Outfielder Raimel Tapia is with the Red Sox on a minor league deal, but it was reported recently that he had the ability to opt out of that deal if not added to the roster. That opt-out was yesterday and it’s still not known if he triggered it or how the club responded, but he did tell Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe yesterday that his agent was looking into opportunities with other clubs.
The 29-year-old Tapia is a light-hitting but speedy outfielder who spent his entire career with the Rockies before getting traded to the Blue Jays last year. His career batting line of .277/.318/.392 amounts to a wRC+ of 80. What’s perhaps most pertinent to his situation in Boston is his ability to play center field. It was reported last week that the club is increasingly viewing him as a viable option there, despite most of his career being spent in left field thus far. Tapia has 2587 1/3 left field innings at the big league level to this point, compared to just 439 1/3 in center. Defensive metrics like his work up the middle more, which is strange since it’s generally considered the more demanding position. His center field work has resulted in +3 Defensive Runs Saved, +5 Outs Above Average and -1.6 Ultimate Zone Rating, compared to +1 DRS, -1 OAA and -1.1 UZR in left.
That’s relevant to the Sox since they have moved Enrique Hernández to shortstop to cover for the injured Trevor Story. To replace Hernández in center, they signed Adam Duvall, who is 34 years old, has less than 600 career innings in center and had his 2022 ended by wrist surgery. If Tapia were on the roster, he would give them some cover in the event Duvall doesn’t take well to regular work at the position or gets hurt. They also could potentially co-exist on the roster, given Duvall’s right-handed power-based approach and Tapia’s left-handed contact-based style.
Tapia’s main competition for that bench spot seems to be Jarren Duran. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported this morning that Duran is flying with the club to Boston but it’s still unclear if he’s going to be starting the year in the big leagues or Triple-A. He still has a couple of option years and could easily be sent down, though they would then have to find a 40-man spot for Tapia. If they’re able to do that, it might make sense for the 26-year-old Duran to get more reps in the minors as opposed to sitting on the bench in the big leagues. He has hit very well in the minors and even cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list a year ago, but his 91 MLB games have resulted in just a .219/.269/.354 batting line and 68 wRC+ thus far.
With the start of the season now just about 48 hours away, the Sox will have to make a decision shortly, whether it’s Tapia or Durran getting that final bench spot. They also might still shuffle around their relief mix a bit, as manager Alex Cora tells Chris Cotillo of MassLive that they are still looking at external options for the bullpen. “There’s a lot of stuff that is going on right now,” Cora says. “There’s a lot of guys out there. If we see an opportunity to take advantage of it, we’ll do it. If not, we’ll stay in house.”
The club has already been fairly active in changing its bullpen mix over the past few months, signing free agents like Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and Joely Rodríguez. On the trade front, they dealt Matt Barnes for Richard Bleier, while also shipping out Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernández and Franklin German, among other deals. Despite that, it seems they may still find another move or two in the next little while. At this time of year, teams around the league are making their tough roster decisions, leading to intriguing players getting cut or perhaps opting out of contracts. Given all that, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Sox put in a waiver claim or make another trade in the coming days.
Kaleb Ort is keeping his roster spot warm if they decide to pick up Tapia.
Franchy is coming back …
Prefer a half a Tapia over Duran.
Duran has zero baseball instincts & a cast iron glove hand. Durans value to the team is marginal at this pointy …a possible trade piece for quality roster depth maybe?,
Duran may develop into a Johnny Damon type with the bat (if he develops) but his glove is a horror and that arm! The worst I’ve seen since Mock the Quick.
Sadly they’ll probably move Mills to the 60 day IL and keep Ort
The light hitting Tapia tore the cover off the ball at the plate this spring
Then what are they waiting for sign him up to a 10 million contract he’s proven his greatness in spring training
“Then what are they waiting for”
So if a guy tears up ST, you’d right away sign him to 10M contract, even though he’s already signed. Wow, you’d make a poor GM.
He was being sarcastic.
I was being sarcastic. So if someone doesnt understand sarcasm its you.
