It’s been far too long since the Boston Red Sox have plucked a former journeyman out of thin air and used him as a weapon against the New York Yankees.
Oh, wait! No, it hasn’t! It happened with reliever John Schreiber this year as well, who sported a 6.32 ERA with the 2020 Tigers and a 0.62 mark this season in Boston. It happened with Garrett Whitlock, the mid-top-30 Yankees prospect who became a wunderkind after Tommy John. It happened with Nick Pivetta, Ryan Brasier, Jose Iglesias last fall, Travis Shaw briefly … OK, we’re bored. It’s, like, their entire thing, even if famous TV creators want you to believe the Yankees are the only team that does this. You hate what you are!
Call me old-fashioned, but Whitlock’s emergence is old news. I’ve been waiting far too long for the Sox to unveil a new, annoying project who also happens to be an ex-Yankee who couldn’t hack it in the Bronx. Nathan Eovaldi? That’s so 2018.
Re-meet Rob Refsnyder, who Yankee fans begged to replace Stephen Drew in 2015, only for the results to be somewhat dull once he started floating around the edges of the roster.
After a weekend split in Boston, Refsnyder, now 31 years old and coming off a short stint with the Twins (and a short stint with Texas, and a short stint with the Rays…) is our overlord. To bring Saturday’s game one step closer, he rocketed this baseball into the stratosphere and through a windshield, leading eventually to a 6-for-14 series with a walk. He has an OPS+ of 162 on the season.
Yankees got bashed in by Red Sox Rob Refsnyder
Refsnyder, of “Give Rob the Job!” fame, never quite worked out for the Yankees (hard to believe, wow, seriously). In 43 at-bats at the tail end of 2015, he hit a small-sample-size .302 with an .859 OPS, briefly living up to his prospect pedigree. Unfortunately, he never stuck again, hitting .250 without a homer in 175 plate appearances during the Yankees’ reassessment season in 2016. With a golden opportunity to grab hold of a starting role, he instead faltered, carrying over into a .135 stretch in 2017 before he was traded to Toronto in exchange for Ryan McBroom (remember him?).
Five years later, Refsnyder’s offensive menace appears to have finally been unlocked — and his defense isn’t so bad, either. When the Yankees selected him, they converted him to the infield, but he reportedly always preferred to stick in the outfield.
Now that he’s manning center at Fenway and mashing taters, it’s not hard to see why. And, if things had broken a little differently this spring, he might’ve been in the Yankees’ system … where he probably would’ve been buried in Triple-A with Estevan Florial, but STILL.
In a direct, head-to-head battle (that doesn’t exist) between Refsnyder and Matt Carpenter, the Yankees would rather be rostering the handyman.
Would’ve been great if he hadn’t ended up heading to the Red Sox and tearing them apart (which he briefly did with the Twins in 2021, too), though. Definitely would’ve been wonderful to avoid that hellish fate.