Baseball can be a heartbreaking enterprise, not just for its fans but for its players. We mostly hear about the ones who sign the biggest contracts and create the biggest moments, and less about the ones who have quiet that end with a near-silent fizzle or are quietly altered without a bat of an eye. The latter include the 63 players who were non-tendered by their teams on Nov. 17, who are suddenly without a team and without a guaranteed paycheck, and are left to scramble to sell themselves to other teams.
But every year there are players who are non-tendered or designated for assignment who are able to find new life with new teams. The Boston Red Sox are in need of some depth options in 2024, and now there are 63 players with different skillsets and various levels of experience, who the club could pick up for the baseball equivalent of pennies (so, hundreds of thousands of dollars) and give them another chance in the majors. Here are three the Red Sox should consider signing this offseason.
If the Red Sox are still stumped on who to put at second base for the majority of the 2024 season, might they consider Nick Senzel to add to their rotating cast of middle infielders? Senzel is a former second-overall draft pick for the Reds who hasn't quite lived up to expectations during his five years in the major leagues. An injury cut his 2021 season off at the knees, and he's never been quite an everyday player since then. 2023 was his best year since 2019, his rookie year — he hit .236/.297/.399 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI — but clearly, it wasn't enough for the Reds, who made a surprise move in non-tendering him instead of trying to use him as a trade chip.
Senzel is a utility man; the Reds used him at every position except first base, shortstop, and catcher during the 2023 season. This versatility is the thing thing that will give him the best shot to get onto a new roster next season. It wouldn't be ideal, by any means, for the Red Sox to continue to shuffle utility players and prospects at second base, but Senzel could make himself a more regular option there for Boston while also spending some time in the outfield. The Red Sox are expecting to lose Alex Verdugo to a trade and Wilyer Abreu, who FanGraphs predicts will spend a lot of time in the outfield next year, is still largely untested.
While it's true that Senzel was not the draft pick that the league expected him to be, he's still young and could have a lot of faculty as a floating depth option.