'Super humbled' Refsnyder signed to Red Sox extension

Veteran outfielder inks 1-year deal with '25 club option

June 3rd, 2023

BOSTON -- The role is unglamorous but important -- particularly for the Red Sox, who play 81 games per season at Fenway Park.

A right-handed hitter who can hammer left-handed pitching on a consistent basis is no small thing, and that’s why the Red Sox signed veteran outfielder  to a one-year contract extension through the 2024 season with a club option for ‘25. Refsnyder will earn a base salary of $1.85 million next season and the option is worth $2 million.

For a 32-year-old veteran who has spent most of his career fighting for a roster spot and going up and down from the Minor Leagues, Saturday was a satisfying day.

“I’ve gotten some really really nice texts from some family members, some friends and people that mean a lot to me and have stuck with me and encouraged me and it's definitely a day of reflection and thankfulness,” said Refsnyder. “So it’s something I'll definitely celebrate with my wife hopefully here on an off-day or something like that. Hopefully our babysitter's available and you can get a glass of wine and kind of reminisce about some of those highs and lows. It's been really special to kind of think about, even right now.”

The Red Sox have gotten an equal combination of professionalism and production from Refsnyder, who, in his two seasons in Boston, has a slash line of .362/.437/.543 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 116 at-bats against lefties.

“Yeah, there's a lot of things that are visible to everybody in here, visible to anybody who watches our games,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “There's also some things that I think people don't see. And all that goes into it anytime you make this sort of a deal with a player.

“It's about the player and it's about the person," added Bloom. "I mean, since Rob's come in here, he's done a lot of things to help us win games on both sides of the ball. Great at-bats every single time, plays the game the right way. And in here, he does a lot of things to help the group. He’s an outstanding teammate.”

When Refsnyder signed a Minor League contract with the Red Sox prior to the 2022 season with an invite to Spring Training, it seemed like just another part of his long and winding journey.

And then when he didn’t make the team, Refsnyder thought about working in a baseball front office.

But an impromptu batting practice session with Red Sox hitting coach Pete Fatse changed the trajectory of his career. 

“I worked with Fatse for what seemed like a really, really long time, and he sent some video and I felt some things that I thought could really really help me and some things that I had been really, really searching for,” Refsnyder said. “I'm very thankful that I wasn't stubborn and decided to work with him, because that hitting lesson alone really changed the trajectory of my career and my swing path and my game and things like that and things that I'm comfortable doing. A lot of credit goes to Fatse and things like that.”

Refsnyder was called up to Boston for the second time last season on June 10, and stayed for the rest of the season. A month into the offseason, the Red Sox signed him to a one-year deal. Finally, Refsnyder didn’t have to worry about being an invite to Spring Training. His roster spot was secure.

Earlier in his career, Refsnyder had trouble with a platoon role he now has down to a science. He credits a former Red Sox World Series MVP for helping to change his mindset.

“Steve Pearce in Toronto really helped me embrace it a little bit more,” Refsnyder said. “And I've just watched from afar really, really good players in similar situations. And I've always tried to go to the cage and just kind of watch really, really successful players in our game, go about their business and I try not to say much and learn from them.”

Refsnyder now feels at home in Boston. So, too, does his family.

“I bring my son here once or twice a series,” Refsnyder said. “When he wakes up, he wants to come to the field. He screams ‘field’. And so I bring him here and it's a special place for me, watching him run around the ballpark, and I put the ball on the tee for him. So Boston's a special place for me and my family.”

In 322 career games for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, Twins and Red Sox, Refsnyder is a .247 hitter with 13 homers and 73 RBIs.