After the announcement of Trevor’s story After undergoing elbow surgery, the Red Sox said they were open to the option to pitch Hernández which had been vacated in an effort to strengthen the team’s depth and improve outfield defense. However, Hernandez’s move off the field would also create a weakness there. Signing Duvall, the Red Sox hoped, could alleviate some of those problems.
Duvall’s strength is something the Red Sox desperately need. His 2022 season was marred by injury after he tore a sheath on his wrist on July 23 and missed the rest of the year with the Braves. 213/.276/.401 in 76 games, but .255/.317/.618 with 10 home runs in the last 34 games before being held off.
In 2021, he posted career highs of 38 homers and 113 RBIs for Atlanta, with his 29 homers coming from June through the end of the season. Although Duvall only hit 0.28 that season, he managed a 0.800 OPS as a result of his slamming ability.
Duvall will join the team whose team high last year came from Rafael Devers with 27 and who has 20th in home runs with just 155 on the year. Even with Duvall, the Sox could struggle again in that area—maybe more—without Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and maybe Story.
Although Bogaerts and Martinez didn’t hit the 20 homer mark last year, they both remained threats to the Authority.
Duvall’s signature isn’t going to fill all those blanks. However, at the very least, the Sox have an outboard, side-dragging bat that could fit well with Fenway. He is familiar with the park, After hitting three home runs in one game there with the Braves in 2020 in a 7-5 win over the Red Sox.
Duvall spent his nine-year career in the National League, starting in 2014 with San Francisco, the organization that drafted him in the 11th round from Louisville. He spent most of his time with the Giants in the minors, appearing in just 28 games before he was shipped to Cincinnati in a final trade for right-hander Mike Lake.
He found his hitting with the Reds, hitting 33 home runs and earning a spot on the NL All-Star team in 2016, then adding another 31 in 2017. After struggling in 2018, he was traded at deadline to Atlanta, where he 132 with 17 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances down the stretch.
He rebounded in 2019 after starting the year in the minors, earning a spot on the postseason roster with 10 home runs in 130 plate appearances, then followed that up with 16 home runs in the shortened 2020 season.
He signed with the Marlins in 2021, hitting 22 home runs, before he was shipped back to Atlanta at the trade deadline. Adding another 16 home runs, he helped spark the Braves to the postseason for the third year in a row. He belted a grand slam in the first inning of Game 5 of the World Series as the Braves went on to defeat the Astros in six games to claim the title.
Alex Speer and Andrew Mahoney of the Globe staff contributed to this report.