Wednesday started with the early-morning news that the Red Sox had agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Adam Duvall. It ended with word that the club is on the verge of adding another free agent outfielder.
Boston is in agreement with former Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia on a minor league deal, a source confirmed early Thursday morning. Tapia himself broke news of the signing with an Instagram post of 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 would be a left-handed hitting bench option in a new-look outfield mix that is expected to include Masataka Yoshida in left field, Duvall in center and Alex Verdugo in right field with Kiké Hernández moving to the middle infield in the wake of Trevor Story’s elbow injury. Rob Refsynder is locked into a bench spot with Tapia, Jarren Duran and recent minor league signee Greg Allen providing depth (and the ability to be sent to the minors freely). It’s suddenly a crowded mix for the Red Sox, who likely view that as a good problem to have. It’s a minor surprise that Tapia, who was non-tendered by Toronto after being projected for a $5.2 million arbitration salary, did not get a guaranteed contract.
Tapia spent 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 RBIs and a .672 OPS in 128 games before being 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 close look at Tapia’s abilities in 2022. He crushed Boston pitching to the tune of a .300 average (9-for-30) with two homers, 12 RBIs and a .900 OPS in six games at Fenway Park last year. Perhaps most notably, it was Tapia who hit the fly ball that Duran lost in the lights and turned into an inside-the-park grand slam in Toronto’s historic 28-5 blowout win on July 22.
Tapia is a career .277 hitter with 26 homers, 188 RBIs and a .709 OPS in 567 games over seven big league seasons. He was traded shortly before Opening Day last season in a deal that sent fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Blue Jays to the Rockies.