Red Sox sign Rob Refsnyder to 1-year deal, avoiding arbitration process
Rob Refsnyder officially has the distinction of being the first player to be tendered a contract by the Boston Red Sox this offseason.
Several players have opted in or out of their deals, but Refsnyder is the first of the arbitration-eligible pool to have his 2023 season figured out. On Wednesday morning, Chad Jennings of The Athletic reported that the Sox are in agreement with Refsnyder on a one-year deal, bypassing the arbitration process altogether.
Refsnyder was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 2012 draft and debuted with them in 2015. At this point in his career, he’s played for every American League East team but the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017, then he left the division for a stint with the Cleveland Guardians, before joining the Tampa Bay Rays. In between his time with Chaim Bloom’s former team and his current one, Refsnyder caught on with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, and Minnesota Twins. All of this in the first seven years of his career, and he didn’t play in the majors in 2019.
The versatile defender, who can play first and second base as well as the outfield, had a solid, albeit injury-marred, year for the Sox. After beginning his season with Triple-A Worcester, the Sox temporarily added him to the active roster in mid-April due to another player going on the COVID-related Injured List. He returned in June and played consistently until a knee sprain landed him on the IL for two weeks. In early October, back spasms ended his season a few days early. Still, over 57 total games – one short of his career-high – he hit .307/.384/.497 with 47 hits, including 11 doubles and six home runs.
At 31 years old, Refsnyder is still two years away from free agency. His 2023 salary has yet to be reported, but his projected arbitration salary was a cost-effective $1.6M, so it makes sense that the Sox didn’t need much time to decide whether they wanted to bring him back. He proved himself a solid depth piece in 2022, and hopefully, can contribute likewise next season.