The Boston Red Sox added an outfielder from the Yankees roster
The Yankees acquired Locastro from the Arizona Diamondbacks last July but his time in the Bronx was brief. He was limited to only nine games before an ACL injury ended his season. Locastro hit a meager .180 with a .515 OPS in 64 games split between the two teams this season.
Locastro is a career .231 hitter with almost no power in his swing. He owns a career .329 slugging percentage and his career-high in home runs is two. He flashed some offensive potential in his 33 games played during the shortened 2020 season, hitting .290/.395/.464 with the Diamondbacks. It was a small sample but it shows that type of upside is possible.
The best tool he brings to the table is his blazing speed. Lacastro tied for the major league lead with a 30.7 Sprint Speed, per Baseball Savant. He has stolen 31 bases in 34 career attempts, giving him an excellent 91.2% success rate. Speed on the base paths is an asset the Red Sox were severely lacking in last season so the wheels on Locastro had to be appealing.
It will be interesting to see if he retains that speed after recovering from the ACL injury. If his speed is compromised, Locastro suddenly becomes far less appealing.
Acquiring players from the Yankees worked out well for the Red Sox last season. Boston selected Garrett Whitlock in the Rule 5 draft when the Yankees left him unprotected and he turned out to be one of their best relievers. Adam Ottavino may not have been worth his salary but he pitched some big innings for the Red Sox and was more valuable than the salary dump deal that brought him here would suggest.
Locastro probably won’t have as much of an impact but there’s a path for him to become useful if he’s fully recovered from the injury. He can play all three outfield positions and we know this team values versatility. The Red Sox have a solid outfield trio with Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez and Hunter Renfroe but they lacked depth at those positions. Locastro’s ability to cover center field potentially allows Kike to spend more time at second base.
The speedy fourth outfielder is the role Boston envisions Jarren Duran ascending to in the near future but his brief call-up last season showed he isn’t quite ready for the big leagues. Locastro could adequately fill a similar role while their top outfield prospect continues to develop.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Locastro isn’t even on the roster when the 2022 season opens. That will partially depend on how Chaim Bloom addresses the team’s needs through free agency and trades. The roster could fill up quickly once Bloom gets to work and if they run out of roster spots, Locastro would seem to be on the short list of expendable options.
If he does make the roster, at least he’ll be cheap. Locastro is arbitration eligible but projected for only $700,000, per MLB Trade Rumors.
The Red Sox 40-man roster now has 35 players. With several open spots, it does no harm to add a potentially useful asset while they can. We should temper expectations but this is a low-risk move that allows them to kick the tires on a player who has shown some upside and brings a skill set the Red Sox had very little of this year.
Why not roll the dice when the cost is next to nothing? If he doesn’t pan out, no harm done. If he does, the Red Sox get to rub it in that they stole another useful asset from the Yankees.