Red Sox hint at free agency plans for filling center field void
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox plan to address center field in free agency.
Filling the void in center field is among the top items on the agenda for the Boston Red Sox and the solution is likely to be found in free agency due to a lack of viable internal options.
Speaking remotely during the GM meetings, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom hinted at his strategy for addressing the center field position. It’s clear that retaining a strong defensive alignment in the outfield is a priority, which has him leaning toward finding a traditional center fielder rather than rearranging the pieces on the existing roster, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.
"“I think we have guys on this club who are capable of playing center field, but I would certainly like to be in as strong a defensive position as you can,” Bloom said. “We know we play in a ballpark where you basically have two center fields here at Fenway Park, so you want to be mindful of that. We can’t be too rigid and miss good opportunities, but we certainly would like to have as strong a defensive outfield as possible, and a lot of that obviously is contingent on having multiple guys who can play center field.”"
Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo both have some experience in center field but neither is viewed as the answer for that role entering next season.
Benintendi spent the majority of this year on the injured list and regressed significantly at the plate during his limited time in the lineup. He faces a steep enough challenge in finding his swing without worrying about adapting to a more demanding defensive position.
The quirky dimensions of Fenway Park make its spacious right field more difficult to patrol than most. Verdugo proved himself more than capable of handling the position so the Red Sox would prefer to keep him locked into that spot. This is what Bloom alluded to when he said they need two center fielders. Verdugo is only half of the puzzle, they still need someone else.
The Red Sox don’t have another fit for the position on their current roster so where will they go to find a center fielder?