3 scary free agents Red Sox should avoid signing this offseason

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees in action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2021 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees in action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2021 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 17: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs gets ready to step into the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 17: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs gets ready to step into the batters box against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Red Sox shouldn’t sign Rizzo

Few players were tied to the Red Sox in the rumor mill more than Anthony Rizzo leading up to the trade deadline. Many fans were frustrated that Bloom failed to trade for the three-time All-Star first baseman, especially when he landed with the New York Yankees instead.

As it turns out, the Red Sox dodged a bullet by not trying to top New York’s offer to the Chicago Cubs. Rizzo’s production in pinstripes was mildly disappointing, hitting .249 with a .768 OPS, seven home runs and 21 RBI in 49 games with the Yankees.

Meanwhile, Bobby Dalbec‘s late-season surge, which saw him produce a .955 OPS after the break, proved that first base didn’t require an upgrade. Kyle Schwarber was a far better trade deadline acquisition, producing a .957 OPS in 41 games with the Red Sox. Both hitters performed significantly better than Rizzo after the deadline. Trading for Rizzo would have meant limiting Dalbec’s opportunities, not pulling the trigger on the Schwarber trade, or potentially both.

Rizzo remains a solid hitter but he’s no longer the 30+ home run, 100+ RBI threat he was during his peak years. The four-time Gold Glove award winner would be an upgrade defensively for the Red Sox but his career-worst -6 defensive runs saved shows that Rizzo’s defensive skills slipped his year.

The 32-year-old appears to be on the downswing of his career, making him a prime candidate to be overpaid based on his past achievements. With Dalbec proving he can handle big league pitching and top prospect Triston Casas on the way, the Red Sox can find a better way to allocate their resources than giving Rizzo a lucrative deal.