This afternoon, Red Sox head baseball officer Chaim Bloom, GM Brian O’Halloran, President Sam Kennedy and manager Alex Cora spoke to the media (including Alex Speier of the Boston Globe and Jen McCaffrey of the Athletic) to end the season. 2022 and provide clarity on the team’s offseason moves.
The quartet made it clear that Xander Bogaerts is a top priority, with Bloom stating that the Red Sox are “going to work very hard” to make a long-term deal with the shortstop. Bloom went on to add that he hopes the Red Sox can strike a deal before the Bogaerts opt out and that the Bogaerts deal is “something we can work on right away”.
Bogaerts had previously signed a six-year extension worth $120 million in 2019 with an opt-out after the 2022 season. The star shortstop has not officially stated whether he will exercise the opt-out, but he is locked in to this. to do and earn much more in the open market. Bogaerts said yesterday that he and the team have not had any recent extension talks.
Bogaerts was the longest serving player of the Red Sox, making his debut as a 20-year-old in August 2013 and winning two World Series with the club. Since making his debut, the recently 30-year-old player has continued to develop and deliver strong results, lowering .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 38 doubles in the 2022 season. Over the past five seasons, Bogaerts has a .301. /.373/.508 slash line posted for a strong .880 OPS with 105 home runs, three All-Star berths and MVP consideration earned in the previous four seasons, finishing in fifth place during the 2019 season.
If Bogaerts leaves the team, the Red Sox will have options internally. In short, Trevor Story, signed to a $140 million six-year contract during the 2021 off-season, has a lot of experience. However, Story has expressed a preference to stay in second place and keep Bogaerts short. Utility men Kiké Hernández and Christian Arroyo both have shortstop experience, but neither deliver an offensive result comparable to Bogaerts.
In addition, Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox’s top candidate, ranked seventh best candidate by MLB.com, just finished his first full minor league season with a strong .280/.399/.489 line over Low-A and High A. . MLB.com currently projects that the 19-year-old will make his debut during the 2024 season. However, Bloom said prospects years away from the Majors will not affect the Red Sox’s approach to their 2023 team.
The slugger, who switched to Rafael Devers, said on Wednesday he would be open to discussing a long-term deal this off-season (via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). The Red Sox and Devers were reportedly not close during their Spring Training negotiations, but Bloom reiterated today “we would like to” explore a long-term deal with Devers, Speier said.
Devers is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility, as is Mookie Betts before his blockbuster deal with the Dodgers. Bloom dismissed the opportunity to trade Devers, saying it’s “not on our radar” and that everything the team has done (business system and payroll) has been done in such a way that the team “is never in that position.” [of trading a player like Betts] again.” Bloom added that while it was always possible he would get a trade offer that was “stupid to walk away from,” Devers is “a man we want to build around.”
Unlike Bogaerts, the Red Sox have fewer internal options to replace Devers in the hot corner. Arroyo and Hernandez are able to play there, but as is the case with shortstop, neither of them deliver the offensive output that Devers brings to the team. Bobby Dalbec could be a contender for third base. However, the judge has yet to produce consistently at the premier league level, with .232/.298/.456, backed by a strong .263/.359/.600 in his debut season at the end of 2020. Jeter Downs and Ryan Fitzgerald are both Triple. -A candidates who could see some time if needed, but both are likely to continue their development in Triple-A.
Like Meyer, Blaze Jordan, the ninth-best candidate, has just completed his first full minor league season. Across Low-A and High-A, the 19-year-old posted a combined .289/.363/.445 line. Jordan is also expected to make his debut during the 2024 season, which could be sped up to align with a Devers departure.
Bloom moved to the other side of the infield and hit the arrivals of Eric Hosmer and Triston Casas. “I don’t know yet,” he admitted when asked if there was room on the roster for two left-handed first basemen, according to Mass Live’s Christopher Smith. “Obviously when we got Hoz we were focused on what he could bring us now and didn’t want to rush Triston. I think Triston showed us in Triple-A after that, coming back from that injury once he settled in, really the best we’ve seen from him, or at least I’ve seen since I’ve been here. … It’s something we need to look at.”
Hosmer was acquired on the trading deadline and set up a weak .244/.320/.331 line with the Red Sox in 45 at bats. He arrived with three years left on his eight-year $144MM contract he signed with the Padres in 2018, but San Diego pays all but the league’s minimum wage. Hosmer certainly won’t opt for the remaining $39MM of his deal, but Boston could leave the veteran with virtually no financial cost if they wanted to turn to Casas full-time.
Casas is Boston’s second-best prospect, after Mayer, and is ranked as number 25 by MLB.com. The batter made his debut in early September and finished the season 15-for-76 (.197) with 23 strikeouts. However, he had a strong running pace of 20%, a percentage of .358 on base and sent five balls over the fence. Bloom stated that the Red Sox were happy with how Casas “moved forward in the last few months of the season”, noting that “he’s been a tough at bat every time”, and that the team is “excited” to see how he learns from his brief experience on the Show.
Bloom also noted that the Red Sox “completely expect” to look into the possibility of adding externally to their catch group, per Speier. He suggested that the Red Sox would see Reese McGuire and Connor Wong as “raised the floor”, but left open the possibility of an impact addition. Willson Contreras is clearly the best free agent available in the position, while Sean Murphy, the deadline trade target, could be made available again by the A’s. McGuire has had a strong start to his Red Sox tenure, hitting a strong .337/.377/.500 for a .877 OPS with three home runs in 98 at bats. However, these high numbers are inflated by an astonishing .411 BABIP. Wong was less productive, posting a line of .188/.273/.315, with a high strikeout rate of 28.6%.
Meanwhile, Cora announced that the Red Sox hope to bring their entire coaching staff back for next season, according to Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo. However, it is possible that some staff members will have the opportunity to interview for leadership positions this winter. Banking coach Will Venable, in particular, was a frequent candidate for managerial jobs this past off-season.