The first offseason of the Craig Breslow era is in full swing. After the Boston Red Sox finished last in the American League East in three of the last four seasons, this offseason is a pivotal moment to see if they can return to their winning ways that have seen them claim four World Series titles in the 21st century.
Many Red Sox fans regarded the Chaim Bloom era as one categorized by bargain shopping and dumpster diving, and an unwillingness on the part of the Red Sox to break out the checkbook in free agency. With Bloom gone and Breslow in, Red Sox fans are anxiously awaiting to see if this will signal a philosophical shift in spending as well.
Free agency will be a strong tell if the Red Sox have a sense of urgency to win and are willing to spend. For Red Sox fans, they might see some familiar faces on the MLB's free agency list. Ironically enough, former Red Sox reliever-turned-Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow will be the one to decide if some of those familiar faces just might make sense for a return to Fenway.
There are already many familiar faces back in Boston calling shots. Manager Alex Cora played for the club from 2005-2008, and Breslow spent parts of five seasons with the club. Former Red Sox captain and catcher Jason Varitek serves as the club's game planning coordinator, while bench coach Ramón Vázquez also suited up for the club in 2005. With the addition of pitching coach Andrew Bailey, who pitched in Boston from 2012-2013, there are no shortage of familiar faces around Fenway.
Will there be more familiar faces in uniform this season? Here are four former Red Sox players that Breslow could consider bringing back to Boston.
1. Eduardo Rodriguez
Southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez spent the first six seasons of his Major League career with the Red Sox (2015-2019, 2021) and was a member of Boston's 2018 World Championship team, starting three playoff games on the way to the Red Sox ninth World Series title.
Rodriguez's best season in a Boston uniform came in his 2019 campaign, when he won 19 games and struck out 213 batters. His performance that year was good enough to earn him a sixth place finish in that year's American League Cy Young voting.
After the 2021 season, Rodriguez signed a lucrative five-year, $77 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. His contract came with an opt-out after the first two seasons, an avenue that Rodriguez elected to pursue in early November. After Rodriguez's decision to enter free agency, rumblings began almost immediately that he might make a return to Fenway Park. Across two seasons in the Motor City, Rodriguez posted an 18-14 record with a 3.59 ERA.
Rodriguez's decision to opt out of the remaining three years and $49 million remaining on his deal with Detroit might suggest that he and his agent feel they can exceed that value on the open market this offseason. The Red Sox should be able to use this to their advantage, as Rodriguez has already tipped his hand on what he expects his contract to look like this offseason. It is a consensus that the Red Sox need help in their rotation (Boston finished in the bottom-third of the MLB in ERA, WHIP, and runs allowed in 2023), and a Rodriguez return could go a long way towards that goal.