever once he was healthy to pitch again in September.

In that role, Eflin pitched to a 1.17 ERA with nine punchouts to zero walks over seven appearances (7 2/3 innings) out of the bullpen. He was also the Phillies’ second-most used reliever (10 outings) in the postseason and walked just two of the 45 batters he faced during their run to the National League pennant.

While he may have enjoyed some success as a reliever, Eflin is expected to join a Rays starting rotation that includes the likes of Tyler Glasnow, Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, and Drew Rasmussen, among others. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been in the market for starting pitching this offseason. They remain engaged with Nathan Eovaldi and have had conversations with Corey Kluber, who made 31 starts for Tampa Bay this past season.

With that being said, the Red Sox being interested in and making a contract offer to Eflin should come as no surprise. While his strikeout numbers and whiff rates do not jump off the page, Eflin was extremely effective this year when it came to limiting both hard contact and walks. Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound hurler ranked in the 96th percentile in the league in average exit velocity (85.3 mph), the 94th percentile in hard-hit rate (31.3 percent), and the 91st percentile in walk rate (4.8 percent).

Even with a somewhat concerning injury history, the Rays opted to take a gamble on Eflin in order to fortify their starting rotation depth heading into 2023. The Red Sox, on the other hand, will have to look elsewhere if they are keen on addressing that area of need in free agency.

This is not the first time this offseason Boston has lost out on a free agent they were interested in. Earlier this week, veteran slugger Jose Abreu inked a three-year, $58.5 million deal with the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. Shortly after that news broke, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported that Abreu was the Sox’ “No. 1 outside target” and relayed that the club met with him as soon as free agency opened.

In similar fashion to Abreu choosing the Astros, the Rays may have represented a more attractive destination for Eflin. Pitching closer to home is one thing, but Eflin will also be able to see more of his record-setting salary than he would in other places since there is no state income tax in Florida.

Either way, the Red Sox failed to sign a free agent who would have helped in filling an area of need for a team coming off a last-place finish in the American League East. For team president and CEO Sam Kennedy, who spoke with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) at Fenway Park on Wednesday, what takes place between now and Opening Day will go a long way in improving for 2023.

“There’s a lot of different irons in the fire,” said Kennedy, who acknowledged that things could pick up when the Winter Meetings begin in San Diego next week. “It’s Chaim [Bloom] and [Brian O’Halloran] and their team’s job to uncover every opportunity. That’s what’s great about hot stove season. Things could go in any number of directions.

“I think we’re going to build a club this city is going to be proud of,” he added. “There’s definitely a chip on everybody’s shoulder. Last year was disappointing and frustrating. People are fired up.”

(Picture of Zach Eflin: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox will have MassMutual logo on their jerseys beginning in 2023

The Red Sox have entered into a 10-year agreement with MassMutual in which the Springfield-based insurer will become the club’s signature sponsor beginning next season.

As part of the agreement, the Red Sox will wear ad patches on their jerseys for the first time ever in 2023. MassMutual’s logo will be featured on either the left or right sleeve of every Red Sox uniform, as was revealed at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

When Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association ratified a new collective bargaining agreement back in March, teams were granted the ability to put advertisements on their uniforms for the first time in league history starting in 2023.

Over the summer, Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal reported that MassMutual had agreed to sponsor the Red Sox for $17 million per year over the next 10 years. In addition to the jersey patches, MassMutual will install an 80-foot sign over the center field scoreboard, replacing the iconic John Hancock sign, and have  highly visible messaging throughout Fenway Park.

For team president and CEO Sam Kennedy, this new partnership not only represents an exciting opportunity for the Red Sox, but for the baseball industry as a whole.

“Making a deal with MassMutual made a lot of sense in so many ways,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said. “Just being headquartered here, a company that’s 50 years older than the Red Sox even, being founded in Springfield, a local connection, made a ton of sense. Their shared commitment to the community, giving back, creating this program that’s going to bring Boston Public School kids in to have a learning lab that is Fenway Park will be really exciting for us and we’re looking forward to that.

