One of the reasons the Red Sox were so disappointing last year — note that I say one of, not the only — was that they simply didn’t have the depth to make it through a 162-game season. A marathon season like that requires people down on the depth chart to step up, and Boston didn’t have the players to do so last year. Thus, when Chaim Bloom came in one of his clear goals has been to build up depth with minor, underwhelming moves that can make the difference over a long season. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down this effort. They added Jhonny Pereda earlier in the week, and then on Tuesday they made another move that flew under the radar. According to their own transactions page, Boston signed former Cardinal Yairo Muñoz to a minor-league deal. Hat tip to Bill Baer at NBC Sports, whose own story on this made me aware of the transactions. I for sure am not checking the Red Sox transactions page these days.
Muñoz is a name that could be fresh in some people’s minds as he was in the news not all that long ago. Granted, March 9 seems like years ago at this point, but it was only a few weeks back that Muñoz just dipped out of Cardinals camp without notifying the team that he had decided he would no longer play for them. Apparently he was upset that it was becoming clear that he was not going to make the major-league roster when camp broke. Seems like a bad sign for makeup, if we’re being honest.
As far as on the field goes, Muñoz turned 25 earlier in the year and was originally signed by the Athletics before being sent to the Cardinals in the deal that netted Oakland Stephen Piscotty. He has played fairly extensively in the majors over the last two seasons, accruing 510 plate appearances combined in 2018 and 2019, hitting .273/.331/.391 for a 95 OPS+. He was much better in 2018 (109 OPS+) compared to 2019 (71 OPS+).
Additionally, he played every position besides catcher and first base in each of the last two years, leaving open the possibility to fill a Brock Holt type of role, at least on the field if not in the clubhouse. At the very least, he adds some more competition for the bench in the battle that includes Tzu-Wei Lin, Jonathan Araúz and Marco Hernández. It’s worth noting that battle is likely down to just one bench spot if the season does end up being played since Alex Verdugo should be ready to go by that point.