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The Lion's Roar

The Lion's Roar

The Lion's Roar

Sugar and Spice
Sugar and Spice
February 15, 2024
Carrie
Carrie
February 15, 2024

Red Sox Free Agency Preview

The Boston Red Sox are in a state of disarray. After a second consecutive 78-84 season, and a last-place finish in the AL East for the third time in four years, the Red Sox need some team success. While winning a World Series may not be attainable off of an offseason’s worth of transactions, making the playoffs is always a feasible goal for a team in a big market. Luckily, Boston is just that.

Under Chaim Bloom, the franchise made some questionable decisions. Last offseason, the Red Sox hit rock bottom. Xander Bogearts fled to San Diego, and Nathan Eovaldi joined the Texas Rangers, who would go on to win the World Series. Boston decided that at least one star had to be retained but chose Rafael Devers to represent the franchise. While Devers is still an All-Star caliber player, many fans agreed in unison that an eleven-year super-mega-incrediDeal was not the best option, especially under the belief that slower, less athletic power hitters tend to tail off after peaking early. This trend is already in full effect with Devers, who had a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as fewer hits, doubles, and triples despite appearing in a dozen more games the season prior. Boston believed that Mookie Betts would be the one to fall off, not Devers, which is what stalled contract negotiations and ultimately led to Betts’ eventual trade to Los Angeles, where he has already won a championship whereas the Red Sox have been doing a lot of sitting and watching. 

The Red Sox have several in-house free agents on which the organization will have to make tough decisions. James Paxton, Justin Turner, Adam Duvall, Corey Kluber, and Alberto Mondesi are ready to hit the open market. Primarily, the Red Sox should hone in on retaining Paxton, Turner, and Duvall, who all played solid roles on a team that had no identity. The first step to contention is sometimes continuity, and bringing back three veterans would be a sure benefactor to the franchise. 

Over the opening days of the offseason, the Red Sox have been linked to many free agent pitchers, and the goal is to bring a big-name ace to Boston to strengthen a middle-of-the-pack or worse rotation. One such player is Yoshinibu Yamamoto. Yamamoto has been playing overseas and has built a formidable resume. This past season, the stellar righty played 24 games, totaling a 1.16 earned run average and 176 strikeouts. For reference, Blake Snell led the majors in ERA this season, at 2.25, en route to his second Cy Young. Yamamoto’s 176 strikeouts would not have been top ten in the MLB. 

Blake Snell should be another priority target for Boston. Fresh off of a stellar campaign, rumors are circulating that the Padres may be in line to lose several key players: Snell and Juan Soto are in this company. Adding Snell and retaining Paxton would give the Red Sox a formidable one-two-three punch with Brayan Bello expected to embark on a breakout season. 

Jordan Montgomery is an under-the-radar pitcher that may sneakily end up connected to Boston. Montgomery, a longtime starter for the Pinstripes (Yankees), has been on the come-up in the past months and is coming off of a World Series title with the Texas Rangers. Adding Montgomery would likely be significantly cheaper than signing Snell or Yamamoto, and adds championship pedigree to a team looking to return to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2018. 

In terms of batting, quality players come few and far between in this season’s free agent class. However, a great slugger may be available for trade. 

Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins would provide a much needed volt to a team that, at times last season, looked all but deceased. Perhaps the worst-kept secret in the MLB currently is that the Minnesota Twins are looking to shed payroll and are willing to part with several above average players currently rostered, a source confirmed. Polanco, who slashed .255/.335/.454 this past season, appeared in only 80 games but still managed over a dozen home runs and over three dozen runs batted in. Polanco is due around ten million dollars next season and it is believed that it will take a package of cash and prospects to get the infielder out of Minnesota.

Regardless of what happens, back-to-back seasons of irrelevance in which the team might as well have stopped playing in September should ultimately leave Boston with a hungry stomach and an angst for a return to relevance.

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