Following the trade of superstar outfielder Mookie Betts and a painful 2020 season, the Red Sox are in need of an impressive offseason to revive their competitiveness.
Another big story of the Red Sox offseason is their managerial search. For this, I think there is one obvious answer to who should fill this role. In my opinion, it has to be Alex Cora. He has shown his capability to coach a competitive team, and his presence would elevate the 2021 Red Sox. Cora is also able to communicate with and coach the Red Sox’s young players better than anyone, due to his previous relations and his relatively young age. He is the most qualified and experienced candidate, and I will be genuinely disappointed if he isn’t brought back.
Free Agency – Pitchers
The Red Sox’s biggest hole in 2020 was pitching, but that area should be revitalized in 2021. The Red Sox will likely get back Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale, along with Martin Perez (Option) and Nathan Eovaldi. Upcoming second-year pitcher Tanner Houck could also get into the mix. That shapes up as a slate of 4-5 pitchers who will be far more consistent than last year. However, the Red Sox should still add another starter and some bullpen arms. The most realistic options I see at SP are Anthony DeScalfani, Kevin Gausman, or Alex Wood. Each of these guys are mid-level starters that would probably work as cost-effective number fives. As for relievers, I think the best available for the Sox are Alex Colome, Blake Treinen, Kirby Yates, and Tyler Clippard. Any of those four and some additional lower level relievers would help bolster the often unreliable Sox bullpen.
Free Agency – Hitters
For offensive players, I would first really like the Red Sox to re-sign Jackie Bradley Jr. Though he is inconsistent at the plate, I believe he is the best defensive center fielder in baseball, and that is an important player to retain. One big acquisition I think the Red Sox could make is Marcell Ozuna. He won’t be the most expensive free agent, but he will come at a price, and I think he’d be a viable option if there’s a spot for him. If the Red Sox want to move J.D. Martinez or Andrew Benintendi, or if they move on from Jackie Bradley, that would open up an outfield spot for Ozuna. This could also be similarly executed by Michael Brantley, who is a slightly better fielder than Ozuna. Brantley would be of similar cost, and I think he’s more proven and consistent than fellow free agent George Springer. I do not think Springer is worth the same contract or more than Ozuna or Brantley. The Sox could also use an additional infielder. Some good middle infield options include Adeiny Hechavarria, Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Schoop, and Johnathan Villar. All these players would be solid additions and could occasionally switch out with Michael Chavis and Jose Peraza.
MLB Draft (June 2021)
The Red Sox’s atrocious 24-36 record netted them their fourth selection in the seemingly far-away upcoming MLB draft. I would like to see the Red Sox select one of two prospects: SP Kumar Rocker or SP Jack Leiter. Rocker dominated in his college career, posting a 1.80 ERA in 3 games before cancellations this year, but will likely go first overall. The more realistic option, in my opinion, is Jack Leiter. Leiter had a 2-0 record with a 1.72 ERA in 4 appearances before cancellations. I’ve seen him projected to fall to the Red Sox, but some mock drafts have him going as high as 2. So if the Red Sox are at all fortunate, they should end up with Leiter. But if they somehow don’t, I would advocate for them to take the best available pitcher, as it is currently an outstanding need.
In all, the Red Sox need to add a lot of pitching and the right offensive fits, along with Alex Cora, to try to field a competitive team again in 2021.
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