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)