Outfielder Raimel Tapia, who was recently released by the Red Sox, has signed with the Brewers, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Brewers will need to make corresponding moves to get Tapia onto their 40-man and active rosters for tonight’s game.
Tapia, 29, has spent many years as a contact-oriented hitter with a bit of speed. He was non-tendered by the Blue Jays after last season and signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox. Tapia made Boston’s Opening Day roster and spent a bit over two months with the club, performing at expected rates, give or take.
His 9.6% walk rate and 19.6% strikeout rate this year were both a bit better than league average, but he hit just one home run. That led to a .264/.333/.368 batting line and 92 wRC+, indicating he was 8% below league average overall. That wasn’t far off from his .265/.292/.380 line and 90 wRC+ with the Jays last year. Meanwhile, his outfield defense was considered around average while he stole six bases.
Despite that generally solid performance, Tapia was nudged out in Boston by some crowding in the outfield picture. Adam Duvall’s injury paved the way for Jarren Duran to get himself some more big league playing time, which he has done well with, hitting .282/.337/.435 on the year for a 107 wRC+. Rob Refsnyder has also been playing well in a reserve role behind regulars Alex Verdugo and Masataka Yoshida. With Duvall’s return from the IL imminent, Tapia was designated for assignment just over a week ago.
Tapia’s deal with the Sox paid him a $2MM salary. Since he has over five years of major league service time, he would have had the right to reject an outright assignment while retaining all of that, so the club simply released him. That leaves them on the hook for the remainder of that cash, allowing the Brewers to now pay him the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the roster, with that amount subtracted from what the Sox will pay.
The Brewers have dealt with a few hits to their outfield mix this season, as each of Garrett Mitchell, Jesse Winker and Tyrone Taylor is currently on the injured list. That has left them with Joey Wiemer, Christian Yelich and Brian Anderson getting most of the reps lately, with Blake Perkins backing them up. Perkins is in his first major league season and is hitting just .200/.250/.333 through 34 plate appearances thus far. It’s possible that Tapia nudges Perkins back to the minors, though Anderson is also capable of playing third base and joining the rotating infield picture alongside Luis Urías, Owen Miller, Andruw Monasterio and Abraham Toro.