• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Joey Meneses has been a star in the Globe Baseball Classic. Why would the Red Sox let him stroll?


Mar 17, 2023

FORT MYERS — What are the odds that the Red Sox could add a player who completed fifth in the majors in OPS final year and who has been a force in the Globe Baseball Classic? As it turns out, they presently had a single and saw him slip by way of their fingers.

As a 30-year-old Nationals rookie final year, Joey Meneses hit .324/.367/.563 with 13 homers in 56 games. This spring, the 1st baseman and corner outfielder continued his magic carpet ride in important Mexico into the WBC quarterfinals, hitting .474/.474/.749 with a pair of homers against Group USA.

For the Sox, the improvement comes with a mix of delight for the appropriately-liked Meneses and dismay that his breakout occurred elsewhere just following he spent the 2021 season with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester. Meneses was a force in Double-A (.303/.348/.590) just just before a respectable if drastically significantly less spectacular efficiency in Worcester (.260/.315/.452).

“Every time he pops up on my notifications, I send it out to my hitting coach, like, ‘We knew it!’” stated Red Sox outfield coordinator Corey Wimberly, who managed Meneses with Portland in 2021. “We every single agree that he’s gonna be excellent for some years to come. I do not take into consideration this is the finish of his story.”

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So why didn’t the Red Sox retain him?

Meneses was a minor-league entirely no cost agent just following the 2021 season. The group expressed some interest in bringing him back on a minor-eague deal, but not necessarily a clear provide of playing time – especially offered the priority attached to playing time at 1st base for Triston Casas. And his efficiency in Triple A didn’t precisely provide a clear indication of a individual who would post a bigger OPS in 2022 than Freddie Freeman.

“If we had noticed this coming, he’d practically absolutely nonetheless be appropriate right here,” acknowledged chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “Sometimes guys just break by way of at diverse points in their profession, diverse ages, diverse regions. Pleased to see him be in a position to do that and just be in a position to sustain it in the important leagues and the WBC. Fairly cool story.”

Cool, unquestionably, for Meneses and the Nationals – who lacked upper-levels corner bats final year and have been in a position to let Meneses be an each day 1st baseman in Triple A just just before calling him up just following dealing Josh Bell and Juan Soto at the deadline. Meanwhile, his late-profession breakout necessary a degree of introspection from the Sox.

“Anytime that requires spot, you frequently seem and say, ‘Is this a issue that we could have foreseen?’” stated Bloom. “The exceptional point about this, every single and each player that we target, any person you bring in as a minor league entirely no cost agent or in any capacity, there’s frequently a excellent important leaguer that you can envision.

“You’re unquestionably only going to get that out of so lots of guys. You want to get it out of a lot additional than the competitors does. It is essentially cool organizationally when you do allow a individual to take that leap. We’ve been in a position to do that appropriate right here and there,” he added, alluding to players like Rob Refsnyder and Zack Kelly. “We unquestionably didn’t do it with Joey, and the Nationals are reaping the benefits.”

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Stick to him on Twitter at @alexspeier.