“For the baseball industry, it’s huge,” he added. “It opens up a new revenue opportunity that didn’t exist before. At the end of the day, huge credit to Commissioner (Rob) Manfred for pushing forward on this. We needed this new opportunity. Our job is to grow the game and that includes growing the revenue opportunity which ultimately gets reinvested into players and into our ballparks and facilities. It’s a great thing for baseball and we’re excited about it.”

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

Red Sox’ Garrett Whitlock once again has idol Rick Porcello’s number after losing it in spring training

It appears as though Garrett Whitlock has once again obtained the uniform number he has long yearned for.

Whitlock, who wore No. 72 in his first two seasons with the Red Sox, is now listed as No. 22 on the club’s 40-man roster, per MLB.com. The right-hander initially planned on changing his number after his rookie year, but he gave up the No. 22 after Derek Holland — who signed a minor-league deal with Boston in March — asked for it in spring training.

Holland did not make the Sox’ Opening Day roster out of camp and was granted his release in May. The No. 22 then went unclaimed until veteran outfielder Tommy Pham elected to wear it after being acquired from the Reds in early August.

Pham batted just .234/.298/.374 in 53 games with the Red Sox and became a free agent earlier this month after his mutual option was declined earlier this month. That gave Whitlock the opportunity to re-claim the number and the righty has since taken advantage of it.

Whitlock grew up a fan of longtime big-league starter Rick Porcello, who donned the No. 22 in his five seasons with the Red Sox from 2015-2019. In a conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings last October, Whitlock described Porcello as his “favorite pitcher ever.”

Growing up in Georgia, Whitlock tried to watch as many Tigers and Red Sox games as possible when Porcello was on the mound. He was a sophomore at the University of Alabama at Birmingham when Porcello won the American League Cy Young Award in 2016.

After coming over from the Yankees to the Red Sox in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Whitlock gained an even greater respect for Porcello as teammates told him about the kind of leader he was during his time in Boston. Those same teammates encouraged Whitlock to switch to the No. 22, but Whitlock would only do so if he received permission from Porcello himself.

“The only way I’m going to change my number is if Porcello tells me, in person, ‘It’s OK for you to be 22,” Whitlock told Jennings. “And the only other number would be 48, because that’s what he was in Detroit. So, those are the only numbers I really care about that I would do. But I don’t want to taint his number. I don’t want to do anything like that, so I would only do it with his permission.”

Porcello, as it turns out, watched Whitlock from afar in 2021 and came away impressed with what he saw from the then-rookie hurler. The 12-year veteran told Jennings he wanted Whitlock to take the No. 22 since “he would do nothing but increase the value” of it.

“That number needs some steady success like he’s doing,” said Porcello. “I would love to see him wear it. He’s his own guy, too. He’s going to have his own success and carve his own path. Whatever he wants, but a number, they’re there to be worn. I hope I’ll get a chance to see him and tell him to wear it.”

While Whitlock and Porcello have yet to meet in-person, Jennings’ article was enough for Whitlock to first make the switch in the spring. It may have taken longer than expected thanks to some unique circumstances, but the 26-year-old will now have the chance to pay homage to his favorite pitcher t0 an even greater extent. He already wore three-quarter sleeves and bent the bill of his cap as a tribute to Porcello.

“Hopefully I can do No. 22 proud by him,” Whitlock told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo back in March. “He pitched like a blue-collar guy. He pitched. He didn’t just try to throw hard. He hated walks and I loved that aspect, too. He just wanted to win. Whatever the outcome was or whatever happens, I’m going to grind it out, be a workhorse and get the W and try to put up as many innings I can in a year. I just loved that fact so that’s what I want to aspire to be.”

Whitlock has primarily been used as a reliever through the first two years of his major-league career. He made nine starts from April 23-June 7 this past season and posted a 4.15 ERA with 38 strikeouts to nine walks over 39 innings of work. The Red Sox are now planning on using Whitlock as a full-time starter heading into the 2023 campaign. This has seemingly always been the plan since Whitlock was a rotation prospect in his time with the Yankees organization and was signed to a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension in April that includes significant incentive clauses based on the number of innings he pitches moving forward.

