This past week, we asked you to tell us what your priorities were for the remainder of the offseason. With only a couple of weeks left until pitchers and catchers report and preparation for the season begins in earnest, time is running out for free agents to make a decision and for teams to trade players before camp breaks.
Moves can still be made during spring training of course, but those players are often a little off on their timeline and typically tend to be depth signings rather than major additions to an arsenal.
What did OTM’s posters think?
What Comes Next - Bosoxsince89
What they said: Chaim Bloom has admitted the Red Sox are not yet done making moves. With only a couple weeks left, what will they do? First, they need either a right fielder or a center fielder, depending on what you think of Alex Verdugo in center field. Secondly, they need one more bullpen arm. Additionally, they may want to improve their starting pitching and pick up an infielder who hits from the left side. After doing some math, we end up with 12 million or so dollars to play with (after moving and/or cutting players). The players brought in to address the needs are Kevin Pillar, Brad Miller, Collin McHugh, and Brandon Workman.
I agree with one of these points. I definitely think they need one more outfielder. Hunter Renfroe is a platoon player or a fourth outfielder who you use when someone needs a day off. He is not a starting caliber player for any team that fancies itself a title contender. Maybe the Red Sox aren’t a title contender. They could at least try to look like one in this respect.
There are still some decent outfielders on the market that would be marked improvements over Renfroe. Here is a list of free agent outfielders I’d rather start over Renfroe in 2021: Josh Reddick, Marcell Ozuna, Brock Holt, Jake Marisnick, Nick Markakis, Kevin Pillar, Adam Duvall, and Jackie Bradley Jr.. Marwin González if you think he can play right field as he has done in the past may be worth a look too, as he may also provide a good option at first base. Are all of these names better hitters or fielders than Renfroe? No, not all of them are. Some of them I just think are better overall players. Some of them I just like more and would be fun to root for if we aren’t going to make winning a priority.
And I really think the key thing when looking at any outfield option is to avoid any contract longer than two years. I don’t think the Red Sox need to get a guy for four to five years, like Jackie Bradley Jr is reportedly looking for. With Jarren Duran (and further in the future, Gilberto Jimenez) on the rise and on the precipice of bursting into the majors, it becomes a consideration to keep a spot open for him. In that respect, I believe the best fit really is someone who hits righties well and can platoon with Renfroe for a year. It may be heresy but I actually think someone like Brett Gardner or Nick Markakis makes sense for the Sox. Both are on the decline and struggled last year, but that’s why they will be affordable. Better, they complement Renfroe nicely. Renfroe hits lefties, and Gardner/Markakis hit righties.
If Renfroe somehow surprises, you can let him get more action, but ultimately, I think the best value for everyone involved is to go with a straight platoon. In a year where contention isn’t the top priority, you can do worse than an outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and a platoon of Hunter Renfroe and either Brett Gardner or Nick Markakis.
On the other hand, I am less convinced with the need for another reliever. I think they actually have all the depth they really need. I’d love to pick up a Trevor Rosenthal type to really lock things down, but I figure that the Red Sox don’t want to go above the luxury tax threshold right now and will play it cheap with minor league signings. I think that as it stands, they have a full bullpen, plus with Colten Brewer, Eduard Bazardo, Stephen Gonsalves, and Durbin Feltman, among others, on the periphery as the primary depth options. There is also the contingent of starters who could either force others to the bullpen, or come to the pen themselves as a temporary reinforcement, such as Bryan Mata, Tanner Houck, and Connor Seabold. It’s also worth giving Marcus Walden another chance, who was a forgotten man in the pen this offseason. All told, I actually feel ok about the bullpen depth.
I’m also not convinced we really need much more on the infield (I can live with Michael Chavis for another year if we’re not going to make winning a priority) or in the rotation. While I would like to add another starting pitcher to the mix, my belief that the Red Sox wish to stay below the tax makes me think anything the Sox do will be a minor league depth signing. Perhaps a bounce back case, similar to what the Orioles are doing with Felix Hernandez.
The too long, didn’t read version is this: I’d love for the Red Sox to pick up another outfielder. I don’t really think they need any more major-league reinforcements at any other positions, even if they would be beneficial to the 2021 team. The focus should be on 2022 and what best sets up that team to be successful.
Other FanPosts from Around the Site
Rockies Trade - Soxfan893. I wasn’t sure if this was a response to FPF or not, but I’m going to give this a little more exposure, primarily because the Rockies are such an interesting case in today’s game. With the Rockies continually pushing everything that has any talent out the door, could a Trevor Story deal revitalize the Sox? My personal opinion is there’s no way it happens, because the cost will be far greater than it was for Nolan Arenado (Story is a better player, doesn’t have a no-trade clause and also wasn’t involved in a public spat with the general manager) and that’s just not a cost the Red Sox can pay right now. Fun to think about though.
See you all on Friday!