3 Red Sox players who definitely shouldn’t be back in 2023

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 15: Bobby Dalbec #29 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out against the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Globe Life Field on May 15, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 15: Bobby Dalbec #29 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out against the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Globe Life Field on May 15, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox 1B Bobby Dalbec
FT. MYERS, FL – MARCH 31: Bobby Dalbec #29 of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run during the second inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins on March 31, 2022 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Bobby Dalbec

Bobby Dalbec was such a promising part of this team’s future two years ago, but consistency never materialized at the big-league level.

The 27-year-old has played 273 games since his 2020 debut but what’s concerning is that he’s actually gotten worse at the plate. Over 133 games in 2021, he hit .240/.298/.494 with 21 doubles and 25 homers. He struck out 156 times and only drew 28 walks, but the power was impressive.

In 2022, he appeared in 117 games and hit .215/.283/.369 with only nine doubles and 12 home runs. His ISO dropped by 99 points; his OPS by 140. While there was marginal improvement in his plate discipline, his 33.4% strikeout rate is way above league average (22.9%).

The offensive problems are bad enough, but really, it comes down to the fact that there isn’t room for him in the infield. He came up playing third but moved to first because of Rafael Devers, who almost certainly isn’t going anywhere for a while. The Sox also acquired Eric Hosmer at the deadline, and his four Gold Gloves make him a far more appealing infielder. And of course, Triston Casas made his debut in September, and he’s already a pretty stellar all-around player.

It’s gotten so crowded that the Sox actually had Dalbec learning second base late in the season, but that in itself speaks volumes about how much he’s been phased out. Sources actually indicated that the Sox were going to trade him months ago, but Casas’ ankle injury in Triple-A derailed that plan.

Ultimately, this isn’t so much about Dalbec’s shortcomings as it is about the fact that he will get more playing time elsewhere. His value is lower now, but he’s still club-controlled and has a lot of potential. If the Sox are putting together a trade package this offseason, he could very well be part of it.