Whitlock’s 2022 season was cut short due to a right hip impingement that ultimately required arthroscopic surgery in September. He told The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey last week that his rehab is going well and he expects to be fully ready for spring training when pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers in February.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially promote Ramón Vázquez to bench coach

UPDATE: The Red Sox have officially named Vazquez as their next bench coach, the club announced on Tuesday. Vazquez becomes the fourth different bench coach Boston has had since the start of the 2018 season.

The Red Sox are promoting Ramon Vazquez from first base coach to bench coach, according to reporter Edwin Hernandez Jr. (@LBPRCinEnglish) on Twitter.

Vazquez, who has been managing the Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason, will be taking over for Will Venable. After serving as Boston’s bench coach for the last two seasons, Venable left the club earlier this month to become the associate manager of the Rangers under Bruce Bochy.

A native of Puerto Rico himself, Vazquez first joined manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff as a statistical analysis coordinator in November 2017. He remained in that role for three seasons before taking on more responsibility as a quality control coach in 2021. When Tom Goodwin’s unvaccinated status kept him off the field, Vazquez filled in as the first base coach for the entirety of the Sox’ postseason run. He was named the full-time first base coach last December after the club elected to part ways with Goodwin.

Prior to joining the Red Sox as a coach, Vazquez spent three seasons (2014-2016) in the Astros organization. He served as Houston’s developmental specialist from 2014-15 and then managed its High-A minor-league affiliate in 2016. The following season, Vazquez got his first taste of life as a big-league coach with the Padres while working under Andy Green.

Going back to his playing days, the 46-year-old Vazquez is a veteran of nine major-league seasons (2001-2009) between the Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, Guardians, Rangers, and Pirates. In July 2005, Vazquez was traded from Boston to Cleveland in exchange for a fellow infielder (and Puerto Rican) in Cora.

In becoming the Red Sox’ next bench coach, Vazquez has opted to step down as Caguas’ manager in order to focus on his new duties. This comes just 10 months after he became the third manager ever to win four titles in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

With Vazquez taking over for Venable as Cora’s top lieutenant, the Red Sox now have an opening at first base coach. It remains to be seen how they will go about filling that vacancy. As far as internal candidates are concerned, major-league field coordinator Andy Fox and Triple-A Worcester bench coach Jose David Flores could garner consideration since they have prior experience at the position. Fox was the Marlins’ first base coach from 2007-2009 while Flores served in the role with the Phillies in 2018.

(Picture of Ramon Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire Hoy Park from Pirates in exchange for pitching prospect Inmer Lobo

The Red Sox have acquired infielder/outfielder Hoy Park from the Pirates in exchange for pitching prospect Inmer Lobo, the club announced on Wednesday.

Park, 26, was just designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster, which is now at full capacity after left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez was signed to a one-year deal earlier Wednesday morning.

A native of S0uth Korea, Park was originally signed by the Yankees as an international free agent in July 2014. He was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in New York’s farm system in 2016 and made his major-league debut last July.

After just one game in pinstripes, though, Park and fellow infielder Diego Castillo were traded to the Pirates for All-Star reliever Clay Holmes last July. Park appeared in 44 games for Pittsburgh down the stretch last season and batted .197/.299/.339 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, one stolen base, 18 walks, and 38 strikeouts across 149 trips to the plate.

Park made the Pirates’ Opening Day roster out of spring training this year but was sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis before the end of April. In four separate stints with the big-league club, the left-handed hitter slashed .216/.276/.373 with two doubles, two homers, six runs driven in, seven runs scored, one stolen base, four walks, and 15 strikeouts over 23 games and 60 plate appearances.

On the other side of the ball, Park has major-league experience at six different positions. This past season in Pittsburgh, the versatile 6-foot-1, 200-pounder logged 61 innings at second base, 39 innings at third base, 22 innings at shortstop, and 12 innings in right field. He also saw playing time in left field and in center field last year.

