Boston Red Sox are at offseason crossroads again

BOSTON, MA - JULY 13: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox during the third inning at Fenway Park on July 13, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 13: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox during the third inning at Fenway Park on July 13, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /

Offseasons for the Boston Red Sox and any major league sports team are the foundation for the entire season. Fans who neglect things like the draft in the NBA and NFL and free agency in all team sports are missing the point.

Championship squads are shaped like clay in the offseason when the general manager makes decisions that will decide what happens that season and beyond.

The Red Sox 2022 offseason is well underway and Chaim Bloom, the team’s Chief Baseball Officer, is putting together his offering. For many if not most observers, things are not looking very rosy. Mr. Bloom still has some time to stir the waters but not a lot.

Based on the budget he’s allocated by his penurious absentee ownership and his own decision-making will go the fortunes of the 2023 version of the floundering Boston Red Sox.

The Boston Red Sox have to move quickly or be bound for the AL East cellar again

To date, Bloom has lost long-time shortstop Xander Bogaerts to free agency. This was no surprise. The team knew he could and likely would opt out of his contract if not re-signed. He wasn’t, and he did. He’s now a Padre.

This space had few issues with that decision. First, Bogaerts’ 11-year contract as a 30-year-old player is ludicrous, especially when it’s accompanied by $285M.

The current case of another Sox All-Star Rafael Devers is different. Devers is 26 years old. To shell out a 10-year contract at big bucks to Devers makes sense especially since he can slot into a DH role later on. The Sox should sign him. You pay for the best and he’s not only their best but one of the best in baseball.

The Boston Red Sox should sign Rafael Devers or trade him for top major-league talent

Boston Red Sox
Rafael Devers. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

Alternatively, and not optimally, if they don’t sign him now, and recent reports say the two sides are “galaxies apart” on a contract, he should be dealt now. But there’s a huge caveat there.

If he won’t or can’t sign Devers, Bloom has to replace him with top major league talent as in proven and All-star level. He should forget trading for prospects. Period.

Bloom’s last blockbuster deal was a flop. He traded Mookie Betts one of the best players in baseball for three players. Another miss like the Betts debacle and Bloom will be looking for a job.

The best of the three, Alex Verdugo is an average major league outfielder. The other two were prospects and are worse. Connor Wong is a backup-level catcher with the Sox. The other, Jeter Downs, is no longer with the team. The trade was a disaster. Bloom has to win any Devers deal.

The best option (and it may not be available but it’s worth exploring) is to trade for the Angels pitcher/outfielder extraordinaire, Shohei Ohtani (like Devers, also a free agent after next season) in a sign-and-trade-only deal. That means parting with megabucks to the tune of probably, 500M for 10 years.

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The dollar-pinching Red Sox ownership is highly unlikely to sanction that type of deal for certain. But if Bloom can get it done, go for it.

The Boston Red Sox are on the wrong track

Rather than paying for stars, Bloom overpays for the oldest decent players he can find. If you add up all the mediocrity dollars, you’ll find money enough to pay a really top player or two. That’s the opportunity cost and Bloom has it backward.

The latest signing is a decent ballplayer, 38-year-old Justin Turner on a two-year $22M contract. He’s been a solid Dodger for almost a decade but last season he hit .278 with only 13 HRs and 81 RBIs.

Those are decent numbers but are they worth reportedly as much as $15M for one year? Hardly. As presidential candidate Ronald Reagan once said in a debate with President Jimmy Carter, “There he goes again.”

Next. Boston Red Sox make another good signing in Justin Turner. dark

Bloom continues to dish out significant cash to decent but not-star players and hopes to strike gold. He probably won’t, and again, add up those dollars and you can get a top signing or two like the one he just passed up, Dansby Swanson.

This is a losing strategy. In addition, Bloom has spent significantly on the bullpen. No problem there, it stunk in 2022. But the issue is they won’t have any leads to protect with the weak-hitting lineup and poor starting pitching he has now. First things first, you know.

All this adds up to one thing, unless there’s a change of strategy (if there actually is a strategy), it will be another trip to last place in the AL East. Where is Dave Dombrowski when we need him?