Red Sox owners let rest of offseason plan slip with Wilyer Abreu quote

Sep 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Wilyer Abreu (52) hits a
Sep 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Wilyer Abreu (52) hits a / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

At Winter Weekend, the Red Sox's winter fan festival, management and ownership confirmed a lot of the worst fears for Sox fans.

Payroll is likely to be less than it was in 2023, which means Boston probably is finished shopping for free agents to add to its existing roster, which was uncompetitive last year. Chairman Tom Werner all but confirmed that the roster is set with an unsuspecting comment about rookie outfielder Wilyer Abreu, reported by MassLive's Christopher Smith.

“I’m looking forward to [Abreu] having 400 at-bats,” Werner said. “There’s a lot to be excited about. We admit that our pitching wasn’t strong last year but I expect improvement. I expect the people who are on our team and we have a young core — will be a step closer to being excellent.”

The confirmation that Abreu will be getting 400 at-bats this season likely ends the Red Sox's outfielder search and effectively ends the pursuit of a powerful bat with it. The front office has convinced itself that every necessary improvement to the roster can be met with pieces the club already has.

Red Sox Nation will get a real look at Wilyer Abreu this season

At a certain point, fans should be excited for Abreu to get a shot at everyday play in 2024. Red Sox Nation will be getting another look at a piece from the farm system the front office is so proud of. It's almost time to decide if the hype is true.

After Winter Weekend and seemingly endless pressure from fans online, it seems like nothing will change the front office's minds about going with what the team already has. Therefore, fans might as well hope for the young players to thrive.

Abreu made 28 appearances in the big leagues last season, so Sox fans already have some idea of his capabilities. In his 76 at-bats, Abreu registered 24 hits. Two were home runs, six were doubles, and he finished with a .316 batting average. He knocked in 14 runs and earned nine free passes.

Abreu's numbers for his first stint in the big leagues were good, although he's only had a small number of plate appearances. The front office may be hoping for him to have a Triston Casas-like first full season — Casas started off slow, but he became a significant part of the Red Sox's roster after the All-Star break and found himself in legitimate contention for American League Rookie of the Year.

But Abreu's presence on the roster likely will not make up for the absence of a veteran outfielder. His bat doesn't rival that of Jorge Soler and his arm strength/valuedon't match up with Teoscar Hernández's (on a long-term, proven level). Both players were on the Red Sox's free-agent radar earlier in the offseason.

Red Sox Nation is struggling to be optimistic about the moves, or lack of moves, that Boston has made this offseason. But giving Abreu a shot at everyday play could be spun multiple ways. Fans could be upset to see that ownership isn't pursuing proven players, be excited that we're finally getting a look at the farm system the ownership has been hyping up so much, or a combination of both.

Red Sox fans can be sure, though, that after Werner made and retracted his "full-throttle" statement, Boston's prospects had better be worth the fanfare the front office has been piling on them. The team is relying on them, after all.

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