Park, who turns 27 in April, has two minor-league options remaining, meaning he could provide the Red Sox with both infield and outfield depth at Triple-A Worcester next season. For his minor-league career, Park is a lifetime .255/.384/.417 hitter in 145 games at the Triple-A level.

Lobo, 18, was signed by the Red Sox for $10,000 out of Venezuela back in January. The left-hander spent the entirety of his first pro season in the Dominican Summer League and posted a 0.82 ERA with 28 strikeouts to two walks over five starts spanning 22 innings of work.

(Picture of Hoy Park: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez to one-year deal with club option for 2024

The Red Sox have signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract for the 2023 season, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal comes with a club option for 2024 as well.

Rodriguez, who turned 31 earlier this month, will make at least $2 million in guaranteed money with the Red Sox. His contract includes a base salary of $1.5 million in 2023 and up to $2 million in active roster bonuses, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The Red Sox then hold a $4.25 million option over Rodriguez for 2024. If they decline that, Rodriguez will receive $500,000 in the form of a buyout. When taking other performance bonuses into account, Rodriguez’s deal can max out at $8.25 million over the next two seasons.

After finishing with the fifth-worst bullpen ERA (4.59) this year, the Red Sox have elected to make Rodriguez their first free agent addition of the offseason. The Dominican-born southpaw spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with the Mets and posted a 4.47 ERA and 3.23 FIP to go along with 57 strikeouts to 26 walks over 55 relief appearances spanning 50 1/3 innings of work.

Rodriguez was initially one of 12 pitchers to make the Mets’ Wild Card series roster last month, but he was removed from it following Game 1 due to an unspecified shoulder issue that ultimately required minor surgery after the season, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Listed at 6-foot-1, and 200 pounds, Rodriguez operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker and changeup — his two most frequently-used offerings — as well as a four-seam fastball and slider. This past season, Rodriguez limited opposing hitters to an average exit velocity of 85.3 mph, a hard-hit rate of 31.8 percent, and a barrel rate of 3.8 percent, per Baseball Savant. His chase rate of 34.7 percent also ranked in the 94th percentile of the league.

The Red Sox, per Cotillo, are intrigued by Rodriguez’s pitch mix and his ability to induce ground balls, soft contact, and whiffs. They are optimistic that his performance will be more in line with his Statcast numbers as opposed to his 4.56 career ERA moving forward. They also believe in his ability to get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, as he held righties to a .625 OPS against and lefties to a .645 OPS in 2022.

A native of Santo Domingo, Rodriguez first signed with the Pirates as an international free agent in March 2009. He was traded to the Phillies in 2014 and made his major-league debut two years later. In June 2017, Rodriguez was traded to the Rangers and became a free agent at the end of the season. He spent part of the 2018 campaign in the Orioles system before signing with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball.

After spending the remainder of 2018 and the entirety of 2019 in Japan, Rodriguez returned to the major-leagues in 2020 with the Rangers. Texas traded him and Joey Gallo to the Yankees at the 2021 trade deadline. New York then flipped him to the Mets for fellow reliever Miguel Castro back in April.

All told, Rodriguez owns a 4.56 ERA and 3.65 FIP across 157 career appearances (146 innings) in five seasons at the big-league level. The lefty will now join a Red Sox bullpen that at the moment includes the likes of Matt Barnes, John Schreiber, Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, and Zack Kelly, among others.

While that group could still undergo a dramatic change between now and Opening Day, Rodriguez is line to provide Boston with a left-handed relief option in 2023. With the addition of Rodriguez, the Red Sox currently have 39 platers on their 40-man roster.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Red Sox keeping 7:10 p.m. as standard start time for Fenway Park night games in 2023

The Red Sox will keep 7:10 p.m. as their standard first pitch time for weekday home games at Fenway Park, according to The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo.

A team spokesperson confirmed to Cerullo on Tuesday that the club’s default start times for the 2023 season will be 7:10 p.m. on weekdays, 4:10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1:35 p.m. on Sundays, just as they were in 2021 and 2022.

