Which postseason stars should the Red Sox target in free agency?
Watching the postseason is always a brutal reminder that you’re not in it.
But the silver lining is that it serves as a talent showcase that can help inform an also-ran’s offseason plans.
To win a World Series, a team needs two kinds of players: the kind that gets you to the postseason, and the kind that gets you through it. A regular-season star may wilt under the bright lights in October, while an unexpected bench player might rise to the challenge. The Boston Red Sox saw that firsthand in 2018, when Mookie Betts struggled and Jackie Bradley Jr. shined.
So, even though the Sox aren’t in the postseason, hopefully, they’re watching to get an idea of which players might be worth targeting in free agency this winter.
Here are three potential targets:
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Nola has spent his entire professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies, and they’d be crazy not to pick up his club option or give him an extension.
But let’s pretend for a moment that they’re ready to pull a Red Sox and cast a homegrown talent aside for some unproven free agent.
Nola is the rare pitcher who’s consistently healthy, knock on wood. Since 2017, he’s made at least 27 starts in every 162-game season and at least 32 starts each year since 2018 (2020 excluded). He’s thrown five complete games over the last three seasons, and exceeded 200 innings in three of the last four full seasons, including throwing 205 innings this year with a 3.25 ERA.
The 29-year-old righty is also totally dominating in his first postseason run. Starting Game 2 of the Wild Card series and Game 3 of the NLDS, he’s shut out the Cardinals and Braves for 12 2/3 innings with a dozen strikeouts.
If he keeps that up in the NLCS, the Phillies, Sox, or someone else will give him a hefty contract.