Hey, look. Some transactional news on Opening Day. This past winter, the most notable loss for the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft was Justin Haley, who will start the year on the Twins’ active roster. However, they also lost Aneury Tavarez to the Orioles. The outfielder couldn’t crack Baltimore’s roster, though. This means that he has been returned to the Red Sox organization and he’ll be starting the year in Double-A Portland. Apparently, the Orioles tried to work out a deal with the Red Sox to keep Tavarez, but it didn’t work out.
While this isn’t a season-changing move, it’s a nice outcome for a team that could use a little more outfield depth. Steve Selsky and Brock Holt are fine depth pieces, but are currently needed to fill some infield roles as well. Behind them, it’s Brian Bogusevic, Bryce Brentz, Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. The latter two aren’t likely to play in Boston this year given their respective salaries.
Tavarez doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but he has a skillset that can be useful off the bench in the majors. He’s shown a little bit of pop in his minor-league career as well as an ability to turn batted balls into hits. While his approach at the plate isn’t anything to write home about, it’s improved over the last couple years and is currently at a respectable level, at least. Where Tavarez really makes his mark is with his athleticism, as he possesses plus speed on the basepaths. He’s still limited to corner outfield play, but he’s solid in that role. For a Red Sox team that employs three players who can play above-average center field, that’s fine.
Tavarez hit .292/.382/.396 in 48 spring at bats with the Orioles. He hit one home run and stole eight bases in nine attempts.