After a brutal stretch to close out August, the Red Sox’s already slim playoff hopes are essentially finished for 2023. September will once again be meaningless for as the team prepares to miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
With Boston’s season effectively over, fans are already looking ahead to the offseason. The Red Sox will have some money to spend, but they also have some holes to fill if they want to contend in 2024.
While the upcoming free agent class is pretty thin, there’s still some high-end talent for Chaim Bloom to pursue. Here are three free agents he should target this winter.
3 Free Agents Red Sox Should Sign
1. Julio Urias
If there’s one thing the Red Sox need in 2024, it’s starting pitching. The lack of quality arms in the rotation was the team’s fatal flaw in 2023, as Bloom failed to effectively replace Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Wacha and Rich Hill after they left in free agency.
Boston went through a long period of time in July and August where it only had three healthy starting pitchers because of injuries. This led to the bullpen getting burned out and ultimately collapsing in August.
With James Paxton likely to leave in free agency, the Red Sox must sign at least one starting pitcher, if not more. They can’t afford to be so shorthanded in the rotation again.
My top choice would be Julio Urias, who’s relatively young for a free agent at 27. He’s also left-handed like Paxton, making him a natural replacement.
He’s also really freaking good. While his numbers took a step back in 2023, he was a 20-game winner in 2021 and led the National League in ERA in 2022. When he’s right, Urias is one of the best pitchers in baseball and would immediately slot in as the ace of Boston’s staff.
Given his age and track record, Urias will command a long, expensive contract, but likely with opt-outs so he can test the market again in a few years. That’s okay, though, because he’s worth the investment.
Bloom has largely refused to spend on starting pitching during his tenure, but that needs to change if the Sox want to contend in 2024.