Rapid reaction to the Red Sox agreeing to a one-year deal with outfielder Adam Duvall for a reported $7 million...
Considering where we are in the offseason, I like this deal. Duvall has the potential to hit for power and play above-average defense in center, which allows Kiké Hernández to return to the infield. Seeing as Chaim Bloom's primary goal at this point is ensuring Alex Cora can field a starting lineup, Duvall at least brings him one step closer to this modest aim.
But there's potential that he serves as more than just filler. Two years ago, Duvall slammed 38 homers, led the National League in RBIs (113) and won a Gold Glove in right field for the World Series-champion Braves.
An All-Star in 2016 with the Reds, Duvall has topped 30 homers three times. He's never going to hit for average or walk much, but he's got major Hunter Renfroe potential as a right-handed slugger who will mitigate high strikeout totals with power and solid defense.
Tomase: After Duvall signing, two other FAs the Red Sox could consider
The key will be how well he recovers from surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. A similar injury slowed David Ortiz in 2008 and again in 2014, and to correct something I wrote about Duvall on Monday, Ortiz never actually underwent surgery to repair the problem, instead relying on a cast in 2008 and an offseason of rest in 2014 before finishing his career with two of his best seasons.
Duvall injured his wrist in a truly freak way, running into the short wall in left field chasing a Shohei Ohtani foul ball last season, but the fact that the injury occurred on his glove hand at least means he won't be straining the injury when uncorking 90-plus mph throws from the outfield.
Speaking of the outfield, though he has said he's most comfortable in left because it eases the wear and tear on his legs, the 34-year-old grades as above-average at all three spots. Between Alex Verdugo and possibly Jarren Duran -- not to mention Hernández -- Duvall shouldn't have to play center every single day.
It's getting way ahead of the game to discuss the postseason, since the Red Sox must first escape last place, but Duvall showed a flair for the dramatic with the Braves two years ago. He may have only hit .220 in those playoffs, but he homered three times: going back-to-back with Eddie Rosario to open the scoring in Game 2 of the NLCS vs. the Dodgers; smashing a two-run shot early in Game 1 of the World Series to open a 5-0 lead on the Astros; and adding a first-inning grand slam in Game 5, which longtime Braves followers consider one of the loudest moments in Atlanta's history.
For one year at short money, the Red Sox certainly could've done worse. A healthy Duvall has the potential to outperform some higher-paid free agents, whether it's Benintendi (5 years, $75 million, White Sox), Mitch Haniger (3 years, $43.5 million, Giants), or Michael Conforto (2 years, $36 million, Giants).
So now Bloom just needs to find one more middle infielder (Jose Iglesias? Elvis Andrus?) and the Red Sox will at least be ready to open the season with a lineup full of big leaguers.