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Red Sox reportedly make two minor-league signings

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Insert lame “World Series here we come joke” here.

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Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have not been nearly as active as some of the other teams around the league, with their only major-league signing being Michael Wacha, who signed a one-year deal over the weekend worth $7 million. That has not changed in the early parts of this week as we head into the transaction freeze that will coincide with the league’s lockout, but they did add a bit of depth in the form of two minor-league signings, both of whom received invitations to spring training.

The first, reported by Masslive’s Chris Cotillo, can help in both the infield and the outfield, though he’s played more on the grass of late than on the dirt. That would be Rob Refsnyder, who played in 51 games this past season for the Minnesota Twins. A former fifth round pick by the New York Yankees, the now-30-year-old (he turns 31 in late-March, and in fact on the same day yours truly turns 31) has bounced around the league after making his debut with New York back in 2015.

Over his entire career, he has accrued 614 plate appearances across six seasons, hitting .224/.310/.308. This past season he finished with an 86 wRC+ over 157 plate appearances, meaning he was 14 percent worse than the league-average hitter by that metric. Refsnyder will not provide much in the way of power and does strikeout a bunch, but more positively he draws a lot of walks. Defensively, while he came up on the dirt he hasn’t played a non-first base infield position since 2017. That said, he has graded out fairly well in the outfield, with most of the success coming in the corners, though he can also hold his own in center field if need be.

In addition to Refsnyder, the Red Sox also made another depth signing for the outfield, this one being reported by WEEI’s Rob Bradford. He reports that Boston has signed former Detroit Tigers first round pick Christin Stewart to a minor-league deal. Now about to turn 28, Stewart was drafted 34th overall by the Tigers back in 2015 but has not been able to crack the majors on a consistent basis. The most playing time he got in the bigs was back in 2019 when he did get 416 plate appearances, but finished that run with an 80 wRC+.

Stewart is most known for his power, which FanGraphs grades as a 65 raw and 55 in-game, both of which are above-average. And that power has translated in the minors, as even last season at Triple-A he slashed .254/.339/.538 with 21 homers in 89 games. It hasn’t played up in the majors, though, as his .150 Isolated Power at the highest level is a below-average mark in today’s game.

Neither of these players are likely to play big roles for the Red Sox in 2022 or beyond, but every team needs to make these kinds of depth signings, and every once in a while one of them does break out and provide a real impact. The outfield depth in Triple-A could be better, so these two both shore up that group.