The Red Sox could soon be faced with a choice to make behind the plate. Boston catcher Connor Wong suffered a left hamstring strain in today’s Spring Training action, manager Alex Cora informed reporters (including Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe). The severity of the injury and a possible recovery timetable won’t be known until Wong undergoes further testing tomorrow, though Cora said the issue “doesn’t look great right now.”
If Wong requires a layoff that lingers into the regular season, Boston will have no choice but to make a roster move at the position by Opening Day. He and Reese McGuire are the only two backstops on the Sox’s 40-man roster. Obviously, the club isn’t going into a season with only one catcher. If Wong’s injury necessitates a season-opening injured list stint, they’ll have to select another player’s contract or acquire someone from outside the organization.
An internal promotion would be the more straightforward move. The Red Sox have a trio of non-roster catchers who were recently on a club’s 40-man. Veteran Jorge Alfaro signed a minor league pact with a Spring Training invitation in January after being non-tendered by the Padres at season’s end. Caleb Hamilton and one-time top prospect Ronaldo Hernández each occupied spots on the Boston 40-man at recent points but were outrighted off the roster this winter. Both players remain in the organization and are in camp after going unclaimed on waivers.
Alfaro would appear the likeliest of that trio to land a season-opening job. He’s by far the most experienced at the MLB level, having appeared in parts of seven campaigns. Alfaro was a regular backstop for a few years in Miami and has flashed intriguing power upside and arm strength throughout his professional career. That’s been undercut by huge strikeout totals and inconsistent marks as a receiver, leading him to need to reclaim a 40-man spot for the first time since the 2014-15 offseason. The 29-year-old owns a .256/.305/.396 line with 47 home runs but a lofty 34.1% strikeout rate in 478 career MLB games.
In addition to his greater experience than either Hamilton or Hernández, Alfaro would have more flexibility to explore opportunities elsewhere if the Sox don’t promote him this spring. Chris Cotillo of MassLive reports that Alfaro’s minor league deal contains an “upward mobility” clause that’d go into effect on March 25.
The Red Sox have until then to add him to their 40-man roster to supersede that clause. If they decline to do so, Alfaro would have to be made available to the league’s 29 other teams to determine whether any would devote him an immediate MLB spot. Should another team offer him a big league job, the Sox would have a 72-hour window to “match” that by promoting him themselves or allow him to leave the organization. If no other team is willing to offer Alfaro a big league job, he’d remain with the Red Sox as a non-roster player into the season. He’d have opportunities to opt out of his deal on June 1 and July 1 to test free agency if he’s still not in the majors.
Alfaro has over five years of major league service time. That gives him the right to refuse any optional assignment to the minor leagues. That essentially means that if he secures a 40-man roster spot, he’d have to stick in the majors or be designated for assignment.
Hamilton and Hernández don’t have any contractual leverage to force a call-up. Both players will start the year at Triple-A Worcester if they’re not added to the 40-man. Hamilton made a brief MLB debut with the Twins last season after hitting .233/.367/.442 over 62 games for their top affiliate in St. Paul. The 25-year-old Hernández has still yet to play in the majors and has seen his former prospect shine wear as he’s gotten to the upper minors. He’s coming off a .261/.297/.451 showing with 17 longballs in 105 games for the WooSox.
What’s Carlton Fisk up to?
Ham – Fisk is still wearing a White Sox cap, and will need to not to dye his cap as it has bronzed with age.
I hope nothing’s seriously Wong with him.
I’d love Sanchez to sign with the sox. – Not a sox fan.
Better chance of Alfaro getting called up before signing Sanchez. Sanchez is also not a great defensive catcher, something that won’t fly with Bloom.
This one belongs to the Reds
I got bad knees from catching and still would get a call before Sanchez.
@reds a cardboard cut out of molina would be a better option than sanchez
Pretty sure this just opens a spot for Alfaro. Hope it won’t be Wong before Wong returns.
jm207 – there is a reason Sanchez is still available
The Tigers stocked up on catching depth. Give Scott a call…
Wouldn’t get anything for the depth catchers the Tigers have.
