Predicting where the Red Sox free agents will sign this offseason

Predicting where the Red Sox free agents will sign this offseason

The toughest offseason of Chaim Bloom’s Boston Red Sox tenure is underway.

After a final berth in the American League East, the Red Sox have several roster holes to fill. The most glaring voids are shortstop with Xander Bogaerts becoming a free agent and starting rotation with right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Wacha in the open market.

Boston should also look to overhaul its bullpen, especially with Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck slated to start 2023 as starters. Matt Strahm and Rich Hill are free agents, although both lefties could return on affordable short-term deals.

JD Martinez and Tommy Pham round out the Red Sox free agent roster. Bloom will likely have to find a new designated hitter to replace the 2018 World Series champion, but Pham is a candidate to return after a solid few months with the 2022 club.

So what uniforms will Red Sox free agents be wearing next year? Here’s an educated guess for each.

Xander Bogaerts, SS – Philadelphia Phillies

Unlike the Red Sox, the Phillies seem serious about being the highest bidder for Bogaerts’ services. A lot of that has to do with former Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski taking charge of Philly.

After coming so close to a World Series title, Dombrowski and the Phillies should be aggressive this offseason to ensure they return to the big stage in 2023. Signing Bogaerts would be a statement that Philly is going nowhere. and it would be a great way for the big-spending Dombrowski to sabotage an organization by which he felt mistreated at the end of his term.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 6/10

Nathan Eovaldi, RHP – Boston Red Sox

My initial prediction for Eovaldi was that he would return home to play for the Texas Rangers, who need all the pitching help they can get. Recent reports that the Red Sox have already offered Eovaldi a multi-year contract have changed my position. It seems both sides would like to find a solution, and it makes sense for Boston to either keep Eovaldi or Wacha. I have the impression that an agreement with Eovaldi is concluded as soon as possible.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 8/10

JD Martinez, DH – Cleveland Guardians

All signs point to Martinez moving into free agency after five stellar seasons in Boston. The 35-year-old no longer has the same power he once had, but he can still provide pop in the middle of a formation that needs it. The Guardians, desperate for a big bat or two, would be a great choice for the DH veteran who could just as well be considered a second hitting coach.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 3/10

Michael Wacha, RHP – Detroit Tigers

If Eovaldi signs elsewhere, Wacha’s return to the Red Sox would make perfect sense. The right-handed veteran was the surprise star of Boston’s rotation in 2022.

Tomase: Red Sox rotation taking shape, but badly needs top-end stability

Unfortunately for Bloom and Co., that means Wacha’s price has gone up this offseason. I see him landing with a team willing to overpay for a mid-rotation starter. The Tigers need to get started and they were already willing to overpay for one of Boston’s free agents last year: Eduardo Rodriguez.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 7/10

Tommy Pham, OF – Chicago White Sox

The Red Sox turned down Pham’s $12 million option for 2023, but there’s still a good chance the journeyman outfielder will return next season. For the purposes of this exercise, however, I believe the White Sox make the most sense as Pham’s next destination. Chicago needs to add some outfield depth and Pham is one of the best low-risk, potentially high-reward options.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 7/10

Rich Hill, LHP – Boston Red Sox

Hill, who turns 43 in March, was worth every penny of his $5 million salary in 2022. The veteran left-hander would make a solid starter who could help the bullpen next season. Hill has already said he hopes to return to the Red Sox in 2023, so the ball is in the front office’s court.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 8/10

Matt Strahm, LHP – Philadelphia Phillies

Strahm has declared his desire to convert to a starter next season. There’s virtually no chance of that happening in Boston, so don’t expect him to return unless he changes his tune. If he sticks to the succession – the most likely scenario – another season with the Red Sox is entirely on the cards. Dombrowski and the Phillies could also use a strong left-handed arm for their bullpen.

Likelihood of returning to the Red Sox: 6/10

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