Option decisions begin to roll in
With the World Series having concluded, the first order of business for the offseason is going to be for option decisions to be made. Teams and players have until five days after the World Series to make the decision as to whether or not they will hit free agency, and those decisions have yet to be made (publicly, at least) for J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, and Christian Vázquez. But on Thursday we started to get some of those decisions in. Here are players who will be hitting free agency after either they declined an option or the team did. (Or, in some cases, both.)
- Nick Castellanos, DH/OF
- Avisaíl García, OF
- Jake Diekman, LH RP
- Andrew Chafin, LH RP
- Brett Gardner, OF
- Darren O’Day, RH RP
- Kevin Pillar, OF
- Adam Duvall, OF
- Carlos Martinez, RH RP
- Tyler Clippard, RH RP
- Matt Carpenter, 1B
Although most of these names are not great, you can make some case for pretty much all of these players to be of interest for the Red Sox. Most of the focus for Boston’s DH spot has been around Martinez and Schwarber, and for good reason, but if both of those fall through Castellanos is another very good hitter who could fill that role. He’s coming off a season with a 140 wRC+, and he’s finished with a mark of at least 120 in three of the last four years, with the only time missing that mark coming in the shortened 2020 campaign.
He would be the biggest impact from these players, but others could make some sense as well. On the outfield side, the Red Sox could be looking for depth, especially if they look to trade one of their current four, which seems possible. Gardner would probably be the one who makes the least amount of sense, and not because he’s a career Yankee but rather because he hits left-handed and finding a righty to counterbalance Alex Verdugo and/or Jarren Duran could make sense. García and Duvall are both limited to the corners but are above-average bats while Pillar is a defense-first player and obviously familiar with the organization having spent the first half of 2020 in Boston.
And then on the pitching side, a few interesting relievers enter the free agent market. The two lefties are probably the two best, with Diekman being in the Darwinzon Hernandez mold with a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks, while Chafin is typically seen as a lefty specialist but he can pitch against some righties if need be. Martinez is a former top prospect who never really put it together with St. Louis, and while he’s started most of his career his best season came as a reliever. Clippard and O’Day would be solid veteran additions, though with limited upside.
Arizona Fall League Update
It was a quiet day down in the desert, and that goes for the whole Scottsdale lineup, not just the Red Sox cohort. The Scorpions were shut out for the game and managed just five singles for damage. Boston had three starters in the lineup for this one, with Jeter Downs starting at DH and going 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Triston Casas, meanwhile, started at first and went 1-4 with a single while Christian Koss started at second base and went 1-3 with a single.