News out tonight that pinch-runner extraordinaire Quintin Berry is returning to the Red Sox on a minor league deal with and invitation to Spring Training has some fans excited, perhaps misguidedly, or probably with tongue planted firmly in their collective cheeks.
Strangely enough, while examining Berry’s playing record, one can see an ironic twist when Berry was released last month by the Orioles (where he spent all of 2014, only ten games of it in the majors), it was to create a 40 man spot for ex-Red Sox prime prospect Ryan Lavarnway on December 23. In the same report, of Berry’s signing is the report that Lavarnway has finally cleared waivers after being claimed three times in December, and outrighted to the Orioles minor league system.
If you don’t remember Quintin Berry, you may have blinked near the end of the 2013 season. He was acquired almost exclusively for pinch-running reasons, appearing in 13 games with only nine plate appearances. He made it on to the post season roster for all three series, stealing a base in each one while not stepping to the plate at all.
Prior to 2013, Berry appeared in 91 games for the Tigers in 2012, then in all three of their playoff series. His baserunning is thought of as quite a weapon, and rightly so. In 25 regular season attempts and five postseason attempts, Berry has never been caught stealing at the major league level. Berry has 316 minor league steals, with a more pedestrian 80 percent success rate.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big signing. Considering their glut of outfielders though, it is surprising they would add someone else who could possibly take a 40 man spot. It is doubtful that he makes the team, but he could at least play in the minors in case an emergency arises or a deal to get rid of another outfielder comes to fruition.
Stay tuned to BoSox Injection for all their personnel moves as we countdown to the start of Spring Training.