Coming off their second last place finish in three years, the Boston Red Sox have a pivotal offseason ahead of them. Several of their top players are also hitting free agency, including Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi. With more than $120 million in salary coming off the books, the Red Sox are expected to be major players in this winter's free-agent market as they look to return to contention in 2023.
While Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has generally shied away from handing out massive contracts (with the exception of Trevor Story), expect him to be more aggressive and show more urgency this offseason. With money to spend and holes to fill, he has the payroll flexibility to significantly re-shape last year's disappointing roster and bring aboard multiple marquee players.
Boston Red Sox Free Agency
1. Xander Bogaerts, SS
One of Bloom's first orders of business should be re-signing Xander Bogaerts, who's expected to opt out of the three years and $60 million remaining on his current contract. Bogaerts is one of the best-hitting shortstops in baseball and significantly improved his defense in 2022, silencing critics who doubted his ability to handle the position. The 30-year-old is coming off another strong campaign at the plate in 2022, earning his fourth All-Star selection and slashing .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs, 38 doubles and 8 steals. And perhaps most importantly, Bogaerts as established himself as one of the team's clubhouse leaders as its longest-tenured player. After helping the Red Sox win two World Series during his 10-year career, Bogaerts is an indispensable piece of Boston's core as well as its future.
2. Chris Bassitt, SP
The Red Sox desperately need pitching help in the rotation, and Chris Bassitt can provide that. While he has a mutual option with the New York Mets for 2023, he's expected to decline that after turning in one of the best seasons of his career in 2022. Bassitt set personal bests in wins (15), starts (30), innings (181 2/3) and strikeouts (167) while posting a 3.42 ERA. The 33-year-old stepped up to lead New York's staff when Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer went down with injuries. He's been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past several seasons and has proven he can handle the pressure of playing in a big market, making him a great fit for Boston.
3. Aaron Judge, OF
While the Yankees are unlikely to let Aaron Judge walk, that shouldn't stop the Red Sox from heavily pursuing him this offseason. Boston sorely needs power in the outfield, which managed just 44 home runs combined (28th in MLB) last year. Judge hit 18 more than that by himself. The towering right-handed slugger is tailor-made for Fenway Park and could also DH a fair amount with Martinez likely departing. The Red Sox are one of the few teams that can afford the likely AL MVP's mammoth contract, and stealing him from their archrivals would make this signing even sweeter. It would also help ease some of the sting from the Mookie Betts trade that still looms over the franchise.