The Boston Red Sox have a glaring need for power in their lineup but won’t necessarily need to break the bank to find a home run hitter.
The top priority for the Boston Red Sox this winter will be finding a power bat to anchor their lineup. While this year’s free agency class includes a number of high-profile sluggers who would fill that need, there are plenty of options in the bargain bin who could give this lineup the punch it needs.
Baseball finds itself in an era where home run totals are skyrocketing at a record pace. Every team seems to be mashing homers these days – well, every team except the Red Sox. This means that power can be found cheaper than it would have been on the free agent market in the past.
The top talents will still get paid a boatload, yet bargains can still be found from players that carry flaws in other aspects of their game. The Red Sox have guys who can get on base, play solid defense and have speed on the bases. What they need is a home run hitter, which doesn’t necessarily need to come from one of the top stars on the market.
Red Sox ownership has expressed their willingness to go over the luxury tax in 2018 but that doesn’t mean they need to blow by it. Some fiscal restraint may be in order given the young core they will eventually need to lock up. While a superstar such as J.D. Martinez may demand a long-term deal worth around $200 million, it may behoove the Red Sox to focus on cheaper options that will come off the books before 2021 when it’s time to pay Mookie Betts.
Let’s explore some under-the-radar free agent bats who could fill Boston’s desperate need for power. Using ZiPS projections provided by ESPN to project what free agents should be worth on a performance-to-dollar basis, we’re going to focus on power hitters who potentially could be obtained on deals no longer than three years that average less than $20 million per season.