Boston Red Sox: The pros and cons of lethargic offseason

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 3: Garrett Whitlock #72 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Fenway Park on September 3, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 3: Garrett Whitlock #72 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Fenway Park on September 3, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox 2022 offseason is well-underway as they continue head-scratching moves that diminish an already lousy ball club.

To date, they’ve jettisoned one of their two best players, Xander Bogaerts, and allowed several other contributors like Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, and J.D. Martinez to go without adding much to replace them.

The team desperately needs power-hitting after kicking two excellent players from 2021 to the curb, Hunter Renfroe and Kyle Schwarber who collectively contributed 75 home runs to their new teams last season. Brilliant.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons thus far this offseason where titles are constructed and see how they balance out.

Boston Red Sox pros and cons this offseason

The Red Sox off-season hasn’t been a total disaster. They’ve signed two ostensibly better but older receivers Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin. They can’t help but improve the disastrous bullpen of 2022.

In addition, they added an outfielder, Masataka Yoshida from the Japanese Professional Baseball League. While some shouted “overpaid”, the player led that league in hitting twice in the past three years and finished second last season.

If you’re going to take a risk, take it on a player who excels in his league. They did and it was worth the gamble. That’s what big teams can afford to do and should do. No problem there.

Yet, the overarching “pro” at least for the club’s absentee ownership is the ostensible salary savings. Depending on the remainder of the offseason, they could line their already really deep pockets with even more cash. Good for them, but, bad for Red Sox Nation.

Now onto the more lengthy and substantial negative moves.

The Boston Red Sox have worsened as a team

Boston Red Sox
Former Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

First, the Red Sox again let a major player go, this time in free agency, for essentially nothing. That would be All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts got a ridiculous 11-year deal for $285M. But if he couldn’t have been signed last off-season, he should have been traded. The team needs to secure another top player to take his place or otherwise use the funds effectively. Prognosis: Unlikely.

To date, they’ve done little. It’s unclear who will man the middle infield this season. Trevor Story, a true shortstop who played second in 2022, could be moved there if his arm health allows.

Who’ll play second in that case or short if Story can’t is a mystery. They can move Kike Hernandez to second and play Story at short or acquire another player.

The team has also lost two starting pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill from an already challenged staff. Michael Wacha, their best starter in 2022 is also a free agent. Expect some five-plus ERA starters, a specialty of Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom. to drop in.

The outfield added a potentially good player in Yoshida. But if Hernandez moves to second, they’ll have another hole out there. They’d have only Yoshida and Alex Verdugo, just an average major-league outfielder there.

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Verdugo is the only decent remnant from one of the worst baseball trades not only in Red Sox, but also in MLB history, the Mookie Betts trade to LA.

Except for the aforementioned Yoshida and top starting pitcher Garrett Whitlock, the cupboard is bare of any excitement except for one shining star, All-Star Rafael Devers.

But his situation could be a repeat of Bogaerts’, and likely will be unless he is signed this offseason to a mega deal. That’s unlikely, but fans can hope. Due to the sustainability-minded (read: penurious) ownership, if no deal emanates soon, he’ll go too in free agency after next season.

The Red Sox need to trade for a top outfield slugger. It will cost them dearly but they really have no choice now.

Red Sox pitching rotation and catching woes

The rotation is worse than last season and full of question marks like Chris Sale, Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck and newly signed pitcher Corey Kluber. They need another solid starting pitcher or two. And while they’re at it, the Red Sox need to secure a good catcher.

Next. Boston Red Sox: 3 areas of optimism for the 2023 MLB season. dark

Having jettisoned Christian Vazquez last season, they are left with only a remnant of the Betts deal, Connor Wong, and Reese McGuire. Not much to get excited about there.

The word “excited” is one that resonates, and not in a good way with the Boston Red Sox. Not only is the team worse than that which settled comfortably into last place in 2022, but it has little excitement to offer whatsoever, absent Devers.

So, the outgrowth of all this is simple, the 2023 version of the team as it stands today, will be a dull and boring last-place team in 2023. Happy New Year, Red Sox Nation!