Works well when you consider the sox have nothing they can consider giving up.
Red Sox have a Top 10 farm system per BA, and they have “nothing they can consider giving up”. What?
Correct. The team is a wreck. Bloom saw to that through ineptitude. There is no core, and, your prospects fail at a high rate industry-wide. All you can do is hope a couple guys break through and surprise you. More often than not they won’t.
The team is full of over-the-hill players and expiring deals without significant young controllable guys near ready to do anything. Most of the touted prospects either have done nothing yet beyond playing in rookie/a-ball levels, suffered setbacks, etc.
Who is the outfielder going forward? Verdugo is a negative defender roughly average bat in cf/rf with one more year. Duval is old, and, no superstar either with warts on his game. Yoshi projects as a negative defender who likely is a better DH than anything else, awaits to be seen. Ceddane could be an answer at one of three vacancies, but, he’s still needs time to prove himself and was only in AA. JBJ had speed and hit the cover off the ball in the minors. How did that translate?
No SS and please, Mayer is in A ball. Overpaid underperforming Kiki is aging and will be a FA.
2B you’ve got an aging Story that you hope improves after his surgical repair.
1B you hope casas can make it, but, his first cup of tea wasn’t spectacular, and it’s too early to judge. He hit hrs that barely cleared the wall using older juiced balls in some of those games per those astrophysicist studies. Dalbec and Chavis were thought to be something too, and yet fizzled out.
C is filled by a serial spanker who played above his level in a short showing last year and Wong who hasn’t proven anything yet. No long term heir apparent.
SP has a little promise, but no guarantees. Bello needs to step up, paxton/kluber/pivetta are headed out the door. Sale has one more guaranteed year. I’m not confident in the option vesting for 25. Whitlock was a better closer than starter, but, we shall see. Houck needs a good 3rd pitch, and, can’t find one. Some hype remains in the farm, but, nothing of value yet.
RP is a patchwork of over the hill declining guys, and, young arms that need to be in the rotation due to mismanagement at that position. You can’t pencil houck/Whitlock to be both young dominant relievers and back of your rotation starters. Doesn’t work like that.
Amorphous ‘farm rankings’ mean NOTHING when it relied so heavily upon low level guys who mostly flame out. Henry talks about not wanting to leverage the earning power of the sox with big payrolls to win, you can’t buy GOOD players at all those positions of need. Downs was a top-100 prospect. Where is he now? There’s a long list of ‘top 100 prospects’ from BOS now on a scrap heap.
Blooms incompetence at roster management hurt the club trading from weakness after the DFAs or letting guys go for free in Rule 5. But the waste of controllable assets and failure to convert vets into blue chip guys when he could’ve, instead making head scratcher trades taking on guys like cordero? Dropping your draft compensation and bonus pools by taking on JBJ money?
If you start trading what few decent guys are in the system for a journeyman C when you could’ve signed a FA? No. Unless it’s a 5 year rebuild being looked at playing at the level of the Pirates till the end of the decade, no, the sox can’t give much of anything up.
Sucks to be you……….
Hello, Darkness, My old friend.
GA Sox fan
That’s a pretty negative take on the state of the Red Sox and while I wasn’t happy with the off-season Bloom had I don’t think it’s nearly as bleak as you make it.
I think the Red Sox have legit pitching depth this year in AAA. Crawford and Wink got valuable experience last year and both are imo are back end starting depth. Mata has a big arm and I love Walter a strike throwing lefty with a true wipeout slider. The guy I was least high on out of those guys is Murphy but he has legit upside as well. The Worcester starting staff is going to be real tough. My guess if one of the guys can’t go aka Paxton then Crawford is first up. I actually like there depth in AAA.
Let’s not forget this team was 12 games over .500 after June with a terrible bullpen and that’s been addressed the bullpen should be a lot better one way or another. I like Mata out of the bullpen with triple digit heat and nasty slider.
The offense is the question but I think they score plenty of runs. Casas might start a little slow but I expect him to settle in his batting eye is elite and his power is legit. He will get to his power more in the big leagues in the minors since pitchers will pitch to him when they realize he won’t chase and they have to get him out in the zone he simply doesn’t chase.
