Things have not gone according to plan for the Red Sox in the first month of the season, with the team sitting on a 9-13 record as we turn the calendar over to May. The season is certainly not over just 22 games in, but clearly something needs to change. So here at OTM, we’re going to take the impossible route. For this week’s staff roundtable, we are taking the chance to do one thing over from this past offseason, whether it be undoing a deal they did make or making one they didn’t.
It’s been a very short amount of time, obviously, but the big bummer is that they didn’t sign Seiya Suzuki, who hasn’t missed a beat in dominance after moving from Nippon Professional Baseball to MLB. It’s hard to imagine a better for for what the Sox need right now than an incredible outfield hitter, and he was there for the taking, at least in theory. It’s hard to know how seriously the Sox ever took the idea of signing him, or how he was interested in the team, but he’d be perfect.
Hands down I would sign Kyle Schwarber for the deal he got with the Phillies. Sure, J.D. Martinez is signed through this season and there could be a roster crunch but after one year of awkwardness - assuming Martinez or Dalbec isn’t traded in this alternate timeline - Schwarber is the built-in replacement. Maybe this also means Trevor Story isn’t in town (to be clear, I’m not making two moves here and cheating the prompt, just saying that perhaps Schwarber prevents that) which isn’t ideal but with Enrique Hernández on the roster maybe that’s your second baseman. Anyway, as Joe Sheehan says: ball go far, team go far.
It’s still very early, so take this with a grain of salt and all that, but if there was anything the Red Sox didn’t do to sign Seiya Suzuki, I’d like them to go back and do it. While the pitching staff is probably a part of the roster more in need of reinforcements, the Red Sox’s outfield isn’t exactly excellent offensively speaking. The lineup itself hasn’t been that great either, with the Red Sox hitting all of 11 home runs before Thursday’s games, tied for 25th in baseball. While a more dead ball might be partially to blame, it doesn’t account for everything. Meanwhile, Suzuki has already smashed four home runs while posting a 205 wRC+ and a 96th percentile barrel rate. I expect the Red Sox’s lineup to wake up and Suzuki likely won’t sustain his incredible start, but having a hitter with that type of potential in the outfield sure would be nice.
I would have liked to seen the Red Sox hold on to Tim Locastro after they claimed him off waivers from the Yankees in November. Rather than not tender him a contract, it would have been more interesting if Boston held on to Locastro throughout the off-season and had him compete for a roster spot during spring training. While he is coming off an ACL injury, the 29-year-old’s top tool is his speed and it never hurts to have his kind of speed coming off the bench. Now that Locastro is back with the Yankees, it leaves me to wonder what could have been. We’re obviously not talking about anything earth-shattering or the one that got away here, but perhaps Locastro could have thrived as a member of the Red Sox. We may never know.
Seiya Suzuki was linked the Red Sox a lot during the lock out and he seemed like a perfect fit. Sox could have used another outfielder and his bat would have lengthened the lineup even more. Couple Suzuki’s scorching hit start with the Sox offense ice cold start and that’s one I really wish would have happened.
Bayleigh Von Schneider
I’d say the biggest change I would have made to the Red Sox would have been to add one more starter. The Red Sox clearly banked on a healthy Chris Sale for 2022, which as we all know is not the case right now. Until Sale and Paxton are ready to contribute to the 2022 Red Sox rotation, I really wish the Red Sox would have made a trade for Oakland Athletics starter, Frankie Montas.
Seiya Suzuki. I don’t think it’s hindsight to raise an eyebrow at the Red Sox entering the season with only three outfielders; one of those three being a right fielder who seemed to be at the “defensive replacement” stage of his career. The hindsight comes into play now that we know what kind of a player Seiya Suzuki is, an outfielder who could have handled the large area that is right field at Fenway while hitting from day one in the States. Suzuki’s .292/.413/.554 with four homers and 14 RBI in his first 20 games (half of which took place in Chicago ... in April) seems like the kind of bat that would’ve won two or three of these heartbreaker losses that the Red Sox have dealt with over the first month of the season.
The Red Sox biggest mistake was not addressing their glaring need in right field by bringing in Seiya Suzuki. Suzuki has acquitted himself incredibly well so far this season posting an impressive slash line of .292/.413/.554 good for a wRC+ of 170. That is superstar level production from a position where the Red Sox are getting nothing. I mean that too, they Boston right fielders, mostly a platoon of Christian Arroyo and Jackie Bradley Jr., have combined for a slash line of .192/.254/.279 with a 54 wRC+. So instead of being 70 percent above league average production at the position, like Suzuki is, they are 56 percent below league average. This represents a huge miss for a Red Sox offense struggling to score runs.
I kind of figured Suzuki would be the popular choice here, and it’s hard to argue it. He was my top target all winter and he certainly would fill a need right now. But I’ll switch it up and go with Kevin Gausman. The rotation certainly has not been the team’s biggest issue so far this season, but as we look out forward I think the offense should still rebound, but I’m worried about the pitching moving in the other direction. Now I will be honest and say that I was not super on Gausman in the winter, but this is about hindsight, am I right?