4 massive problems the Red Sox front office needs to deal with right now

Craig Breslow Press Conference
Craig Breslow Press Conference / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Despite 16 players hitting the injured list and tepid off-season reviews, the Boston Red Sox finished April in third place in the American League East with a record of 17-13. Alex Cora, Andrew Bailey, and Craig Breslow’s ability to do their jobs at a high level have catapulted this team far past anybody’s expectations.

It’s no secret that the pitching staff is carrying the team, but the offense is posting great numbers as well. As a team, the Red Sox rank in the top 10 in baseball in the following offensive categories: hits, total bases, home runs, RBIs, wOBA, batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS, and stolen bases.

Boston ranks in the top 10 in MLB in the following pitching categories: BB/9, HR/9, left on base percentage, ground ball percentage, ERA, FIP, xFIP, hits allowed and WHIP.

The Red Sox are top 10 in the sport in nearly every major statistical category. Many players far outperforming their projections have largely contributed to that fact. Tyler O’Neill, Jarren Duran, Wilyer Abreu, Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford, and Justin Slaten have all surpassed the expectations set for them in the preseason.

Boston is playing good baseball in the early goings of the campaign, but there are certain issues that Breslow is in the process of fixing. The aim is to keep the good vibes rolling and continue to silence the skeptics. If the Red Sox are to contend for a playoff spot, these concerns need to be addressed. 

4 massive problems the Red Sox front office needs to deal with right now

Replacement Players

The number one issue plaguing the 2024 Red Sox is injuries, and Breslow is searching far and wide for depth pieces. Breslow has acquired a few DFA’d players in exchange for cash considerations to forego waiver processes and potentially lose them to another team's claim. 

He’s brought in Garrett Cooper, Dominic Smith, Zack Short, and Naoyuki Uwasawa as replacements. Bailey Horn was also acquired, but he'll start his Red Sox tenure in Triple-A. The Sox traded for pitcher Vladimir Gutiérrez, but he's since been DFA’d. Breslow has designated Joely Rodríguez, Joe Jacques and Pablo Reyes for assignment, and bequeathed their playing time to more deserving players. 

Breslow has previously stated the importance of lineup and roster flexibility, and he’s positioned the team to atone for all of the injuries the team’s sustained. He’s promoted a large number of players who started the season in AAA Worcester. As long as they produce, they’ll stick around. When they don't, he'll tap into the pipeline. Breslow will keep every viable option open throughout a long season. 

Infield Production 

Offensively, Reese McGuire and Connor Wong have provided significant run production. Wong, in particular, has been one of the best-hitting catchers in the league. However, FanGraphs ranks the Sox catching platoon at 27th in defensive WAR (mostly due to McGuire). That number strictly measures defense, as it doesn’t account for pitch calling and managing the pitching staff. They’ve been magnificent in that category. 

Boston's second basemen rank dead last in fWAR, largely due to a lack of offensive production. Vaughn Grissom’s return should help mightily in that regard. Enmanuel Valdez was recently demoted to Triple-A due to an appalling slash line and untrustworthy defense. Zack Short was brought in recently to help man the middle infield and made his first Red Sox start at second, but his plate production leaves much to be desired.

Red Sox shortstops are ranked last in Defensive WAR. Ceddanne Rafaela has helped stabilize the team’s infield defense since his move to shortstop, although his individual defensive numbers don’t necessarily reflect that. Rafaela is making all the easy plays and has collected some flashy outs on double plays, too. David Hamilton floundered and hasn’t played in a game since April 27. Pablo Reyes struggled mightily at shortstop before being designated for assignment.

Red Sox third basemen are ranked 28th in fWAR. Rafael Devers' nine missed games due to injury has not helped, and his production offensively has largely occurred as a designated hitter. Defensively, Devers has been spotty at best. He ranks last on the team in Ultimate Zone Rating, which accounts for errors, range, and double-play ability.


The Red Sox rank 26th in MLB in strikeout percentage and Boston has fanned in 25.3% of plate appearances. While the bats have been productive thus far, the strikeout numbers rival those of subpar offenses like Oakland, Colorado, and Seattle.

Strikeouts aren’t perfectly correlated to run production, but Breslow will want to avoid rostering players who strike out at high clips moving forward. Dalbec posted a whopping 48.2% strikeout rate before being demoted to Worcester. McGuire and Rafaela have also struggled with striking out this year. Masataka Yoshida’s injury hurts the team’s ability to put balls in play, as his bat-to-ball skills translate to an elite strikeout percentage.

Alex Cora's Contract

Cora's expiring contract looms like a dark cloud over the Red Sox's other successes this season. If the campaign ended today, MLB would be hard-pressed to find a more worthy candidate for American League Manager of the Year. 

Cora’s best ability is to maximize his player’s talents and deploy them in situations where they’re more likely to succeed than fail. He won’t allow pitchers like Cooper Criswell or Josh Winckowski to pitch longer than they need to, so as not to diminish their effectiveness or confidence. He deploys the bullpen remarkably well, and has his entire tenure as the Sox skipper. He bridges the gap between starting pitchers and the back-end bullpen arms in expert fashion.

If an opposing hitter is weak against a right or left-handed pitcher, he knows when to go to the bullpen and take advantage. Bench players need to stay ready, as they know Cora will pinch-hit them in favorable matchups mid-game. He’s used every position player on the lineup card a few times this season. 

Cora was mocked for his good vibes comments before the season started, and those vibes declined significantly once the rash of injuries started. Those vibes are back, and Cora deserves a lion’s share of praise for that. Hopefully, that praise comes in the form of a long-term contract extension from the Red Sox front office.  

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