The Boston Red Sox have a few more moves to make before they take the field at Fenway Park for Opening Day on March 30.
Among them, figuring out what to do with Raimel Tapia.
Tapia, a candidate for the final bench spot on Boston’s initial 26-man roster, has been tremendous during spring training. The 29-year-old has slashed .325/.372/.600 with two homers, five doubles, five RBIs, six runs, two walks, six strikeouts and three stolen bases in 15 Grapefruit League games.
That’s good enough for a spot on the major league club, according to the man himself.
“I know I belong (on) the 26-man roster,” Tapia said Saturday, per Christopher Smith of MassLive. “… And I’m ready to show it as soon as I’m added to the 26-man roster. If I’m added.”
Tapia’s status as a left-handed hitter, and his ability to play all three outfield positions, should give him the inside track to that roster spot over the likes of Jarren Duran and Yu Chang, who is falling behind a surging Bobby Dalbec for the final infield spot.
“Also, my aggressiveness on the base paths. I think that’s also something I can help the team with,” Tapia said. “And also being a good teammate even when you’re not playing. Just be happy, trying to cheer the guys if I’m not playing. But if I’m playing, just keep my 100% (effort), play really hard and that’s one of the things I take pride in.”
The Red Sox’s decision holds great weight, as Tapia signed a minor league contract that will pay him $2 million if he makes the big league club. It also has an opt-out clause, however, that allows him to elect free agency should he not be added out of spring training.