The Red Sox announced Friday that added first baseman/outfielder Daniel Palka has been added to camp as a non-roster invitee (thus indicating he’s inked a minor league deal with the team). He’ll add some left-handed pop to their bench mix.
The 31-year-old Palka has spent parts of two seasons in the big leagues, smashing 27 home runs as a rookie with the 2018 White Sox while hitting .240/.294/.484 along the way. Palka’s 34.1% strikeout rate, however, was a major red flag, and he fanned at an even higher 37.6% clip in 2019 while hitting just .107/.194/.179 in 93 plate appearances before losing his spot on the roster. He struggled through a tough season in the KBO in 2020 before rebounding with the Triple-A clubs for the Nats and the Mets over the past two seasons.
Palka’s big league success is limited, but he’s a .261/.349/.486 hitter in parts of six Triple-A seasons and, as evidenced by his 27 homers in 449 plate appearances as a rookie, has plus raw power. He’s graded out as a sub-par defender in the outfield corners, and the Mets played him more at first base than in the outfield in Triple-A last year.
The Red Sox are set with Masataka Yoshida and Alex Verdugo in the outfield corners, Triston Casas at first base and Justin Turner at designated hitter. However, they’re thin on first basemen in the upper minors, unless Bobby Dalbec is optioned, so Palka will provide an option in that regard while also hoping to play his way into a bench role this spring.