Wait…I was being sarcastic, I thought that was obvious.
So if someone doesn’t understand sarcasm it’s you.
Sure you were.
Was this you being sarcastic?
You were being sarcastic by saying the other guy was sarcastic? Okay, sure you were.
Wait are you being sarcastic?
It’s so hard to tell….
If he could ever show decent patience at the plate, he could be a real asset for most teams. Problem is though,he just doesn’t walk enough and most teams don’t want a backup player who gets on base less then 30% without serious pop(which he doesn’t have), or gifted defensively( which he definitely isnt). Stats or no stats..he is not a good fielder,even though he has good speed.
all in the suit that you wear
over 7 MLB seasons and 1700 ABs, Tapia has only slugged .709
Which is fine for a 5th outfielder with defensive versatility and plus speed.
“only slugged .709”
Babe Ruth only slugged .690. Put that man in the HOF.
*For those who are sarcasm challenged, Im just kidding.
Wow! Even Babe Ruth “only” slugged .690.
You see .690 is less than .709. Hence the only. Baby steps, youll get there.
If you gotta explain the joke, it aint funny.
Bring back Franchy… petition to follow just don’t hold your breath waiting for it.
Fever Pitch Guy
dewey – Let’s bring back Wily Mo first, he deserves another shot too. Lots of raw power, I saw him absolutely annihilate a pitch in KC.
all in the suit that you wear
Correction: Tapia slugged .392 and had an OPS of .709 over 7 seasons and 1700 ABs.
Surprizingly, he also doesn’t steal bases. Very few in his career. While Duran may still be iffy and possibly needing more time in Worcester- he is probably better than last year and also has more power and speed than Tapia. The Red Sox as a team are clearly very thin up the middle but it appears they think this will get covered by minor league call ups including Rafaela, Hamilton, Abreu and Valdez along with their utility players Chang, Refsynder and at some point Mondesi. Despite Tapia’s good Spring he has never done much offensively or defensively- he just doesn’t project to have much value.
Tapia is very fun to watch hir, if he fouls a ball off he smells the bat.
Shows great effort all the time. Runs his heart out on every ground ball.
You like that, huh?
You like when he smells the bat?
Better than licking it, talking to it is ok I suppose. Looking at you Puig
It’s a thing. Ted Williams asked Don Mattingly about it:
“People think I’m crazy, but yes,” replied Mattingly. “It takes a perfect rising, four-seam fastball, a perfect swing, a foul straight back … and you can smell the burn of the seams and the bat.”
“Only the guys who whip that lumber have smelled it,” said Ted.
Duran is an enigma. The tools are there. That play last year when the ball went over his head and he just gave up on (literally)., will always stick with me. I’d never seen it at the MLB level. The guy needs a reset. Plug away again in minors and maybe adjust the attitude.
Ironically it was hit by Tapia
I would rather they would have tried Dalbec in the OF during training camp to increase his versatility and carry him as a backup instead of or with Chang. I can see Duran making the roster over Tapia because he’s already on the 40 man and has nothing left to prove in the minors (yet everything to prove in the majors)
It might be nice to know if Tapia would clear waivers. Most teams have probably decided on their roster. It’s kind of like Alfaro/Wong. If we could keep Tapia, then I am fine with Duran making the team.
I don’t know Joe it’s amazing how bad Duran is defensively you can’t have someone as bad as him as your 4th outfielder defensively. He misplayed three balls today two of which a competent defensive outfielder makes and the other a good defensive centerfielder makes. He’s just got no instincts out there.
FWIW, I’ve lately been advocating that he get his 2B glove out of storage. He has a rough road to the pros, but he could play left because of the Wall, and fill in as a backup LF, CF, 2B, and pinchrunner.
It’s hard to believe that someone with his speed can’t make up for his other deficiencies.
With Wong Chang and Duran Duran, and getting Turner Back Man, the Sox are in Overdrive.
OK, that’s Taking Care of Business, eh?
Uh oh, I might get banned on the pun.
Duran has been optioned to aaa tapia made the team, ort df’d