Sox Sign Raimel Tapia

Soxfan in Fla

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I don’t see why they would sign him. Not a great bat, the only 2 seasons with OBP over .300 were in Colorado. Not much in power.
 

JBJ_HOF

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Seems more likely to have got the Alfaro contract than an MLB contract. We shall see.
 

scottyno

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Stumped by this one if it's a major league deal or they even put him on the 40 man. If it's minor league depth then whatever sure why not. He seems to play servicable center field at least, which might be a reason for the move since they're kind of weak on that right now.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Duran replacement? He’s been great at Coors, terrible elsewhere. Not a very good defender. Solid average. Made $4M last year, would be great if minor league deal but would he settle for that now? Not sure I get this one.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't think there's a chance this is anything but a minor league deal. He's not an upgrade to Duran (and I'm no fan of Duran). Signing him to a major league contract makes zero sense.
 

Alex Cole's Rec Specs

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I would have preferred Brett Phillips, who signed a major league deal with the Angels, or old friend JBJ, but the Sox depth chart does need a left-handed bat either on the bench or at AAA beyond Duran and Valdez. Tapia is...fine, I guess, assuming it's a minor league deal.
 

Rovin Romine

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His upside is as an average bat, average defender. If this is pure depth it makes sense, or if there's a trade, but it seems we now have a glut of outfielders.
 

chawson

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Alright that clarifies it. Curious if there’s an incentive structure/opt outs like Alfaro.

Tapia, Allen and Crook are decent non-roster OF depth snags.
 

BigSoxFan

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Having multiple guys in AAA who have extensive MLB experience is a good thing. Clearly, nothing much as a player though.
 

JM3

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Alright that clarifies it. Curious if there’s an incentive structure/opt outs like Alfaro.

Tapia, Allen and Crook are decent non-roster OF depth snags.
I would guess very similar to Alfaro but maybe a tiny bit less flexible?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Alright that clarifies it. Curious if there’s an incentive structure/opt outs like Alfaro.

Tapia, Allen and Crook are decent non-roster OF depth snags.
Agreed; add Goodrum (and maybe Dalbec) to that mix and they have some replacement level types in the minors with moderate upside- guys who won’t kill you if they have to play for a few weeks. They’ve been somewhat lacking in these types the last few years.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I’d rather have prospects there than guys we’d say “oh shit” about being called up or getting AB in Worcester
In an ideal world, yeah.... not just prospects, but prospects that are highly touted and can be above replacement level, at least, if they get called up. I can't think of many teams that have a AAA roster of that at each position.... so having AAAA type guys there is more likely the default of most teams.
 

BigSoxFan

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In an ideal world, yeah.... not just prospects, but prospects that are highly touted and can be above replacement level, at least, if they get called up. I can't think of many teams that have a AAA roster of that at each position.... so having AAAA type guys there is more likely the default of most teams.
Agreed. We'd all love to have AAA legit prospects ready to go in the OF (like Milwaukee with their unfair glut) but we're not there yet. For now, I'm fine filling the depth with cheap vets.
 

circus catch

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Given that Tapia had a positive WAR in over 400 plate appearances, it seems to me we might be underselling him. Duran is younger but he was atrocious, and I certainly don't want to give him 400 at bats. I see this as Duran possibly moved.
 

chawson

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I would guess very similar to Alfaro but maybe a tiny bit less flexible?
Probably, yeah. I guess my thing with Tapia is that he’s not that bad. Former back-end Top 100 prospect. Still just 29 in 2023. Batting average is a plus — he's hit .278 over 2020–22, which is somehow 34th among 160 qualified outfielders. Don't want to overstate his abilities, but he has some skills that we don’t otherwise have on the roster. Certainly not a starter but not someone I’d mind as a 4th or 5th OF.

If this is a precursor to a Verdugo trade, it would align with the rumblings that the Sox are frustrated with him, and the inevitability of more moves to come. If 2025 is the next big window opening, then it makes sense that Verdugo would be moved. (It makes no sense to platoon Verdugo at this point in his career.)

And I don’t think Tapia is any sort of direct AV replacement. The guy I think they may be trying to open up a slightly bigger lane for is line-drive king Rob Refsnyder.
 

thestardawg

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Tapia has always had excellent bat to ball skills and the thought was he would hit for a high average. It hasn't translated to the majors though. There's a;ways the chance he has the ability to pop a .310 batting average some year. Along with average defense and above average speed it would make him extremely useful as a 4th outfielder.
 

