The Red Sox made an intriguing depth addition on Wednesday, signing infielder-turned-outfielder Dalton Guthrie to a minor-league deal.
The surname may ring a bell. He’s the son of former Red Sox reliever (and Cape Cod Baseball League veteran) Mark Guthrie. The elder Guthrie’s 15-year MLB career included a World Series championship with the ’91 Minnesota Twins and 46 appearances for the ’99 Red Sox before they traded him to the Chicago Cubs for closer Rod Beck. Guthrie also faced off against future Boston heroes Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell when the Cubs and Florida Marlins faced off the ’03 NLCS, giving up an 11th-inning homer to Lowell in Game 1.
Now that everyone’s feeling old and pondering the all-too-rapid passage of time, here’s what the younger Guthrie brings to the table:
He was the Philadelphia Phillies’ 6th-round pick in 2017, and reached the Majors with the club in 2022. As a September call-up, Guthrie helped the Phillies return to the postseason for the first time since their Golden Era ended in ’11. He hit well in 14 games that fall, going 7-for-21 (.333) with a homer, three runs, five batted in, six walks, and seven strikeouts, helping the Phillies return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Guthrie struggled in ’23, only managing to go 4-for-24 (.167) over 23 games. He spent most of last year in Triple-A, first with the Phillies, before the San Francisco Giants purchased his contract, and finally, the Atlanta Braves, who claimed him off waivers in July. He’s hit .289/.357/.434 throughout his three years of Triple-A baseball.
Though he’s likely to begin the season in Triple-A Worcester, Guthrie offers depth to a Red Sox outfield currently projected to include either Wilyer Abreu, Ceddanne Rafaela, or both – they have just 28 games of Major League experience apiece – and additional infield depth. He’s logged at least 582 minor-league innings at centerfield, shortstop, second, and third base, as well as 398 in right and 290 in left.
Guthrie’s big-league career is still in the small sample-size stage, but the 16.1% walk rate is notable. He also brings some speed to the table; in ’22, he led the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs with 21 stolen bases. In his first two years in the Majors, he ranked in the 88th and 82nd MLB Percentile for Sprint Speed; his 28.6 feet/seconds would have ranked fifth on the ’23 Red Sox, behind Jarren Duran, David Hamilton, Trevor Story, and Rafaela.
Guthrie also made the Phillies’ Division Series roster in his debut season. By serving as a pinch-runner and playing a pair of innings in right-field in that series, he has more playoff experience than most members of the Red Sox 40-man roster.