On Monday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski met with the media to discuss a range of topics relating to the Red Sox and their offseason. The President of Baseball Operations for the Red Sox is, generally speaking, more honest than most front office executives. Still, we shouldn’t take what he says at face value. There is always a bit of truth-stretching here. For example, during this meeting with the media Dombrowski said that the team only plans to add one bat. In fact, he was incredulous about the idea of adding more than one. While I wouldn’t say it’s a guarantee the Red Sox add more than one power bat, there are certainly ways to do it. Presumably, if they did go with a second bat, it would be a cheaper one. Perhaps a more proven fourth outfielder/DH to go with a Hosmer signing. Or, alternatively, someone who can fill in at second base in Dustin Pedroia’s absence. Maybe the miss all of their first base targets and go cheap there along with J.D. Martinez. There are a lot of options that haven’t really been discussed much yet, so let’s take a look at some of those hitters.
Adam Duvall, OF, Reds
Duvall has been made available by the Reds, unlike the Joey Votto trade scenario we all dream about. Duvall would not be as exciting nor would he have the same impact, but he is a very solid power hitter who could play an interesting role on the 2018 Red Sox. He’s not a great all-around hitter and certainly should be the highlight of the offseason. He doesn’t walk enough and strikes out a little too much to make a major impact at the plate. That being said, he has back-to-back 30 homer seasons and a career Isolated Power of .240. I can’t imagine the Reds would be asking for too much back for the 29-year-old who is pretty much limited to left field or DH. Still, he could serve a similar role to Bryce Brentz if the Red Sox only sign a first baseman and want a little more proven power. He’d be able to spell the outfielders while also spelling Hanley Ramirez here and there if they want to avoid that vesting option.
Ryan Schimpf, 2B, Padres
There aren’t many players around the league who are as interesting as Schimpf, and I can guarantee that there would be a ton of outcry if the Red Sox were to acquire him. The Padres infielder strikes out at one of the highest rates in the league and combines that with consistently low batting averages on balls in play. However, he also draws a ton of walks and hits for truly impressive power. The end result can still be distressing — he posted an 88 wRC+ last season — but if he can keep his batting average above .200 he is a legitimately underrated hitter. After being demoted to Triple-A for a portion of 2017 he should come relatively cheap, and the Red Sox would be able to use him as a right-handed Pedroia replacement and then someone who can move to the bench/DH when the Red Sox veteran returns.
Brandon Moss, 1B, Royals
It appears the Royals will be looking at a complete teardown, and Moss is one of the players that makes the most sense for the Red Sox. Like everyone else on this list, he’d be underwhelming as the only addition but makes sense as a complementary piece. Say the Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez, then decide they can’t live with Ramirez at first base. In that scenario, they could trade for Moss for a very low price and put him in a platoon with Sam Travis or Bryce Brentz if they want to give him a first baseman’s glove. Moss is like Schimpf in that a low batting average limits his ceiling, but he’s posted an ISO above .200 in five of the last six years and has a good chance of improving upon his disappointing 2017.
Matt Adams, 1B, Free Agent
There were plenty of trade rumors around Adams a few weeks ago before the Braves decided to non-tender him, and there were no reports showing the Red Sox were interested. That could change now that it would only cost them a relatively small amount of money. As with Moss, this would be someone I’d envision them signing along with a Martinez-type and is another left-handed first baseman. Adams has been a little better over the last few years than he gets credit for, and while he’s certainly not a star-caliber first baseman he is a consistent power threat who could potentially be even better in a platoon role.
Mike Napoli, 1B, Free Agents
Hey, we know him! The Red Sox’ old friend is back on the open market this winter and shouldn’t have an overly aggressive group of teams fighting for his services. Napoli isn’t the same hitter he once was as his career comes to a close and his negatives start to overshadow the positives. Amidst all that, though, Napoli can still draw a few walks and more importantly he can still hit plenty of homers. As a right-handed bat he’s not as ideal of a target, but he knows what it’s like to call Fenway home and would add some pop to the bottom of the lineup.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Cardinals
Here we likely have the most expensive player on this list, but he could be expendable for the Cardinals. St. Louis has a bit of a crowded infield and Gyorko doesn’t have an everyday role for them. Granted, he wouldn’t have one in Boston, either, but the Red Sox could be more motivated to carry a talented backup infielder. Gyorko could take over for Pedroia in his absence before turning into a utility player who plays a bit more often than usual. He can play all over the infield, and at the plate he’s been a .200+ ISO hitter in each of the last two years and smashed 30 homers in 2016. This is the best target on this list, but he’ll also have the most teams pining for his services.
At the end of the day, the Red Sox probably will only stick to adding one bat, whether it be a DH or a first baseman. They have the roster pieces to make it work beyond that and could feasibly form a contender with just one more move. That being said, there are also ways to add a second bat and that could add a little more reliable power to the lineup. Of the names listed above, Duvall is likely my favorite target but each player has their merits.