Shaky Walton

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So many moves that Chaim Bloom makes feel like he's trying to find that diamond in the rough. Here we go again. That this is a minor league deal makes it less objectionable. But really, the Sox don't already have minor league depth with as much upside?
 

oumbi

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I don’t see why they would sign him. Not a great bat, the only 2 seasons with OBP over .300 were in Colorado. Not much in power.
Nor much speed, aside from one 20 steal season. His stats show him to be a very mundane, not bad not good, player. (WAR = 0.8, oWAR = 1.4) He has never hit double digits in HR (9 is his most in a season) and his career OBP and SLG are unimpressive (.318 & .392 respectively.)

He has only played outfield in his career, and mostly in LF. (LF = 330 games, CF = 75, RF = 69)

I am not sure where he fits on the team.

But what the heck, welcome to the Red Sox Raimel!!
 

chawson

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For amusement purposes only.

from Baseball Prospectus Top Prospects 2017:
(an abridged list)
3. Andrew Benintendi
6. Austin Meadows
7. Victor Robles
9. Eloy Jimenez
12. Lewis Brinson
16. Clint Frazier
18. Manuel Margot
26. Cody Bellinger
31. Ronald Acuña
37. Kyle Tucker
42. Raimel Tapia
57. Juan Soto
63. Aaron Judge
66. Alex Verdugo
92. Hunter Renfroe
 

nvalvo

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So many moves that Chaim Bloom makes feel like he's trying to find that diamond in the rough. Here we go again. That this is a minor league deal makes it less objectionable. But really, the Sox don't already have minor league depth with as much upside?
Leaving out Rafaela: Jarren Duran, Wilyer Abreu, Greg Allen, Narciso Crook, Devlin Granberg, Tyler Dearden, Corey Rosier, Tyler Esplin. Especially if Duran is headed out in a trade — but maybe even if not — we could use another outfielder.
 

walt in maryland

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I don't think there's a chance this is anything but a minor league deal. He's not an upgrade to Duran (and I'm no fan of Duran). Signing him to a major league contract makes zero sense.
He's a major league player. Signing him to a minor league deal, like Alfaro, allows the Sox to hold off on opening up spots on the 40. He is absolutely an update on Duran, and his arrival suggests Verdugo could be moving on.
 

8slim

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Why is signing this guy a sign that Verdugo will be traded? He's clearly not a replacement for Verdugo if we're not getting a starting OF back in return.
 

Jack Rabbit Slim

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Yeah, as a minor league signing it seems far more likely he is a Duran replacement than Verdugo's. I still think there is a decent chance Verdugo is traded, but Tapia won't be taking his place.
 

oumbi

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Yeah, as a minor league signing it seems far more likely he is a Duran replacement than Verdugo's. I still think there is a decent chance Verdugo is traded, but Tapia won't be taking his place.
So Tapia is destined to haunt Duran through out their careers?
 

simplicio

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So many moves that Chaim Bloom makes feel like he's trying to find that diamond in the rough. Here we go again. That this is a minor league deal makes it less objectionable. But really, the Sox don't already have minor league depth with as much upside?
Is there something wrong with finding diamonds in the rough? Bloom has done a pretty good job of it, and I'm not sure why you're griping about a minor league deal in the first place.

The bar to clear here is "more valuable to Boston than Duran," and Tapia does that.
 

Harry Hooper

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Why is signing this guy a sign that Verdugo will be traded? He's clearly not a replacement for Verdugo if we're not getting a starting OF back in return.
Maybe Duvall is the Verdugo replacement more or less, and the Sox add a starting SS?
 

BaseballJones

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For amusement purposes only.

from Baseball Prospectus Top Prospects 2017:
(an abridged list)
3. Andrew Benintendi
6. Austin Meadows
7. Victor Robles
9. Eloy Jimenez
12. Lewis Brinson
16. Clint Frazier
18. Manuel Margot
26. Cody Bellinger
31. Ronald Acuña
37. Kyle Tucker
42. Raimel Tapia
57. Juan Soto
63. Aaron Judge
66. Alex Verdugo
92. Hunter Renfroe
Man, we should have traded Margot for Judge right then and there.
 

nvalvo

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Maybe Duvall is the Verdugo replacement more or less, and the Sox add a starting SS?
Well this is it. It looks like there are two
alternatives.

