Red Sox Rumors: Boston must win latest bidding war with Angels for familiar face

The Red Sox are trapped in a bidding war, yet again.
Sep 20, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Adam Duvall (18) gestures as he
Sep 20, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Adam Duvall (18) gestures as he / Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox are caught up in their latest bidding war.

In the winter of the 2023-24 offseason, Boston has been consistently out-bid for free agents by teams with less money than they possess. This one feels like a must-win.

The Angels are locked in on the fight for 2023 Red Sox outfielder Adam Duvall, per Jon Heyman of New York Post. The Sox need him, too, though. Heyman suggests he'll choose between the two teams.

Duvall arrived in Boston last season after spending two seasons with the Braves. His bat offers right-handed power that the Red Sox need, but not all the power they require. In 2023, Duvall batted .247 and knocked 21 home runs. The righty is a streaky hitter — he's bashed over 30 homers three times over his 10-year career, but when he isn't hitting 30+, Duvall is usually somewhere in the mid-teen range for long balls.

The Red Sox and Angels are in a bidding war for Adam Duvall

"Streaky" is a risk the Red Sox need to be willing to take, at this point.

In 2021, Duvall led the National League in RBI with 113. If the Red Sox aren't going to pursue the quality starting pitching they promised they would, a player who can knock in runs at a high clip is a necessity to win games. Duvall only knocked in 53 runs last season, mostly due to the extended amount of time he spent on the injured list. He fractured his wrist in early April, which led to a two-month stint on the mend.

Duvall got off to a hot start for the Sox before hurting his wrist, though. In his first week in a Boston uniform, he batted .455 and hit four home runs and 14 RBI. If he can get back to his early-season form, the Red Sox could have a better batting order than many fans anticipated.

Boston being in a bidding war for Duvall likely means the team hasabandoned its pursuit of right-handed slugger, Jorge Soler. Soler would be a more ideal fit for the Red Sox than Duvall because his bat is so well-suited to Fenway Park — Soler's power is no joke, and Duvall likely cannot compete with it. But Soler is likely less willing to accept a short deal than Duvall, who is entering his age-35 season this coming spring. John Henry hasn't been known for his exorbitant spending in recent years.

The Red Sox shouldn't have to settle for Duvall, a player they already possessed and technically not an "upgrade," but after whiffing on so many other options in free agency, they may not have a choice. Besides Soler, who the Boston front office seems unwilling to fight for, Duvall may be the next-best option. It's sad that the "next-best" is as good as it gets for the Red Sox these days, but signing Duvall is better than losing a bidding war to the Angels.

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