Red Sox sign former Cubs outfielder Narciso Crook to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent outfielder Narciso Crook to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the team’s transactions log on MLB.com. It’s unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training, but Crook has been assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

Crook, 27, made his big-league debut for the Cubs over the summer. In just four games (including three against the Red Sox from July 1-3) with Chicago, the right-handed hitter went 2-for-8 (.250) with one double, two RBIs, one run scored, zero walks, and three strikeouts. He was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on July 4 and was later outrighted off the Cubs’ 40-man roster after the season ended.

As a veteran of eight minor-league seasons, Crook had the right to elect free agency, which he did two weeks before officially landing with the Red Sox on Tuesday.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Crook was originally selected by the Reds in the 23rd round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Rowan College of South Jersey. He spent the first seven seasons of his professional career in Cincinnati’s farm system and was once touted as a top-30 prospect within the organization before reaching minor-league free agency for the first time last November.

Crook ultimately spent the majority of the 2022 season in the minors but made the most of it, as he batted .260/.345/.492 with 21 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs, 67 runs driven in, 61 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 36 walks, and 124 strikeouts across 101 games (409 plate appearances) with the Iowa Cubs.

Between the major- and minor-leagues, Crook has experience at all three outfield positions. The majority of Crook’s playing at Triple-A this year time came in right field, though the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder also logged 77 innings at first base.

Crook, who does not turn 28 until next July, figures to start the 2023 season with the WooSox. He should provide Boston with experienced depth in an outfield mix that currently consists of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran.

In addition to Crook, the Red Sox also signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year major-league deal that comes with a club option for 2024 on Wednesday.

(Picture of Narciso Crook: Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)