Merry almost Christmas and happy holidays to everyone! This offseason has been quite boring so far, so there isn’t much to talk about. As a result people are filling the time by writing fictional trade pieces. The piece in question ran on MLB.com yesterday and frankly made me very angry. It suggested that the Red Sox could trade Xander Bogaerts for what amounted to a bag of balls from the Phillies.
Matt and I then decided to spend the majority of this episode looking at the Red Sox roster position by position to dispel the notion that this team ought to consider hard selling. Let’s take a cursory look of how each position stacks up:
C- Christian Vázquez: A player they can have under contract at a reasonable rate through 2022
1B- Bobby Dalbec and Triston Casas: Two of the Red Sox top five prospects with the latter being their consensus number one guy. He could be ready by the end of 2021 or early 2022. All of these guys you control for years.
2B-Chrstian Arroyo and Jeter Downs: This position is a little bit more in question, but as with first base, it’s nice to have your consensus number two prospect in the system at a position of extreme need. Maybe a veteran is needed here in the short-term, but Downs is under team control for six years.
SS- Xander Bogaerts: He is the franchise. Lock him up to a deal for all the years. He is under contract until at least 2022.
3B- Rafael Devers: In my eyes the second most important player on this roster. On the team until at least 2023.
OF- Alex Verdugo, Andrew Benintendi, Hunter Renfroe, and Jarren Duran: This is the position group with the most questions. Verdugo is a building block and under team control until 2024. Benintendi can be under contract until 2022, Renfroe until 2023, and Duran until six years after he makes his debut. Even doing nothing at all with this group it is serviceable for the near future.
DH- J.D. Martinez: Martinez is extremely likely to opt in for his last year in 2022, but if he rebounds this year then his contract is just fine. This is still likely to be one of the better DH situations around baseball.
Rotation- Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Nick Pivetta, and ???: This is the area most in need of addressing. By doing nothing with the offense it will at least be solid through at least 2022. The same cannot be said of this rotation. Sale should be good again and can be under contract through 2025. Rodriguez is in his walk year and needs to prove he is healthy. Eovaldi has been effective, but oft injured, and he has two years left on his deal. Houck and Pivetta are controlled through 2026 and 2024 respectively, but neither is a known quantity at this point in the rotation.
It is pretty clear to me that this team needs to address pitching and make minor moves around the roster. If they sign Jackie Bradley Jr. to a two- or three-year deal as a bridge to Duran they will put themselves in excellent shape. If they sign a César Hernández or Kolten Wong to a two-year deal they can do the same with second base on their way to Jeter Downs. Nothing except potentially a Mitch Moreland-type part-time guy is needed at 1B.
Finally, the rotation is where the most time and resources need to be spent in 2021 and 2022. The Red Sox are planning to hit this position this year and see how their current crop of starters plays in 2021. They are rumored to be connected to Tomoyuki Sugano, Jake Odorizzi, and Corey Kluber. If one of those works out this year they will be in much better shape headed into a loaded 2022 pitching class that features many high end options.
The bottom line is this team is too good even in its current state not to be competitive by 2022 and needs to keep the core together and supplement with free agent pitching to make it work.
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