Are Red Sox becoming destination for undesirable free agent targets?

Sep 8, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52) throws
Sep 8, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mike Clevinger (52) throws / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox are one of the premier franchises in Major League Baseball. At least, they used to be. But the team doesn't feel that way anymore.

After missing out on many high-profile signings in the past few seasons — think Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Xander Bogaerts — the Red Sox have had to settle for lower-caliber free agents. Bringing Corey Kluber and Adam Duvall to Boston didn't exactly move the needle.

Fenway Park is becoming something of an island of misfit toys, a place where former stars or middle-of-the-road players come to bolster their reputation. The Red Sox's newest addition to the starting rotation is a good example.

Lucas Giolito admitted to not receiving many offers as a free agent this offseason. He said the Sox were one of the only teams to reach out to him, but that they pursued him aggressively. Whether or not Boston showed the same aggression in its pursuit of Yamamoto or Shōta Imanaga is unknown.

After two more than lackluster seasons, Giolito needed a team to take a chance on him to help reverse the damage done to his ERA and reputation. For some reason, the Red Sox are ready and willing to help rather than sign free agents who have the potential to make significant improvements to the team.

Are the Red Sox falling out of favor with successful players?

The newest free agent eyeing the Red Sox is Mike Clevinger, someone whose fallen off the map in more ways than one. Clevinger has named Boston as one of his preferred landing spots, according to WEEI.

Clevinger wouldn't necessarily be a bad fit for the Sox. He would be looking for a short-term deal, which Boston's front office seems more inclined to give in recent years. He could eat some innings that the Sox's other starters wouldn't be able to make. He has a career 3.45 ERA and he would likely come at a lower price, which John Henry loves. But entering his age-33 season, his best days are far behind him. He hasn't made more than 24 starts in a season since 2018.

The Red Sox have everything at their disposal to sign the top free agents on the market and not middle-of-the-line players trying to revive their careers.

Boston used to have a big-market reputation. The Red Sox used to be a team frequently in contention for high-profile players. Now, the front office claims to be in the running without making a competitive offer to back it up. And they keep getting away with it because the seats at Fenway Park will never be empty enough to make a difference.

Rather than acting as a glorified rehab for players that other teams don't want, the Red Sox should work on their own brand. Maybe they'll be able to attract some better players that way.

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