There are still a number of games with start times to be determined, but the Red Sox are planning on trying out an earlier 6:10 p.m. start time for at least three midweek night games next season, per Cerullo. Those will happen against the Blue Jays on Thursday, May 4, against the Marlins on Thursday, June 29, and against the Rays on Wednesday, September 27. All three of those games will take place before the start of a road trip.

The Red Sox also plan on hosting two midweek, non-holiday games that will start at 1:35 p.m. The first will come against the Pirates on Wednesday, April 5, and the second will come against the Twins on Thursday, April 20. Both of those contests fall on getaway days as well.

As far as holiday games are concerned, Boston will be hosting the Angels on Patriots’ Day (April 17), the Cardinals on Mother’s Day (May 14), the Yankees on Father’s Day (June 18), and the Rangers on Independence Day (July 4).

The decision for the Red Sox to keep start times the same as they have been comes at a time when other clubs across Major League Baseball have elected to do the opposite. The Rays, for instance, experimented with a 6:40 p.m. start time for the majority of their home games at Tropicana Field this past season and will keep things the same in 2023.

Clubs have begun starting night games earlier in an effort to keep fans at the ballpark for entire games. Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy acknowledged last month that the Red Sox were looking into a similar change after averaging the second-highest time of game (3 hours and 11 minutes) in the American League.

“We’re looking at start times in the context of what’s best for our fans, what’s best for the baseball operation,” Kennedy told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) at the club’s end-of-season press conference. “We’ve had lots of discussions with players and (Alex Cora) and his staff and baseball operations. We are looking at potentially some different start times next year.”

Though they ultimately decided against moving up the start time of weekday night games in 2023, the Red Sox are optimistic that MLB’s new pace-of-play initiatives (such as the pitch clock) will enhance the in-game viewing experience for fans beginning next season.

With that being said, the Red Sox are scheduled to open the 2023 campaign against the Orioles on March 30 at Fenway Park.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox re-sign relievers Oddanier Mosqueda, Michael Gettys to minor-league deals

The Red Sox have re-signed relievers Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys to minor-league deals for the 2023 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Mosqueda, 23, spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland. The Venezuelan-born left-hander posted a 4.30 FIP — but much more respectable 4.05 FIP and 3.40 xFIP — with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 appearances (58 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs.

Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed at least 50 innings this season, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), WHIP (1.12), and groundball rate (46 percent), and eighth in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

A native of Caracas, Mosqueda originally signed with Boston as an international free agent in July 2015. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound southpaw operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 83-84 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. He is projected to make the jump to Triple-A Worcester next spring.

Gettys, meanwhile, split the 2022 season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. After posting a 3.34 ERA (4.33 FIP) in 22 outings (29 2/3 innings) with the Drive, the 27-year-old right-hander earned a promotion to Double-A in mid-July. As a member of the Sea Dogs bullpen, he pitched to a 0.48 ERA and 4.00 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to eight walks over 18 appearances spanning 18 2/3 innings of work.

Unlike Mosqueda, Gettys is not your prototypical relief prospect. The Georgia native was originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Gainesville High School. At that time, Gettys was a highly-touted outfield prospect who quickly rose through the ranks of San Diego’s farm system.

After reaching minor-league free agency for the first time at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Gettys inked a minors pact with the Red Sox that November. The right-handed hitter was used exclusively as an outfielder by the WooSox before being placed on the development list last August. By the end of the month, Gettys was with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in Fort Myers making his professional debut as a pitcher.

Boston first re-signed Gettys to a minor-league deal last November. Between last season and this season, the 6-foot-1, 217-pound hurler owns a lifetime 2.36 ERA in 45 relief career appearances (53 1/3 innings) across three different levels. SoxProspects.com notes that his arsenal consists of a 92-94 mph heater that tops out at 95 mph and a 77-82 mph breaking ball that resembles a slider or curveball.

