Veteran catcher Jorge Alfaro has opted out of his minor-league contract with the Red Sox and intends to test free agency, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. The club now has 48 hours to decide whether to block the 29-year-old backstop’s opt-out by adding him to the active roster.
Alfaro, who turns 30 later this month, joined the Red Sox on a minors pact in January after being non-tendered by the Padres last November. Though the right-handed hitter did not make Boston’s Opening Day out of spring training, he elected to remain in the organization and has since torn it up with Triple-A Worcester.
Entering Thursday, Alfaro has batted a stout .320/.366/.520 with 13 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 30 RBIs, 22 runs scored, four stolen bases, nine walks, and 43 strikeouts in 43 games (191 plate appearances) with the WooSox. Defensively, the native Colombian has allowed six passed balls and has thrown out five of 35 would-be base stealers while splitting time behind the plate with Caleb Hamilton and Ronaldo Hernandez. He has also made two starts at first base.
Despite the strong offensive performance, it does not appear as though the Red Sox are keen on adding Alfaro to their 26-man group. That being the case because they are comfortable with the tandem of Connor Wong and Reese McGuire and do not intend on carrying a third catcher at this time.
When speaking with reporters (including Cotillo) prior to Wednesday’s loss to the Reds at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager Alex Cora acknowledged that Alfaro would be a tough fit on the roster as things stand now.
“He’s swinging the bat well,” Cora said. “We’ll see where we’re at. Obviously, right now, we’re very comfortable with Reese and Wong. There’s (another) 29 teams out there. They might have a chance or not. In a selfish way, hopefully, nobody wants him. As a person and a player, I would love him to be in the big-leagues, either with us or somebody else. It’s where we’re at right now. We’re very comfortable with these two guys. I’ll repeat myself.”
As noted by Cotillo, the Red Sox will presumably wait until the 48-hour deadline to make their official decision on Alfaro. That way, they can protect themselves in the event that either Wong or McGuire suffer some sort of injury in the interim.
If Alfaro does indeed leave the organization, though, Hamilton and Hernandez would emerge as the top two catching options for the WooSox while Stephen Scott and Nathan Hickey are right behind them at Double-A Portland.
(Picture of Jorge Alfaro: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)