What Are The Red Sox Planning?


The start of MLB Free Agency has felt like it has gone by in the blink of an eye with the lockout in place since December 2nd and with most of the deals happening the 3 days before. However, with this time, GM’s have the time on their own to plan their next move. Many teams that are on the come up like the Mets and Mariners have already spent large amounts of money, but a lot of the current contenders/larger franchises like the Braves, Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox have yet to make a big splash in free agency. For example, the Mets, who finished 3rd in the NL East with a 77-85 record, have already gone out and signed Starling Marte to a 4-year $78 million contract; Mark Cahna to a 2-year $26 million contract; All-star Eduardo Escobar to a 2-year $20 million contract; and replaced Marcus Stroman with Max Scherzer on a 3-year $140 million contract. This competitiveness in free-agency could lead to teams leapfrogging the Red Sox, (mostly with the Mariners and Blue Jays). But enough about what other teams are doing, because the real question that everyone wants to know is, what is the Red Sox next move? Obviously, only Chaim Bloom knows what he wants to do after the lockout ends but, what really is in store for this team?

The Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East in 2021 with a 92-70 record and were two wins away from making the World Series. All season long they were underdogs, and they completely embraced that mentality in the playoffs while beating the Yankees and the Rays. They basically came out of nowhere and did a lot of damage with players like Rafael Devers, Nate Eovaldi, and Hunter Renfroe standing out as great players, but in the end, everything fell apart because the bats died down and the pitching couldn’t hold up. The main targets for this year’s free agency would be re-signing Kyle Schwarber, extending Devers and Bogaerts, trying to get another bat or two into this lineup, and adding some bullpen depth. From the last few free-agencies it’s noticeable that GM Chaim Bloom doesn’t tend to spend a lot of money and would rather get a solid veteran for cheap on a one-year deal than getting a star on a massive deal. With that in mind, the Sox probably won’t end up signing Carlos Correa or Trevor Story or a big ace like Clayton Kershaw. Chaim presumably would be open to re-signing Schwarber for the benefit of hitting and with the universal-DH probable with the new CBA, J.D. Martinez could potentially be traded with the market for DH’s opening up considerably.  Yes, J.D. could be traded if the market was right. Being able to get rid of his $19.4 million contract could be a plus, and he would be a free-agent after this season so they could get assets back instead of letting him walk. That extra money could allow the Red Sox to explore the trade market, or have extra finances to be able to extend Devers and Bogaerts. Besides Schwarber, the Red Sox need to look for position players at 2nd base and right-field. Since the Red Sox traded Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for JBJ and some prospects, they lose a good bat and a great glove. The possibility that JBJ is in the everyday lineup is low, so it is possible that the Sox sign a mid-price outfielder like Eddie Rosario or go out and sign 5-time Japan league all-star Seiya Suzuki, who is rumored to be going to Boston even though they can’t directly contact him with the lockout according to Sean McAdam. They also need to sign a 2nd baseman, which will probably end up being Jose Iglesias after the stint he had. In 23 games last season with the Red Sox, Iglesias hit .356 with a .915 OPS, .406 OBP, and 142 OPS+ which are amazing numbers. He would be a great signing on a 1 or 2 year deal and would fill the biggest positional hole on the team. 

The other key to a good free-agency would be to sign some pitching which they kind of have already done. Bloom has already gone out and signed a handful of pitchers including LHP James Paxton to a 1-year $10 million contract, RHP Micheal Wacha to a 1-year $7 million contract, and LHP Rich Hill to a 1-year $5 million contract. Basically, the starting rotation is already filled out even though Paxton won’t pitch until July. The starters will most likely be Nate Eovaldi, Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, and Rich Hill, and run with Wacha in the bullpen, but it still feels like there is something missing there. Some potential signings for the bullpen could be Brad Boxberger, Ryan Tepera, and maybe a comeback from Joe Kelly. Boxberger and Kelly would be the 1-year deal type of guy that Bloom would be interested in and Tepera would be a great signing after the year he had with the Cubs and White Sox. 

At the end of all this, we will still be Red Sox fans, but it is better to be a Red Sox fan while they are winning than feel the pain of them being bad, or just barely missing out. Chaim is a smart GM and will hopefully be able to bring this team into serious World Series contention after the really great season they had with a solid roster. A good to great roster could really put this team at the top, especially after the season they are coming off and the determination the Red Sox have after just barely missing the World Series. They are going to be hungry for a title and will no longer have that underdog mentality so something has to bring them up to that next level. Even though many fans have been upset with not signing the huge free-agents like Javy Baez or Marcus Semien, some things work out for the better and it feels like this scenario falls under that category.