Red Sox Free Agency Top Priorities

Sox Free Agency

It is officially the off-season in major league baseball. Conversations around the league have already been hot on where the top free agents will land for 2023. Will Aaron Judge re-sign with the New York Yankees? Where will one of the best pitchers of this generation in Jacob deGrom end up? With all of the talent at the shortstop position, which teams will pursue the likes of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Xander Bogaerts?

Speaking of Xander Bogaerts, many Red Sox fans are trying to figure out exactly what is on the minds of the front office executives when it comes to making moves this off-season. The majority of Boston fans are questioning the validity of reports coming out in regard to re-signing the 30-year old shortstop. Although, that is not the only area the Red Sox should be looking to improve on.


Red Sox Free Agency

First things first, if the Boston Red Sox want to keep Bogaerts, they are going to have to PAY him. There is no doubt he and his agent, Scott Boras, have been talking to other teams. A qualifying offer is out of the question at this point. Bogaerts finished last season on an absolute hitting tear. He ended up third in the AL in batting average. Also, he had his best defensive season at shortstop finishing as a finalist for the AL Gold Glove award.

President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom told the media that they have a plan B if Bogaerts ends up leaving in free agency: “We’ll look at different options,” Bloom said. “We talked about it internally. It’s not something we wanted to think about but we might have to think about it. We feel good about both those guys (Trevor Story and Kiké Hernández) being able to play there so I think it allows us to look at different options to add impact to the club.” per Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo.

Building the Infield Piece-by-Piece

Reports are coming out that they have been discussing his contract, and that Bogaerts is the top priority. But if that is the case, why wouldn’t they have something done by now? And an even better question: Why didn’t Boston just extend him during or before the season when they had the chance? Now, they are at a high risk of losing him because teams will be willing to spend. Additionally, signing Bogaerts will play a factor in getting a long-term deal with the young third baseman, Rafael Devers. Both of those guys have a very tight relationship. Like Bogaerts, Devers will easily be able to find another team that will pay him what he wants.

Since Boston has Trevor Story locked up for five years, there is no need to look for a second baseman. The farm system has a ton of talent at the middle infield positions. So, just signing Bogaerts should put them in a great position going forward. First base was the gaping hole that hindered the Red Sox infield in 2022. Jose Abreu and Anthony Rizzo are two guys they should look to add. It should be high on the list, not only for the team’s sake now, but both of them would be great mentors for Triston Casas. There are high hopes for the 22-year old first baseman, and a platoon with one of those guys would work perfectly.


The Pitching Staff

If the Red Sox want to compete in the AL East, they need to bring attention to the pitching staff. They will need to address the starting staff, as well as the bullpen. There is a lot of pitching talent in the 2023 free-agent class. Presuming that Boston gets a deal done with Bogaerts, and potentially Devers, there won’t be much money to go around. Going for a guy like Jacob deGrom or Carlos Rodon may be a bit over their price range.

As of right now, The Red Sox’ starting staff in 2023 will have a hopefully healthy Chris Sale, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and Nick Pivetta. Guys like Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck are still question marks on whether or not they will be in the rotation. They have also said they plan on starting Garrett Whitlock, rather than keeping him in the bullpen. So, they should target one or two pitchers that are serviceable, and not as expensive as some other big names. Taijuan Walker, Sean Manaea, and Trevor Williams are some names that come to mind.

The bullpen is going to need some serious attention. Boston is lacking when it comes to reliable arms, and reliever depth. There are plenty of viable options to extend the bullpen for 2023. It seems like they might try out Matt Barnes again as the main closer with Whitlock moving back to the rotation. Barnes closed out the year on a high note, which should be good for his confidence going into next year. Since the Sox shouldn’t have to worry about paying a defined closing pitcher, they need to focus on signing two or three guys that will improve the staff overall.



Red Sox free agency will go into a complete tailspin if Boagerts lands somewhere else. The way they seem to be making him their top priority, while also revealing backup plans and looking at a lot of different players makes it seem like they are just waiting too long. What if it is not another month until Bogaerts makes his decisions, and half of the other players are already gone? And who says Bloom, like last year, ends up signing another big-name contract to sporadically make up for the loss of Bogaerts?

There are a lot of ways this could go wrong. However, it is definitely possible for Boston to enhance this roster to compete for the AL East. Bloom’s job is on the line this year, period. If he can’t sign Bogaerts, the Red Sox could be looking for a replacement by spring.

Main Photo:
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Players Mentioned:

Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story, Kiké Hernández, Rafael Devers, Jose Abreu, Anthony Rizzo, Triston Casas, Carlos Rodon, Chris Sale, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, Taijuan Walker, Sean Manaea, Trevor Williams, Matt Barnes