Gettys, who does not turn 28 until next October, is expected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season in April. By bringing back both Gettys and Mosqueda, the Red Sox have reduced their minor-league free agent pool by two.

According to SoxProspects.com, Boston has 14 minor-league free agents who remain unsigned. Notables from that group include Pedro Castellanos, Geoff Hartlieb, Brian Keller, Johan Mieses, Hudson Potts, and Christin Stewart. Minor-league free agency just began on Thursday, so it should be interesting to see which of these players are re-signed or which opt to sign elsewhere.

(Pictures of Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox, Rob Refsnyder avoid arbitration by agreeing to $1.2 million deal for 2023 season

The Red Sox and outfielder Rob Refsnyder have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal for the 2023 season, reports Chad Jennings of The Athletic.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo relays that Refsnyder will receive $1.2 million in 2023, which represents a 50 percent raise from the $800,000 he earned in 2022. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that the deal includes up to $100,000 in performance bonuses.

Refsnyder originally signed a minor-league pact with the Sox last December. After failing to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the 31-year-old accepted an assignment to Triple-A Worcester. He first made his Red Sox debut as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.

In 57 total games with the Red Sox, Refsnyder batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching as evidenced by his .359/.411/.594 slash line off southpaws.

Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions this season. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 24 2/3 innings in left, 115 innings in center, and 163 innings in right while registering one outfield assist. He also has past experience at every infield position besides shortstop.

“Great season. Great job for us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last month in regards to Refsnyder’s performance. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”

For as productive as Refsnyder was this year, he also dealt with his fair share of injuries. A right knee sprain sidelined him from July 30 until August 6. He then missed the final four games of the season after being shut down with low back spasms.

“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” said Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the offseason and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”

Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, provides Cora and Co. with experienced outfield depth. The native South Korean is likely to serve as the club’s fourth outfielder next season, but he could also platoon with a left-handed hitter if needed.

As things stand now, the Red Sox have Refsnyder, Alex Verdugo, and Enrique Hernandez as available outfield options while Jarren Duran is also on the 40-man roster. That being said, the expectation seems to be that Boston will look to bolster its outfield via trade and/or free agency this winter.

With Refsnyder locked in for 2023, the Red Sox still have nine other arbitraiton-eligible players on their roster in Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, Nick Pivetta, Franchy Cordero, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Josh Taylor, Reese McGuire, and Yu Chang. The club has until next Friday, November 18, to tender these players a contract or they will otherwise become free agents.

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Triston Casas unlikely to return to Dominican Winter League due to knee injury

UPDATE: Licey general manager Audo Vicente told reporters (including David Alcantara) on Tuesday that while Casas remains in Boston, he is expected to rejoin the team in the third week of November.

Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas is not expected to return to the Dominican Winter League this offseason, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Monday.

Casas had been playing for the Tigres del Licey and went 2-for-9 (.222) with one RBI, two runs scored, five walks, and three strikeouts in his first three games with the club. The 22-year-old last suited up for Licey on October 17 and has since been sidelined with knee soreness.

Because of that discomfort, the Red Sox flew Casas to Boston so he could undergo further testing. An MRI revealed no structural damage, leaving Bloom and other team officials to believe Casas would be able to return to the Dominican Republic before Licey’s season ended. They no longer share that sense of optimism.

“He came back home, we looked at the knee, and we are not concerned,” Bloom said of Casas. “But just given that the soreness was still lingering, given what’s ahead of him — hopefully big things in 2023 — he ended up going back [home] to Florida. At this point, we don’t expect him to go back to [Licey].”

One of the reasons the Red Sox sent Casas to the Dominican because the former first-round draft pick missed nearly two months of the minor-league season with a high right ankle sprain. The idea was for him to make up for lost time, but this latest injury appears to have prevented that from happening in full.

Casas, who turns 23 in January, is expected to emerge as Boston’s everyday first baseman in 2023 if he can stay healthy. The left-handed hitter made his highly-anticipated major-league debut in September and batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 27 games (95 plate appearances) with the Red Sox.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)