The MLB regular season is drawing closer every day, as we are officially in spring training. The nine-time world champion Boston Red Sox are looking to improve upon last year’s campaign, which ended up with a last-place finish in the division. Today, we’ll comb through the Red Sox’s hectic slate of offseason moves and evaluate whether or not this team has any hope of a deep postseason run.
Let’s start with the bad stuff. Obviously, it’s not good to let two of your franchise’s greatest offensive stars walk out in the offseason.
Dynamic shortstop Xander Bogaerts leaves the Red Sox after winning two World Series championships with the team. He signed a contract with San Diego after he reportedly felt insulted by Boston’s initial contract offer to him.
Big power bat JD Martinez has also left the team to become a Los Angeles Dodger. Martinez is coming off of a colder season, but it still hurts to lose two offensive staples for no return when you could have traded them last offseason and rebuilt.
Three starting pitchers also left this offseason. Nate Eovaldi, Michael Wacha and Rich Hill all departed in free agency, leaving a large void in the starting rotation.
Other players including Eric Hosmer, Matt Barnes, Christian Vasquez and Tommy Pham either left in free agency or were dealt by the team for minimal returns.
On top of the hemorrhaging of star players, Boston must, at least temporarily, replace middle infielder Trevor Story as he will miss a considerable amount of time after needing elbow surgery.
The Red Sox have attempted to plug some holes with free-agency pickups. Among them are two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and former NLCS MVP third baseman Justin Turner. Both of these players are renowned stars, but also significantly past their primes. This could signal that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is still prepared to contend this year, rather than commit to rebuilding.
Boston also picked up notable veteran relievers Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin, as well as a star outfielder from Japan’s NPB, Masataka Yoshida.
The biggest highlight of this offseason must be the 10-year contract extension of Rafael Devers. Widely considered to be among the top five players in today’s game, Devers is an absolute machine at the plate and plays pretty alright at the hot corner.
Red Sox fans have been dying to see the team retain a big star. After seeing both Mookie Betts and Bogaerts walk out on the team, fans are excited to see the front office make a long-term move on a player.
The jury is still out on whether or not the Boston Red Sox will contend this season. Losing a lot of the core often doesn’t bode well, but for Boston, this could be an “out with the old, in with the new” situation.
We shall see whether Boston’s patchwork of pickups can work alongside key pieces like Devers to bring this team back into deep playoff contention in the American League.