Op-Ed: The Red Sox are entering a make or break offseason that could change the landscape of their franchise

After a lackluster season, the Red Sox have a lot of important decisions to make this offseason.

Let’s be real, the Boston Red Sox have been an utter snoozefest this season. After an overachieving season last year, the Red Sox came into this year as a favorite to win it all this year. They finished last in the AL East, and trailed eight games back from the last wild card spot. With big decisions of re-signing players such as infielder Xander Bogaerts, and being so far off from being contenders there can be only one man to blame for this.

The Problems

Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom of the Red Sox is the man in charge, and he has to be the blame for this. While, other teams in their division made big moves to improve their teams. Bloom made small additions to the roster this season. Bloom targeted players he knew he could get on the cheap. Based on their statistical approach, Bloom thought this was the best he could do to improve the team that just went to the ALCS. Fans were outraged that they didn’t make a big move this offseason. Their biggest move this offseason was signing infielder Trevor Story. However, it seemed Story was a panic buy to just appease the fans, to say at least we brought in a big name free agent. Story ended up having an average year filled with injuries. 

What killed the Red Sox the most this season was their bullpen. Bloom did not add a true closer to the staff, and it showed. The Red Sox gave up the sixth most saves and had the fifth highest ERA in the league. Bloom left them short, and he might leave them even more with this upcoming offseason.

The bullpen needed a true closer. The Red Sox did too much of closer by committee. As a result the Red Sox record in one-run games or games that went into extra innings was 26-29.  

From bullpen woes to contract woes. Bogaerts has been the only positive for the Red Sox this season. Bogaerts has spent ten years with the organization, and he might have just spent his last. Bogaerts has an opt-out in his contract this year, and he will exercise it. Bogaerts is looking for that big pay day other players in his position are getting. With rumors of Bogaerts and the Red Sox not seeing eye to eye on a contract and the Red Sox already signing his replacement last year in Story, it seems likely that Bogaerts is shipping out of Boston.

Another star in distress is infielder Rafael Devers. Devers is the future of this team, and the team should be built around him. The question is will the Red Sox want to fork up the money to keep him. Devers is projected to get a deal worth close to $300 million. The Red Sox offered Devers a deal not even close to that in July. The Red Sox envision Devers at first base or designated hitter in the future because of Devers’ poor defense at third base. So, for the organization it doesn’t make sense to pay a player at that position top dollar. The duo of Bogaerts and Devers leaving in consecutive years would leave the Red Sox depleted and the fanbase upset.

What should the Red Sox do?

So, what should the Red Sox do? The plan is simple: Re-sign Bogaerts and extend Devers. The Red Sox just regained their fans last year. You cannot risk losing them again by getting rid of your two stars. They already did this in 2020 when they traded away star outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, a decision that will haunt the Red Sox for a long time. After that the Red Sox should retool their bullpen, adding another arm to the rotation and getting a legit closer like Edwin Diaz.

One surprise offseason addition the Red Sox could make is sign star outfielder Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees. Judge is entering his last year in his deal with the Yankees and is looking to get paid. The Yankees and Judge are having trouble getting a deal done, so this would be the perfect time for the Red Sox to swoop in and sign him. Judge without a doubt is this year’s AL MVP. Judge just hit over 60 home runs this season, a feat we have not seen since 1961. Seeing Judge hit bombs over the Green Monster is mouth-watering. If the Red Sox don’t think Bogaerts or Devers is worth the money, then pay Judge because he is worth it. Regardless of the injury concerns and Judge striking out a lot it’s a risk they should take.

What the Red Sox will actually do

What the Red Sox will actually do is probably none of this. Bloom was brought in by the Red Sox for two reasons. Retool the Red Sox farm system, and fix their financial situation. The farm system was depleted after numerous trades made to upgrade the team to win a championship. By doing so they had a high payroll, and would have to pay the luxury tax. Ownership liked Bloom, because he was the hottest candidate out there with Bloom’s work with the Tampa Bay Rays attracting the Red Sox even more.

These qualities of Bloom, ownership being cheap, and being less hungry to win than they used to be show that this offseason may not be as extravagant as we think. Most likely the Red Sox will not pay Bogaerts or Devers their value, they will not go out and get good replacements for them, and they will not splash the cash on any pitchers. They will get players that we have never heard of on the cheap to replace them, and fix their bullpen. They’ll convince fans that they are contenders, giving us hope, just to most likely struggle once again. 

Consistency with the Red Sox has been a concern. There is too much going from worst to first. Although the Red Sox have a big payroll and have the money to spend, they are turning into the Rays because of Bloom’s philosophy. This is sustainable for the Rays as they are a smaller market, but a big market team like the Red Sox should be splashing the cash, not being conservative. They are becoming cheapskates only paying players if the price is right.

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