The Red Sox have signed utility player Yairo Munoz to a minor league contract, according to their transactions page. The club assigned Munoz to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Munoz came available when the Cardinals released him March 7. The two sides’ relationship took an especially sour turn when Munoz, upset by the lack of playing time he received last season, flew home from spring training without informing the Cardinals. Manager Mike Shildt suggested then that Munoz, who was also dealing with a hamstring injury, would have been in position to earn an Opening Day roster spot in St. Louis had he stuck around. Instead, though, if we even get a baseball season in 2020, Munoz will have to work his way back via Boston’s minor league system.
Now 25 years old, Munoz was an effective hitter off the bench for the Cardinals when he debuted in 2018. He was a .276/.350/.413 batter with eight home runs and five stolen bases across 329 plate appearances that year. However, his production tanked during a 2019 campaign in which he slashed .267/.298/.355 with a pair of homers and eight steals in 181 PA. Munoz’s walk rate dropped by almost 6 percent, one of the reasons he wasn’t able to replicate his successful rookie showing.
Despite last year’s struggles at the plate, Munoz does at least bring defensive versatility to the table. He has amassed 20 or more lifetime appearances at three infield spots (shortstop, third and second) and has totaled double-digit games at all three outfield positions. The Red Sox are clearly set at third (Rafael Devers) and short (Xander Bogaerts), but Munoz could still see action elsewhere if he does land a spot on their roster sometime in 2020.
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