2. Will Contend: Boston has money to spend
One of the few positives about the 2023 season was that the Red Sox stayed under the luxury tax, unlike in 2022 when Bloom inexplicably went over. That resets the team’s tax penalties, which means Boston has some money to spend and should be willing to go over in 2024.
This is good news for the Red Sox, because they need to flex their financial muscles if they want to compete again. Their spending was noticeably down during Bloom’s tenure. While many think that was ownership tightening the pursestrings, it was also largely due to Bloom’s unwillingness to pursue star players and inability to sign the ones he wanted. If he had been a better negotiator, Boston’s payroll surely would have been higher.
In any case, this year’s free-agent market is rife with big-name pitchers, which bodes well for Boston. The team desperately needs an ace at the top of its staff and should end up with someone like Aaron Nola, Julio Urias or Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Shohei Ohtani is also available this winter, and while I don’t think the Red Sox should sign him, they certainly could if they wanted to. Before Bloom, the front office was known for splurging on stars like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Pablo Sandoval after disappointing seasons, so don’t be surprised if that happens again.
Boston won a lot when it spent a lot during the Dave Dombrowski years and lost a lot when it spent less during the Bloom years. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there.