One is to play Duvall in CF most days between Yoshida and Verdugo and shift Kiké to the middle infield, where he can link up with Arroyo and Valdez and maybe Wong to hold down SS and 2B. I don’t love that, but it’s viable, and I don’t know the costs of the better options.

(I’m not wild about the FA lower tier shortstop options.)

The other main option is to keep Kiké in the outfield and add a shortstop in trade, likely Kim or (less ambitiously) Wendle. This presumably includes moving Verdugo and Duran as part of the package. This is probably the better defensive situation, and it comes at the cost of whatever you think the offensive step down from Verdugo to Kim/Wendle is likely to be.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I just don't get the desire to dump Verdugo. He was terrible the first two months and then probably the best hitter from July on (and apparently was injured the first two months).
He busts his ass, helps out other players and is still young and affordable.
 

EvilEmpire

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I just don't get the desire to dump Verdugo.
The Red Sox have a new LFer and Verdugo isn't very good in CF or RF. And RF in his home park is a bit on the challenging side.

Which isn't to say that teams can't Philly their way to success with bad defense, but I think it makes everything just a little bit harder.

Edit: I think the Red Sox will go with Yoshida in LF, Hernandez in CF, Duvall in RF, and try to trade Verdugo for a SS. Hernandez is good in CF and better there than at SS. Duvall is best in RF. Tapia can be the utility OF if and when Verdugo is traded for a SS.

The unknown is if Yoshida is worse than expected in LF and they'll want Verdugo to play LF a lot on the road. But I don't think Yoshida will be that bad.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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The Red Sox have a new LFer and Verdugo isn't very good in CF or RF. And RF in his home park is a bit on the challenging side.

Which isn't to say that teams can't Philly their way to success with bad defense, but I think it makes everything just a little bit harder.
Historically, he’s been fine in RF. Not good last year, but he was evidently hurt. The idea that he can’t play RF isn’t really supported by evidence IMO.
 

jwbasham84

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I would be really disappointed to see a cost controlled young player who is one of our best OF be traded. Yes, he wasn't the best defender in right field last year. But if he is trying to cover Fenway's right field with a broken toe, to me that explains it. He was fine there before, no not an all-star, but definitely not Duran. Additionally, if he trims down and regains some of his agility that only points to what should be better performance. He plays hard, likes to be here... I mean he's our cousin from Boston...
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EvilEmpire

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Historically, he’s been fine in RF. Not good last year, but he was evidently hurt. The idea that he can’t play RF isn’t really supported by evidence IMO.
He was -5 DRS in RF last year and the Red Sox just signed Duvall who is best in RF. Attributing all his poor fielding last year to injury is a bit of a reach, I think. Cora addressed some of this at the end of the season:

https://www.masslive.com/redsox/2022/10/red-soxs-alex-cora-alex-verdugo-is-the-player-who-needs-to-take-the-biggest-leap-in-2023.html

“Yeah, he hit for average, but he can be a lot better baserunning, defensively,” Cora said. “He’s getting to that area in his career that’s, ‘Who is he gonna be?’ We talked about this with (Andrew Benintendi) a few years ago, right? You see the player he has become. (Benintendi) has become a better defender, a good hitter. I think Verdugo has the chance to hit for power, hit for average, but he can impact the game running the bases and playing defense.”

Verdugo has split his season between left field and right field but the numbers have not been encouraging in either spot. He ranks in the 12th percentile of all defenders in outs above average and in the 40th percentile in outfielder jump. His sprint speed, which averaged 27.5 ft/s in 2020 and 27 ft/s in 2021, is down to an average of 26.8 ft/s in 2022. By all metrics, the 26-year-old has been slower this year than in the past.

Cora noted that Verdugo spent much of the early part of the season banged up after fouling a ball off himself but also was heavier than in recent years. The Red Sox list him at 6-feet, 192 lbs. Cora said Verdugo tried to add some mass in order to hit for more power this season.

“He put on some weight, not in a bad way, but he got bigger, kind of like in the same narrative that happened with (Benintendi) in 2019,” Cora said. “Get bigger to hit for extra-base hits. In that sense, it cost him other aspects of the game.”
If the Red Sox aren't 100% confident that Verdugo will slim down and improve his baserunning and defense, and given that he probably won't be playing LF regularly, trading him now for a position of greater need (shortstop, of course) makes the most sense.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I agree that he wasn’t good in RF last year but he was fine for years before and is 26 years old. I’d expect Verdugo to bounce back defensively more than I’d expect Duvall to do so offensively.