On Wednesday, we finally got our first big move from new Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow. The Red Sox and their archrival New York Yankees agreed on a trade sending Sox outfielder to the Bronx in exchange for three right-handed relievers: Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert and Nicholas Judice.
The Red Sox' return from the Verdugo trade seems insignificant right now, and reeks a little too Chaim Bloom-y for Boston fans' liking, but there is still plenty of time for Breslow to architect a final product for Opening Day on March 28.
This is Breslow's first offseason in charge of a front office, so there is a lot of uncertainty looming over how he will philosophically build this team. Breslow's pitching background and the Red Sox' irrefutable need to improve their pitching are a conducive match, but little has come to fruition to this point.
The MLB hot stove, as expected, has heated up with MLB Winter Meetings taking place this week. "The Red Sox have expressed interest" line is easily scoffed at now by Sox fans, with the team repeatedly linked to free agents in past seasons while failing to land any real premier talent.
Will the Breslow era signify an end of this narrative? Or will it just be more of the same from the Red Sox front office?
With Verdugo out the door, here are a few more Red Sox that Breslow might send packing.
3. Reese McGuire/Connor Wong
Word on the street is that the Red Sox are infatuated with Martin Maldonado to command their pitching staff from behind the dish, per Buster Olney. A Maldonado signing would have ramifications for the two current catchers on Boston's roster: Connor Wong and Reese McGuire.
"As the Red Sox move into the Craig Breslow era with a focus on pitching, they have interest in veteran catcher Martin Maldonado, renowned for his handling of pitchers."- Buster Olney
Maldonado and Red Sox manager Alex Cora also have a "longstanding friendship" as both are from Puerto Rico.
Maldonado's weak offensive production (he hit a measly .191 last season and is a career .207 hitter in 13 seasons) might make the Red Sox more inclined to go with the better offensive option of the two to create a healthier balance.
McGuire is likely the better bat, but Wong was the team's preferred choice behind the place last season and is also the better defender by advanced defensive metrics. Wong's athleticism gives Boston the flexibility to play him in the field as well, which could potentially give him an advantage over McGuire.
It isn't an immediate roster issue, but Boston selected catcher Kyle Teel with the 14th overall pick in last summer's draft and he climbed as high as Double-A Portland in only a few months, hitting .363 across all levels. Teel won the Buster Posey Award in 2023, awarded to the best catcher in NCAA Division One. Don't be surprised if he's called up at some point next season and forces another catcher out.
A Maldonado signing in Boston makes sense because his esteemed ability to handle a pitching staff (which Breslow will likely be drawn to) and his connection with Cora. The Red Sox won't carry three catchers on their roster, and either Wong or McGuire will be out the door with the acquisition of Maldonado.