Wednesday began with early-morning news that the Red Sox had agreed to a one-year deal with Adam Duvall. It ended with word that the club was on the verge of adding another free agent outfielder.
Boston is nearing settlement with former Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia on a minor league deal, a source confirmed Thursday morning. Tapia himself broke the news of the signing with an Instagram post featuring the Red Sox logo. Jon Heyman of the New York Post was first to report that Tapia’s deal was of the non-roster variety.
If he makes the team, Tapia will be a left-handed hitting bench option in a new-form outfield mix that features Masataka Yoshida in left field, Duvall in center and Alex Verdugo in right field with Kike Hernandez expected to move to middle. . Trevor Storey walks off with an elbow injury. Rob Refsynder is locked into a bench spot with Tapia, Jaren Duran and recent minor league signing Greg Allen that provides depth (and the ability to be sent freely to the minors). It’s suddenly a crowded mix for the Red Sox, who likely see this as a good problem to have. It’s a minor surprise that Tapia, who was non-tendered by Toronto after being projected for arbitration salary of $5.2 million, didn’t get a guaranteed contract.
Tapia will spend 2022 with Toronto after spending the first six seasons of his career in Colorado. In his first taste of American League action, the soon-to-be 29-year-old hit .265 with seven homers, 52 RBI and a .672 OPS in 128 games before going non-tendered this winter. He appeared in all three outfield spots, with the majority of his games coming in left field (64). He was also 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts after stealing 20 bags in 2021 with the Rockies.
The Red Sox got a closer look at Tapia’s abilities in 2022. He crushed Boston’s pitching with a .300 average (9-for-30) with two homers, 12 RBIs and a .900 OPS over the last six games at Fenway Park. The year. Perhaps most notably, it was Tapia who hit a fly ball that Duran lost in the lights and turned into an inside-the-park grand slam in Toronto’s historic blowout win on July 22.
Tapia is a career .277 hitter with 26 homers, 188 RBI and .709 OPS in 567 games over seven big league seasons. He was in the deal shortly before Opening Day of the previous season that sent fellow outfielder Randall Grichuk from the Blue Jays to the Rockies.