The Red Sox announced a series of roster moves today, reinstating first baseman Eric Hosmer from the injured list while recalling left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez. In corresponding moves, right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned and outfielder Rob Refsnyder was placed on the injured list due to back spasms.
Refsnyder, 31, has somewhat quietly been having the best season of his career. Signed by Boston to a minor league deal in the offseason, he eventually got into 57 games for the Sox and hit .307/.384/.497 for a wRC+ of 146, indicating his production has been 46% better than league average. That’s likely buoyed by some good luck, as his .394 batting average on balls in play is well above his career rate and the league-wide average, but it’s still a nice result for a minor league signing.
Refsnyder can be retained for next year via arbitration, which is the path it seems like the team is leaning towards. Manager Alex Cora spoke to Christopher Smith of MassLive about Refsnyder and had plenty of positive things to say. “He was really, really good offensively. Versatility. The quality of the at-bats were awesome,” Cora said. “The ability to impact the baseball was there and the projections. Defensively solid. It’s a matter of staying healthy. 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 has played some infield in previous seasons but the Red Sox kept him on the grass this year, getting a bit of time at all three outfield positions. Going forward, there’s some uncertainty in the team’s outfield picture. Tommy Pham is likely to reach free agency as he has a mutual option for 2023, with those pacts rarely being exercised by both sides. Enrique Hernández and the club recently agreed to sign an extension, though he’s a candidate to spend some time in the infield with Xander Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this winter. That leaves Alex Verdugo as the only guy locked into next year’s outfield, with Refsnyder, Abraham Almonte and Franchy Cordero potential candidates to be there as well. The Sox could certainly reinforce that group with external additions, but it sounds like Refsnyder has earned his way into their plans for next year.