BOSTON, MA: Darnell McDonald #54, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, leaps to make a catch from a ball hit by Kelly Johnson #2 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
While Red Sox fans were presumably eating burgers, drinking beers, and celebrating their freedom with the assistance of Michael Chiklis, the New York Yankees were claiming former Boston outfielder Darnell McDonald off of waivers. McDonald, who has spent the last three seasons with the Red Sox, was designated for assignment last Saturday in order to make room on the 25-man roster for Josh Beckett, who was returning from the disabled list.
McDonald was just supposed to be a bench outfielder during his time with the Red Sox, but a nonstop stream of injuries in the outfield allowed the former first-round selection 234 games and 637 plate appearances over parts of three seasons. He hit .252/.323/.413 (95 OPS+) while with the Red Sox, but, had he been able to play against lefties rather than forced to start against righties so often, it's likely he would have produced more with less.
Similarly, McDonald isn't a poor defensive player, but is a stretch in center field. Thanks to all the missing outfielders, though, he still appeared in center in 88 games with the Red Sox, logging 540 innings there, and damaging his own value in the process. McDonald wouldn't be a great player if used appropriately, or anything that extreme, but he's more useful as a lefty-mashing corner outfielder than his run in Boston allowed him to look.
He was a popular player in town, and while his production won't be missed -- McDonald was expendable specifically because of Boston's abundance of capable outfielders -- it will be a little strange to see him in pinstripes in this upcoming series against New York, especially just days after donning a Sox uniform.