The Boston Red Sox have signed outfielder Andres Torres to a minor league contract. Torres, 36, was an unsigned free agent and hasn’t played thus far in the 2014 season. Even though the contract is for the minor leagues, it brings up an intriguing question on why this move was made.
As of right now, the Red Sox have an abundance of outfielders on their roster. Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and even Brock Holt have been manning the outfield this season. Sadly, the most productive outfielder of the bunch has been Holt, who isn’t even an outfielder by nature. So the need for someone to start generating some offense is necessary.
Is that man Torres? I don’t think it is, but this proves that a change is coming.
With all the outfield availability the Red Sox have right now, it seems a little strange that this signing took place. Don’t forget, Shane Victorino is also with the club on the DL. So this signing means that one or two of these players listed above could be shown the door soon. Sizemore and Bradley Jr. are the two obvious choices. Both players are hovering in the low-.200 with no signs of really breaking out.
But don’t count out anyone else either, with the exception of Holt. The Red Sox may want to continue running Bradley Jr. out to the field to see if he can turn it around, although the patience of fans has worn thin. Sizemore is also someone they may keep around for the sole reason that his contact is cheap until he starts hitting the incentives in it.
Torres has seen success in the majors before with the San Francisco Giants in 2010. His power and speed combination was pivotal for the Giants that year, as he hit .268 with 16 home runs and 26 stolen bases. The combination of those numbers could intrigue the Red Sox, especially if he gets off to a fast start in the minors.
Torres is also a switch hitter, which could be utilized to spell Bradley Jr. or Sizemore during certain games. Either way, it’s a low-cost risk that the Red Sox are taking, something that seems to be a trend for Boston.
On the flipside, this signing could purely be for organizational depth. The Red Sox don’t have any outfielders in their system who they deem major league-ready. Mookie Betts is their most prominent outfielder at this time, and he’s a second baseman by trade. He is only in the outfield to provide a fast track for him to make it to the major leagues, at least in the Red Sox organization.
This will be an interesting storyline to follow. Could this jump-start Sizemore or Bradley Jr., knowing that another option has now emerged in the minors? Or is this simply a formality to add depth to the Red Sox? Something has to give, and fast. Now it’s just a matter of finding out who the odd man out is going to be.