I’m also bullish on Arroyo if he can remain healthy. I think Yoshida will hit and left in Fenway will mitigate his lack of range. I expect a big year from Duggie he was out of shape last year. He has a great arm and his defense will be much better this year and the guy can hit.
I’m a little concerned with the depth on the position side not convinced it’s as advanced on the pitching side. I hope that Dunn stays healthy at least until the middle of the year. Rafaela just isn’t ready yet offensively he is really working on his pitch selectivity and that’s the last piece of the puzzle for him once he swings at pitches and less chase he’s going to be a star. I’m not sure he ever gets there but spring training has been promising he hasn’t chased much.
I could go on and on why I don’t think it’s as bad as you think it is let’s face it balanced schedule is going to help Boston this year the AL East is brutal. It’s not all doom and gloom let’s just enjoy the ride this year.
B dog 351
GAsox fan great post well put. I totally agree with you
Bruin1012 – Cherry picking stats again. Lets be accurate about last year. The schedule dictated their success and failure. It had nothing to do with a specific aspect of an overall bad team. If they played good teams they lost and if the played bottom dwellers they won. Sure there were a few exceptions but overall their opponent dictated performance of the players. The bad bullpen came from playing good teams. Just like the good pitching last June came from playing bad teams. So lets not discuss last year without mentioning the single most critical aspect to the results.
Now lets discuss the silly comments about the offense. Last year whether they were playing the best or worst teams we saw an offense where the star players were Devers, Bogey, JD, Vazquez and Story. ONLY Devers is left to start the season and Story may or may not be back mid-season. That’s a HUGE hit to the offense.
Arroyo played roughly half a season and had his best year since 2018 a league average year. Being optimistic about Arroyo is admirable but it’s not based on his stat history. He’s at best a league average player. Being optimistic that the starting or back-up 2B is going to have a league average season is completely insignificant in the overall scheme of the season.
Yoshida hit in the mid .300s in Japan and history shows about a 70 to 80 point drop against US pitching. So a .270 to .280 average would be acceptable with a .350 OBP but since he can’t run he’s a base clogger if you put fast guys behind him. His OBP could be great but you need a HR guy with no speed behind him but Cora will put Devers there limiting Devers ability to hit doubles due to Yoshida’s lack of speed. Additionally, the idea that you don’t need a LF that can field is as lame as suggesting you don’t need a 3B that can field. The pitching staff will throw so many additional pitches, have so many extra stress innings and their ERAs and WHIPs will swell enormously with the left side of the defense. It’s going to be embarrassing just like watching Devers play. When Duran misjudged a couple of balls he was crucified. That will be the norm for Yoshida.
The ride you want to watch is a massive car crash. You are a sadist for wanting to enjoy the ride. All of us are screaming get out of the car and you are sitting and smiling as you watch it hit a wall at 100 MPH. It won’t be pretty. All we can hope is nobody gets hurt that matters for the future.
rsmith – I’m guessing that you thought this reference to the Sounds of Silence was a clever insult to GA. That’s what makes you – you.
The lyrics were about the death of a president much like the death of a great franchise caused by Bloom. So while trying to be a jackass you selected a verse perfectly suited for the current situation in Boston.
Who says blind squirrels don’t find acorns!!! Nice choice.
Lol, I didnt think anything, thats what makes you, you. You way over analysis everything. A simple joke, makes you go into the history of a song. You sound like an anal retentive idiot.
That’s what, about a 500-600 diatribe about how awful they are, and are still pretty likely to be .500+. team with a top-10 farm.
Joe – time for you to put your money where your mouth is. MGM set the betting line at 77.5 wins for Boston in 2023. If you think they’ll be 82-80 or better you ought to mortgage your properties, cash out your retirement, and bet the farm. Even a 78-84 record wins.
Which, speaking of farm, the idea of ‘farm rankings’ are a joke since proximity to the majors plays no role. The idea that a guy who hasn’t surpassed a-level ball is one of the top players in the minor leagues should always be met with a high degree of skepticism.
