Red Sox releasing nephew of former hated Yankee has fans asking questions

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The Boston Red Sox have a minor league system full of so many infielders they don't even know what to do with them all.

This winter, they signed another to a minor-league deal, expecting him to play the majority of his season in Triple-A. But he didn't even make it there.

The Red Sox released Joe Dunand, among other players, on March 24, after being reassigned to minor-league camp on March 7. But Dunand is the biggest story here, and not because of his baseball ability.

The 28-year-old Dunand is the nephew of former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. It seems the Red Sox's angle was trying to get in the Yankees' heads had Dunand caught on in Boston after a career year in the minors in 2023.

Red Sox released Joe Dunand, Alex Rodriguez's nephew, after a rough spring training

Dunand played some spring training games with the big-league squad. The shortstop/utility player struggled, though, and he went just 1-for-16 at the plate with five strikeouts in 15 games. But they had to have known he wasn't going to stick on the big-league roster, which would've made the signing worthwhile for their minor-league system.

Dunand spent his 2023 season in the Braves system after making MLB his debut for the Marlins in 2022. His stint in the big leagues was short despite his small successes with Miami. In his three major league games, Dunand posted three hits -- one was a double and one was a homer. Otherwise, he's logged 519 minor-league games., which made it seem like he'd be utilized for depth at Triple-A, especially with Bobby Dalbec, Ceddanne Rafaela, Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu expected to get plenty of MLB reps this season.

The Red Sox likely jumped at a chance to sign Rodriguez's nephew in the off chance they could get someone with Yankee ties in a Sox uniform. Boston had Jeter Downs in its system as one of the prizes from the Mookie Betts trade and a "Jeter" of any capacity on the Red Sox would be a nice way to get under Yankee fans' skin. Downs is now in the Yankees system after a stint in the Nationals' farm.

Dunand didn't have a real shot to make the roster — the Sox don't even have room for all the infielders they already have in their system. But it's fun to mess with the Yankees and their fans once in a while, despite the plan not working out. Either way, it's fair to wonder why it was handled in this manner over the course of seven weeks.

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