Thoughts on the Boston Red Sox for when the MLB lockout ends

Boston Red Sox first baseman Kyle Schwarber (18) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox first baseman Kyle Schwarber (18) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox still have work to do after the lockout so here are a few thoughts on what might happen after the lockout ends. That assumes it does end, of course.

Chaim Bloom, Boston’s Chief Baseball Officer, made some moves before the lockout and brought in a few players. Reactions were mixed.

Let’s take a look at a couple of them and then speculate on who might fit subsequently into a roster that came two games short of a World Series appearance in 2021.

Boston Red Sox shore up their rotation

The Sox needed additional starting pitching and Bloom moved bring some more arms in. He signed former New York Yankee James Paxton to a one-year $10M contract. That’s big bucks for a reclamation project.

Paxton had Tommy John surgery after throwing just 1.1 innings last season, and his availability for the upcoming season isn’t exactly set in stone. To put $10 million down on damaged goods is a big risk for Bloom and the opportunity cost is high. That money could have been invested in a more sure thing. More will be written on that later.

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The Sox also signed Rich Hill, the venerable soon-to-be 42-year-old lefty to a one-year $5M deal. Hill just keeps on rolling along and pitching well wherever he seems to stop off.

He started 31 games for the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets last season with a 3.86 ERA. That’s not too shabby for a 41-year-old.

He’ll be a back of the rotation type guy, but he’ll likely be better than the guys in those spots last season. Yet again, the question for the Sox and to Mr. Bloom is, could that combined $15 million plus have been put to better use elsewhere?

The thought here is that it could have. But woe to those who question Mr. Bloom. Do so at your own risk of eating a big plate of crow later on. We’ll see.

The Boston Red Sox shake up their outfield

Chaim Bloom rolled the dice big-time in trading a very productive hitter, Hunter Renfroe, and his 31 home runs and 96 RBI’s to the Milwaukee Brewers to bring back Jackie Bradley Jr. and a couple of prospects. This one doesn’t sit too well here.

Renfroe was a nice hitter for Boston and his 16 outfield assists were superb. His other metrics weren’t so hot evidently. Who cares?

Sorry, but this space isn’t buying this move. Renfroe can hit, fit nicely in the red hose, and could throw a guy out from deep right field. He delivered in two solid areas. He shouldn’t have been dealt.

This looks like a move for a move’s sake, didn’t seem to make much sense at all, and Bradley can’t hit, unless you think a .163 batting average cuts the mustard.

The other move is a non-move before the lockout and that’s where the opportunity cost of throwing a combined $15M at one questionably healthy pitcher and another 41-year-old has to be called into question (as well as Bradley’s big $9.5 million salary on the books for 2022.) Combine those three salaries, and that’s enough to buy a top starting pitcher like, say, Marcus Stroman.

The Chicago Cubs signed Stroman to a three-year, $71M deal. The move the Sox should have made would have been to sign Stroman, but bringing in those three costly players prevented them from making such a move. You should take the top guy anytime, especially on only a 3-year deal. Bloom dropped the ball on this big-time.

And lastly, let’s talk about the player who this space feels is a perfect fit in Boston. He showed up when it counted last season, and has some versatility to boot. That’s Kyle Schwarber.

Would he be an all-time David Ortiz-like fit in Boston? Unlikely. Who ever will be that again? But would he be a top contributor to a pennant contender? He absolutely would.

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Schwarber is in his prime and he seemed to enjoy his time in Boston, and fans felt the same way. He wants three years (again, a sweet spot contractually) and $60M. He’s worth every penny. It’s a no-brainer all day long. If Schwarber isn’t in a Red Sox uniform on opening day, then Bloom will have dropped a huge bowling ball on his big toe for certain.

So there are a few thoughts on the pre-and post-lockout scenarios. What do you think the Boston Red Sox should/should have done? We’d like to hear.