While the aforementioned trio are the only players MLBTR predicts will sign with the Red Sox, they do expect Boston to be involved with discussions on a number of other free agents.
First baseman Eric Hosmer is No. 3 on the list and the second best hitter on the market. MLBTR expects he will re-sign with the Kansas City Royals but that could change if the Red Sox are willing to overpay to pry him away. Hosmer is rumored to be a top target for the Red Sox. He’s not the power threat that J.D. Martinez is, but if Boston misses out on the top free agent bat they could turn to Hosmer as a first base upgrade instead of Logan Morrison.
A more affordable backup plan that falls between Hosmer and Morrison would be Carlos Santana (No. 12). He’s a low-average hitter but his ability to draw walks always leaves him with a solid OBP. While his 23 home runs this year wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over what the Red Sox got from Moreland, the 34 he smashed in 2016 suggests Santana has a higher power ceiling.
The only other free agent MLBTR sees as a target for the Red Sox is Neil Walker (No. 28). The 32-year old is an above-average hitter for a second baseman with some pop. He could help fill in for Dustin Pedroia, who isn’t expected to be ready to start next season while recovering from knee surgery. Once Pedroia returns, Walker could be used in a utility role off the bench, as he has limited experience covering first and third base.
There are a number of other free agents that could appeal to the Red Sox, but they can’t be in on everyone. Their payroll is already creeping up on the luxury tax threshold before free agency begins. While they should be willing to go over the tax line, there are limits to how far they will blow by it.
All three targets MLBTR predicts for the Red Sox may end up being too pricey, but if they manage to sign this trio it would certainly vault them into the elite class of contenders in 2018.