The Red Sox have been busy lately adding depth to their roster, an effort that continued Wednesday into Thursday with the reported addition of Raimel Tapia.
Boston signed the veteran outfielder to a minor league deal, per multiple reports. Tapia was the first to break the news on his Instagram, and the New York Post’s Jon Heyman relayed news of a minor league deal, and MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo confirmed the news.
The Sox are familiar with the soon-to-be 29-year-old, who spent the 2022 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He appeared in 128 games for the Jays, hitting .265 with seven home runs and 52 RBIs to go along with 20 doubles and three triples. It was the first season of Tapia’s career outside the Colorado Rockies where he spent parts of six seasons.
Tapia’s best season came in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. He hit a career-high .321 with a career-best .772 OPS in 51 games for Colorado. Since becoming a big league regular in 2019, he has appeared in 450 games, putting up 162-game averages of eight home runs, 59 RBIs and 16 stolen bases with a .277 average.
The unknown at this point is how he fits into Boston’s plans for 2023. The reported agreement with Adam Duvall seemed to shore up the starting outfield for the Red Sox, and Boston re-signed Rob Refsnyder as a fourth outfielder in November. Obviously, with this being a minor league deal, Tapia’s most likely destination to start the season is Triple-A Worcester where he’d play every day until needed in Boston.
Maybe his market wasn’t especially robust, but it’s a little odd that someone with as much big league experience as Tapia couldn’t find a big league deal. The left-handed hitting Tapia also feels like the type of player who could see some newfound success under baseball’s new rules banning the shifts. He can run a bit — FanGraphs gave him a 60-grade for his speed — as only 30 players have more infield hits than Tapia’s 60 since the start of the 2019 season.