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Red Sox sign Mike Olt, add to third base depth

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Here’s a little more Pablo Sandoval insurance.

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers

Well, the Red Sox have found a little more insurance for the scenario in which Pablo Sandoval can not fulfill his duties at the hot corner. On Tuesday, former top prospect Mike Olt announced on his Instagram page that he has signed a deal with the Red Sox. Although he didn’t specify, one would have to imagine it’s a minor-league contract.

Olt, a Connecticut native, is a former top prospect that originally came up through the Rangers system. Texas selected him with a compensatory pick (49th overall) out of UConn in 2010. He rose quickly through the minors as he tore up the lower levels, and was rated a top-50 prospect in both 2012 and 2013 by Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus. It was at this point things started to go downhill.

He struggled to start the 2013 season, when he was in Triple-A, and started reporting some depth perception issues. Eventually, Olt would go see a specialist who linked the problem to a concussion he received after being hit by a pitch in winter ball. He did get surgery from that — it’s pretty hard to play baseball without proper eyesight — but things never really recovered on the field. Texas sent their former top prospect in a deal with the Cubs that netted them Matt Garza at the trade deadline in 2013. He played parts of two seasons with them but only managed a 64 OPS+. After that, he was claimed off waivers from the White Sox in 2015, only to be released during spring training the following year. Olt spent 2016 in San Diego’s minor-league system, mostly at Double-A, and put up a .766 OPS.

The chances of the now-28-year-old making an impact for Boston are slim at best, but the Red Sox need as much insurance at third base as possible. Right now, Olt joins a group that includes himself, Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez, Josh Rutledge and Matt Dominguez. A signing of someone like Justin Turner or even Trevor Plouffe would have been sexier, but this strategy of throwing a bunch of crap at the wall and seeing what sticks is likely the more prudent one. In an ideal world, Sandoval will be healthy and productive with guys like Olt spending the year in Triple-A.