The number of guys who fall out of the top 100 every year should give a clue. Then again, the names of top 10 prospects who were hyped for years then became busts that can’t stick on a mlb roster? Also data point for the rankings ‘joke’… then again, it’s not even a conce sus that it is some top 10 farm, but, it does still ride DDs coattails with guys like casas and bello to prop up that ranking.
More ‘top prospects’ flame out than wind up amounting to anything.
the idea of ‘farm rankings’ are a joke since proximity to the majors plays no role.
Rankings are a major industry, where people get paid real good money for their opinions. The fact that an amateur (you, me, an almost anyone here) thinks it is a joke is ridiculous.
Prospect evaluation is a legitimate business for front offices in trades.
The rest is a joke. There are many industries that make money that are a joke. Instagram influencer. Drag Queens. YouTube video star.
Maybe STL could trade Knizner and move Herrera up to backup duties.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
Let’s hope there is a thunderstorm!
Seems like the situation is sorting itself out
Doesn’t sound terrible. They have Jorge Alfaro as well, so worst case, if Wong can’t go, put McGuire in there and he he’s not suitable, go with Alfaro. Sox aren’t winning anything this year so don’t try and do too much at this point. If they’re in the running for a playoff spot by the trade deadline, go out and trade for someone. But I doubt they’ll be in that position.
Agree Old York. They have Alfaro and hernandez, who to me are as good as anything available via FA ATM and other similiar type veteran retreads will be let go from other teams for nothing at the end of ST. Why trade for anyone right now? They went all winter not going further than Wong/McGuire, which is fair at best. Why do so now with just McGuire?
Careful there Old York.
I’ve pointed out this squad can’t be counted on to be, as you say, ‘winning anything this year’ and get labeled a troll by the bloom apologists for speaking truth.
You may also pick up hecklers who are infatuated with you and follow behind, posting at your heels as you live rent free in their heads.
Hamstring Outlet Syndrome
I would take Alfaro over those two anyways, should be a lock to make the squad if healthy.
Alfaro has a good arm. Going to be important this season.
Intentionally gain weight and pull a hamstring- hard to imagine how that’s possible.
Fever Pitch Guy
spit – Didn’t McGuire pull something too? Groin?
There’s a difference between a pulled Wong and a pulled wang…
I’ll bet they’re missing Plawecki now.
What surplus do the Sox have to get a backup catcher in trade?
I don’t know the org well enough but Giants have several catchers in camp looking good.
davernlaw – Could you send us Bart? Otherwise, we really don’t need any more mediocrity Bloom baths in it.
Hey, with Lux hurt maybe we could send Kiki to LAD for Mookie!!! hahahaha I believe (like Cora) that Roberts is a Kiki baby sitter too!!
I know, maybe we can get a catcher ranked lower than Wong was when Bloom did the Mookie deal. I bet he’d be a small step up from what we have at catcher!!!
I’m creaking……and I’m certainly happy I no longer need to write to Plawecki anymore…he never sent me a Thank You card after all the green I sent him for being less than useless.
Sign Ryan Lavarnway, stat!
Sox want to take a flyer on Austin Wynns? Wouldn’t really want the Giants to let him go but could be an option
There is literally no reason to add another Catcher with Alfaro in camp.
Update: Wong has a Grade 1 Hamstring Injury. The mildest form of the injury.
Talking about adding another veteran catcher is pre-mature. McGuire and Alfaro should do just fine.
rsmith – Fine is a relative word. They will stink as expected. Lets be fair. A leopard can’t change his spots. These guys are AAA players. Alfaro at one time looked to be more but it never happened. Anything positive about McGuire came from his original hype. He’s done nothing.
To be fair, it’s not a step down from Wong. He sucks too. Catcher is one of the weakest positions on the Red Sox and that’s saying a lot!! This team has a ton of weaknesses!!
I do agree with what you said. McGuire and Alfaro should do fine but I would add the key words FOR THEM. In other words, when your first two are so below average it’s hard to add another catcher that will bring them down further.
So yep, they will be fine.