Red Sox: Internal outfield upgrades plus an outlier option

Possible Boston Red Sox outfield upgrades

What a difference a few years make for the Boston Red Sox outfield. The outfield for Boston is now simply nothing special – just vanilla ice cream. Long gone is the 2018 trio led by Mookie Betts. Now we can have Franchy Cordero or Danny Santana. No more. There have to be a few better options or at least the opportunity to watch a new set of failures. The Red Sox are unlikely to go into a big-ticket mode so the internal option is the best option to review and that means Worcester.

Yairo Muñoz was a refreshing addition in 2020 before injuries cut the 26-year-old right-hand hitter down. Muñoz was signed after the Cardinals released him despite hitting .273 spread over 196 games. With Boston, Muñoz hit .333 in 45 plate appearances.

Muñoz is a hacker with the bat producing just a 6.7 BB% for his limited MLB career. He also has a 14.7 SwStr% and that is close to Santana and Cordero territory. That has helped to be translated to a career 21.4 K%. At Worcester, Muñoz has exactly zero innings in the outfield as third base has been his position.

Marcus Wilson was signed by Arizona for $1 million back in 2014. Projected as a five-tool player, some of the tools have not surfaced consistently. Goodbye Blake Swihart and hello Wilson. Traded for each other. Unlike Muñoz, the right-hand-hitting Wilson is already on the 40-Man roster. Wilson is currently hitting .277 for the WooSox with six home runs.

What Wilson does have that Muñoz lacks are plus speed and excellent defensive skills. Wilson, like far too many hitters, is prone to whiffs. The next issue is his never clearly demonstrating an ability to consistently hit in the minors. That may have changed with the Red Sox starting with a .342 for Salem (A+).

Just what does he have left to prove? Jarren Duran has upped his game the last few years by adding some significant power. A great showing in the winter leagues, and equally positive spring training, some nice numbers at Worcester, and now coming back from Team USA with a nice positive to his resume.

Duran has plus-plus speed and – to be kind – developing defensive skills. Duran also apparently rises to the competition. With the current status of the Red Sox outfield, dearth of team speed, and vacuum at leadoff, the 24-year-old lefty may force the Red Sox reluctance. Duran would also force a roster move.

Cordero is slugging away in the International League. But this is the IL and not MLB. Does this mean his swing has been “corrected?” Is a return possible? Cordero is still on the roster and it would be the quick move and possible replacement for Santana. Not being a die-hard Cordero loyalist, I would look elsewhere.

There is another player at Worcester who appears to be stuck in the minors. Right-hand hitting Johan Mieses is what is known as “Outfield Depth” and it appears to be that depth is for Triple-A. Mieses was signed as a free agent after two other organizations cut bait. Mieses impressed at Portland (AA) with 11 home runs in 23 games before bouncing up to AAA. BSI’s Hunter Noll has a look at both Wilson and Mieses.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Michael Chavis in the outfield has the stench of desperation. The story of Chavis is well known and the bright flame of 2019 that quickly got extinguished. A brief return in 2021 showed somewhat of a resurrection and the hustle machine hit .273.

At Worcester, Chavis is not close to hitting his weight and is primarily limited to second and short. Chavis may spend the season on the AAA-MLB shuttle as a spot call-up as a need arises. Chavis in the outfield could offer up some Manny Ramiez-like defensive amusement.

Now for the outlier.  There is one who could be available who has a long history of positive and negative with the Red Sox. Jackie Bradley Jr. could return after mid-June. Do the Brewers have buyer’s remorse? Are the Red Sox even interested? A .154 batting average could do that. The contract doesn’t fit unless the Brewers take a player and pay a portion of Bradley’s 2021 salary. From what I have seen of our outfield, I’d risk a JBJ reunion.