Any self-respecting Red Sox fan knows that the club must undergo serious changes this offseason. Barring a miraculous finish down the stretch, Boston is on pace to miss the MLB postseason for the fourth time since winning the 2018 World Series.
The need for change became increasingly clear when the organization canned Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom on Thursday in a move that was a long time coming. If the Red Sox are going to become a force again, whoever replaces him has tough choices to make this offseason.
As is the case with the other 29 MLB clubs, Boston will have to decide which players stay and go this winter. Several pending free agents must be dealt with, leaving time to tell who’ll be back in Beantown next spring.
In the meantime, here are two upcoming free agents the Red Sox need to let walk and another two who must stick around.
2 Red Sox Free Agents Who Must Walk
Corey Kluber, RHP
The Red Sox attempted to give their starting rotation some depth by signing veteran right-handed starter Corey Kluber last December.
Even though he was coming off a down year (by his standards), there was optimism across the fanbase by the move. After all, Kluber is a two-time American League Cy Young winner and a three-time All-Star. If he could find a way to return to form, Boston’s rotation was set.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to find out that the 37-year-old was merely a shell of his former self. Despite earning the coveted Opening Day assignment, Kluber pitched to an underwhelming 2-6 record in his first nine starts, tallying a 6.26 ERA while surrendering 11 homers, 29 earned runs, 46 hits and 18 walks over just 41 2/3 innings of work.
In an attempt to get him back on track, manager Alex Cora moved Kluber to the bullpen where the stakes were lower. He couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, though, posting a 9.45 ERA in six relief appearances before being shelved with a shoulder injury.
With the Red Sox needing to decide if they want to pick up Kluber’s $18 million team option for 2024, it’s a no-brainer that they shouldn’t. Comebacks are a part of sports, but they should let a possible rehabilitation project be someone else’s problem.
Kluber looks washed and clearly isn’t the pitcher he once was. There’s no reason to spend that much money on him when he could be just as bad as he was this year, if not worse.
If he’s back with Boston next season, many Red Sox fans will have some serious questions.