All eyes are on Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow in his first offseason with the Boston Red Sox. There's a lot of work to do given that the team is coming off back-to-back 78-84 campaigns, putting putting pressure on Breslow to help restore the franchise to its former glory.
After several players underperformed in 2023, it's clear that the fat must be trimmed this winter. Fortunately, the free-agent market offers a variety of options to help Boston get back on track once April rolls around.
With that in mind, here are three Red Sox players who must be replaced by free-agent signings.
3 Red Sox Who Must Be Replaced in Free Agency
1. Alex Verdugo
At this point, Red Sox fans would be shocked if Alex Verdugo is back on the 40-man roster next season.
It isn't like the veteran outfielder was awful this past season, though. While he wasn't healthy, Verdugo still managed to record 13 home runs and 54 RBIs with 45 walks while slashing .264/.324/.421 across 142 games.
The disappointment stems from Verdugo's off-field issues. The 27-year-old was benched by manager Alex Cora twice in a two-month stretch — once for failing to hustle during a game and a second time for showing up late to Fenway Park. That's just unacceptable behavior from a seven-year pro.
There's always a chance that Verdugo could be more disciplined going forward, but I'd rather not take the risk. The Red Sox need to rebuild the locker room culture from the ground up to become a serious contender again, which means replacing Verdugo with a more team-oriented player is a must.
Otherwise, we run the risk of Chaim Bloom's mistakes continuing to haunt the franchise long after he's gone.
With trade specutation only increasing as the offseason continues, Verdugo's might be shipped out of Boston sooner rather than later.