The offseason is upon us and that means player movement, even for the defending champions. The Red Sox will look to get better just like anyone else even after winning 108 games and a championship. As ludicrous as this seems, the Sox have holes, especially in their bullpen that they could fill with high profile free agents. They will also look to re-sign free agents. Here are seven current free agents that could be a great fit for them. The familiarity between these players is that they are all pitchers. The Red Sox offense has no dire need.
No doubt Eovaldi’s name will be a popular one this offseason. A stellar performance down the stretch was followed by a heroic effort in the postseason. Usually, this leads to more exposure and therefore more money. It seems like Eovaldi’s career has finally turned a corner; his fastball is hitting triple digits, his location has been impeccable, and he has developed a cutter that has brought him to the next level.
This newfound resurgence makes him the most important free agent the Red Sox have to re-sign. Eovaldi bolstered the Red Sox rotation and led them through some very tough games in the playoffs. Without Eovaldi, the Red Sox rotation would take a huge hit and may not produce in the same way it did last year. Eovaldi is a crucial piece that the Red Sox should be all in on.
If Eovaldi were to leave, I would look for the Red Sox to maybe make a play at an Ervin Santana type of starter. Santana would represent another right-handed option in the Sox rotation that could log a similar amount of innings to the ones Eovaldi did.
Of all of the Red Sox current free agents, Kimbrel is the most likely to move on. Predictably, it sounds like he will receive big money offers from clubs such as the Cardinals or Braves. Kimbrel’s shaky postseason is another reason the Red Sox may move on from him. However, having an elite closer at the end of the bullpen is key in today’s game and Kimbrel is just that. The Red Sox should and certainly will pursue bringing Kimbrel back to Boston, it is just a matter of whether they are willing to give him the money and term that he commands.
Despite an incredibly rough regular season, Kelly seemed to hone in his location during the postseason. Like Eovaldi, he has always had incredible talent and pure stuff. For Kelly, it has just been an issue of if he can find the plate or not on any given night. Unless Kelly gets blown away with an offer, I would expect him to be back in a Red Sox uniform next season. Right now it seems logical for the Red Sox and Kelly to meet on a deal for reasonable money and length. But you never know with free agency. Either way, the Red Sox should and will pursue Kelly.
Possible New Additions
This move would fill two huge needs for the Red Sox. One being their lack of a left-handed reliever and the other a legitimate setup man at the back end of the bullpen. Miller is coming off a down year. He was on and off of the disabled list and struggled even when healthy. With injuries and an ERA up over four, Miller may see potential earnings drop in free agency. This is where the Red Sox could swoop in. Buying low on a reliever that could take their bullpen to the next level is something that they are likely to pursue. Miller had a stint in Boston before, but it didn’t entirely impress. This was before he hit the peak of his career, however. Maybe a second appearance in a Red Sox uniform could garner positive results. Miller could also be an option to close if Craig Kimbrel moves on.
The Red Sox interest in Herrera dates back to this year’s trade deadline, and it was reported they were close to making a deal. Now a free agent, the Red Sox should pursue Herrera again. Just like Miller, Herrera would represent not only a setup option but also a potential replacement as closer if Craig Kimbrel were to leave. Herrera had a rough second half of the year, but he was battling injuries and should get back to his status as an elite late-inning reliever in 2019.
Blevins, another left-handed relief option, could be a fit for the defending champs as well. Blevins posted a 4.85 ERA last year and would also be a buy-low candidate. However, just like other candidates on this list, it seems as though last year may have been a down year as he has been a very effective reliever in the past. Blevins would be more of a lefty specialist than a setup man in the Red Sox bullpen, but could turn out to be a valuable piece.
Diekman is another reliever who, like Herrera, had a rough stretch of the season that clouds his overall impressive year. An 11.57 ERA in September ballooned his ERA well over four. Diekman split his year between Texas and Arizona, going from a non-playoff team into a competitive NL West division race. He could be a nice option for the Red Sox if they miss out on better options such as Miller and Herrera.