After missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, the Red Sox are heading into a pivotal offseason. While they have a nice young core coming together, they need to make several moves to strengthen the roster and put them over the top.
Boston’s lineup is in pretty good shape, but its biggest need is starting pitching. Fortunately, there are several attractive pitchers on the market this winter, assuming Red Sox ownership is ready to spend money again.
However, the front office needs to make sure it spends wisely and avoid getting bogged down with more bad contracts (looking at you, Chris Sale).
With that in mind, here are three free agents the Red Sox should target this offseason and two they should avoid.
Red Sox Free Agent Targets
1. TARGET: Julio Urias
If you’re going to spend a ton of money on a free agent, the younger the better. That’s especially true for the Red Sox, who should be targeting someone who can supplement their young nucleus for years to come.
That makes Urias a good fit, as he’s relatively young for a free agent. At 27, he should still have several prime years in front of him.
Urias missed some time with injuries this year and saw his numbers dip as a result, but he was one of the best pitchers in baseball when fully healthy in 2021 and 2022, going 37-10 with a 2.57 ERA over 63 starts.
After eight years with the Dodgers, Urias has a ton of experience pitching in the postseason and in a big market. The former ERA champ has been outstanding in October, going 8-3 with a 3.68 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP over 58 2/3 playoff innings. He’s already appeared in two World Series as well and helped Los Angeles win it all in 2020.
The main issue for Urias in 2023 was his home run rate, which soared to a career-worst 1.8 HR/9. If he can bring that back down to his career rate of 1.1 HR/9, he should be fine going forward.
Urias is a Scott Boras client, so he won’t come cheap. He’ll probably demand an opt-out as well, but his age makes him a better investment than a lot of hurlers on the market.