Red Sox second look free agents
In November, the transaction wire was smoking for the Boston Red Sox and other MLB teams. Most of the moves were the regular house cleaning and players electing for free agency. The Tigers quickly signed Eduardo Rodríguez, but several other players remain in limbo as labor negotiations continue.
The Red Sox also moved before the lockout and signed several players, with the most notable ones being pitchers Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and James Paxton. The transaction wire is stuffed with minor league deals and invitations to players who can best be classified as throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks crowd.
That leaves a list of players who saw service time with Boston who declared free agency, and just what are the possibilities of any managing to return? Who would you want to have back?
Left-hand slugger Kyle Schwarber was love at first bat. A dangerous patient hitter and equally dangerous in the field. Schwarber is a born designated hitter on a team with one of the best in J.D. Martinez. Martinez will be gone after 2022 but waiting in the wings is a defensive nightmare, Rafael Devers.
Schwarber is expected to command a four-year, $70MM contract. Manager Alex Cora can mix and match within his roster, and Schwarber will get his at-bats, but the defense on a team with poor defense makes this a deal a pass for me.
Garrett Richards was a bust, failure, disappointment, etc. A strong start (Spider Tack?) soon became a nightmare. Richards will sign somewhere, and it won’t be Boston.
Martín Pérez is baseball cannon fodder. The lefty will occasionally sparkle, but it is not a diamond sparkle but rhinestone. Pérez has had two turns with the Red Sox, and that will be it.
If the Red Sox had $50 – 60 MM available on the LT, I might consider Adam Ottavino, but his second half of 2021 eroded his value. Ottavino always seemed to stroll on the wild side (12.7 BB%) with a tendency to make each appearance a testimony for the curative value of Pepto Bismol.
Danny Santana could play multiple positions, but his best was locked onto the bench. Santana was still living off a career year in 2019, so the Red Sox took a risk and were rewarded with a .181 batting average.
Travis Shaw had some moments of hitting clarity on his return to Boston. Shaw hit .238 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 48 PAs. It might be worth an invite to spring training if no job offers surface.
Boston may not have made the playoffs without José Iglesias‘s contribution of solid defense at second base and a surprising .356 batting average in 23 games. Iglesias would be an excellent insurance policy for the infield, and with a potentially limited market, the 32-year-old righty could be back. I would make every effort to get him back.
Righty Hansel Robles was a late-season addition to the Red Sox and provided some valuable innings out of the bullpen. Robles throws in the high 90s, possesses a slider and splitter, and can walk too many. The seven-year veteran has a potential market as a multi-faceted bullpen piece. I’d like to see him back but suspect the price may be too rarified for Boston.
The only one that I have listed that I would consider making a significant effort to sign is Iglesias. A solid vet with some sting left in his bat, but concerns exist on his 2021 degrading defensive skills at shortstop. Robles is a respectable lower-end bullpen piece but I expect a team somewhere to do what Boston usually does – overpay.