Which Red Sox players will be free agents in 2023?
For the first time in several years, the Boston Red Sox have several big contracts expiring after the ongoing season.
Though the Sox parted ways with Dave Dombrowski in September 2019, he remained with the team in the spirit of the lucrative contracts he inked in order to construct the 2018 championship squad. JD Martinez (5 years, $110M) and Nathan Eovaldi (4 years, $68M) will be free agents after this season, and Chris Sale (5 years, $145M) will hit the market after next. When those contracts expire, the Sox will have quite a lot of payroll flexibility.
To get an idea of how much money the Sox will have to play with this winter to build a better team, here’s every player reaching free agency when 2022 comes to a close:
JD Martinez is a free agent in 2023
The Sox signed JD Martinez to a five-year deal during spring training 2018 that turned out to be a serious bargain. In his first year, the Sox won a franchise-record 108 regular-season games and steamrolled their way to their fourth championship in 15 years, their first without David Ortiz.
No one will ever fill the gaping hole left by Big Papi, but Martinez did a pretty great job subbing in.
Nathan Eovaldi is a free agent in 2023
Nathan Eovaldi will go down in franchise history as one of the best midseason trade deadline acquisitions and a postseason legend for what he did for this team in 2018. So, it wasn’t a surprise that the Sox gave him a four-year deal when the World Series ended, and he’s mostly lived up to the hype. Unfortunately, his struggles this season make it unlikely that the Sox bring him back.
Kiké Hernández is a free agent in 2023
Kiké Hernández was one of the best parts of the unexpected 2021 turnaround. He also tied Ortiz’s record of five home runs in a postseason.
Unfortunately, he’s been on the Injured List for most of his contract’s second and final year.
Update: Red Sox ink Kiké Hernández to 1-year extension for 2023
On September 5, Jeff Passan announced that the Sox were extending Hernández another year, and giving him a raise. They signed him to a two-year, $14M contract in 2021; he’ll make $10M in 2023.
Michael Wacha is a free agent in 2023
The Sox gave Michael Wacha a one-year, $7M deal for 2022, and the veteran was having a pretty great season before he joined about a dozen of his teammates on the Injured List.
He’s on his way back though and just pitched over four innings of a combined no-hitter in his Triple-A Worcester rehab start.
Rich Hill is a free agent in 2023
Hometown arm Rich Hill rejoined the Sox on a one-year, $5M deal after stints with the Mets, Rays, Twins, Dodgers, and A’s, to name a few. This is the Milton, MA native’s third stint with the Sox; he first came home in 2010, and again in 2016. Now 42 years old, it’s unclear if he’ll be back next year for his 19th big-league season.
Matt Strahm is a free agent in 2023
Matt Strahm is another gamble of Chaim Bloom’s who’s paid off quite well. After struggling in San Diego last season, he has a 3.58 ERA over 33 appearances, with seven games finished and three saves. Unfortunately, he’s one of several pitchers on the Injured List now.
Kevin Plawecki is a free agent in 2023
Kevin Plawecki might be the biggest question mark on this list, as the Sox just traded everyday catcher, Christian Vázquez, to the Houston Astros. They also acquired another catcher, Reese McGuire, from the White Sox in exchange for Jake Diekman, but his subpar hitting might not make him an ideal everyday backstop.