3. Will Contend: They’re up and coming
As far as last-place teams go, the Red Sox are pretty good. They have a young emerging core with some good foundational pieces to build around, so they’re really only a few big moves away from contending again.
Boston had one of the best lineups in baseball this year, and that group could be even better next year. They barely got anything from Trevor Story this year, while Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida both experienced the usual rookie growing pains. If they can avoid those and Story stays healthy, this is a top-10 offense.
Solving the pitching and defense will be harder, but not impossible. As mentioned, there are plenty of arms on the market this winter, so the Red Sox just need to sign some of them. Not playing people out of position and acquiring a good-fielding shortstop would also go a long way towards improving the defense.
Boston also boasts one of the best farm systems in baseball (according to some publications, at least), so help is on the way. Top prospects Marcelo Mayer (shortstop), Kyle Teel (catcher) and Roman Anthony (outfielder) all reached Double-A in 2023 and could arrive in the majors at some point in 2024. Ceddanne Rafaela and Wilyer Abreu could also step into full-time roles after making promising debuts in 2023.
The next wave of Red Sox talent is coming, but is it good enough? Here are two reasons why we still won’t be able to contend next year.