Free agent options to shore-up 2023 Boston Red Sox
By Rick McNair
Lower-rated free agents who could help Red Sox for less money
It is that time of year when baseball management goes shopping, and the Boston Red Sox will most certainly shop. The initial shopping list is free agents, and Boston has their list of potential departures, which should free up some payroll that may be allocated to bringing in free agents. A slow dance of shifting players and payrolls.
Last season the big purchase was Trevor Story, who could replace a possibly departing Xander Bogaerts. In the past, the Red Sox have been among the most exuberant teams at tossing money to solve problems that a farm system and trades could not rectify.
Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (MLBTR) yearly feature is their designation of the top 50 free agents, a possible destination, and a projected salary. MLBTR is usually entirely accurate in its assessments.
There is more to the top 50, which often becomes the domain of the bargain hunter or cash-strapped franchises after the big ticket items are claimed. I have my selections that would either help or hinder the team in 2023 – an unknown until the season is over. I will avoid my prime target Aaron Judge. Maybe a flyer on some lesser high-profile FAs is the way to go?
Could Mitch Haniger be another Hunter Renfroe for Boston?
Mitch Haniger is no stranger to the IL, and 2022 was no exception, as the righty appeared in 57 games. Despite that, Haniger still slugged 11 home runs and provided a 26.3 SO%. Haniger’s breakout season – not to be confused with breakdown – was in 2021, when he slammed 39 dingers and bagged 100 RBI.
No illusions for the soon-to-be 32-year-old as he personifies free swinger, low average, and a ‘meh” defensive history. Still, Haniger did post a 113 wRC+ in 2022, and as a team, the Red Sox outfield had a woeful 90 wRC+.
Haniger is a high risk, as in Mt. Everest, based on his injury history. He was healthy in two seasons of his career and produced numbers similar to the departed Hunter Renfroe.
Haniger is predicted to garner a 3/39 contract that seems slightly elevated, but in today’s baseball world, just about all salaries seem elevated. Haniger is a right fielder by trade and may present a risk at Fenway Park, but expect outfield shuffling to take place.