Joey Votto - 1B/DH
Joey Votto is an all-time great at first base. While he likely wouldn't see much on-field time due to Triston Casas' presence, Casas' potential alone should be an incentive to sign Votto.
Few other first basemen could serve as a mentor to Casas as well as Votto could. He is beloved by both players and fans alike. Despite being a slightly below-league-average hitter last season with a wRC+ of 98, Votto could serve as a valuable fill-in when Casas needs rest.
At this point, many Sox fans are off the Bobby Dalbec train and would prefer to acquire someone who can help develop for the future, which aligns with Craig Breslow's emphasis on development following the "full throttle" fiasco.
Votto could cost very little, with Spotrac expecting him to garner around a $5.5 million contract, which is right around what Evan Longoria is making with the Diamondbacks. Corbin Carroll has credited Longoria as a key contributor to his Rookie of the Year campaign, and Votto could do the same for Casas, as well as any other minor leaguers who make their way up to Fenway in 2024.
Leadership is the key to creating a playoff roster. Everyone in baseball has the same ultimate goal — to win a ring. It is the long, 162-game road to get there that will separate the good teams from the great ones. And the great ones have clear voices that rise above the rest in the clubhouse to help the team get where it needs to be.
Once the clubhouse becomes selfish, things fall apart. When things fall apart, you need the guys who've been through tough times to pick people up and get the club back on track. Votto found his 2023 playing time crammed with all of the youth the Reds were moving up into the bigs, but he accepted his new role and helped them remain in contention until the final week of the season.
Boston needs a leader. Dealing with heightened expectations and intense media scrutiny is unfamiliar to guys who have never been in the big leagues or the postseason before. Red Sox Nation saw the impact Turner had on Jaren Duran as he began to mature and become a fantastic option out in center field.
Sure, the flashy, expensive free-agent options are always fun to watch, but if waiting for the farm system is the route the front office is going to pursue, they need their glue guy. Votto, Montgomery or Martinez could help the Sox win now and lay the groundwork for the long term.