This afternoon, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, General Manager Brian O’Halloran, President Sam Kennedy and Manager Alex Cora spoke to the media (including the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey) to wrap up the 2022 season and clarify off-season team moves.
The quartet clarified that Xander Bogaerts is a top priority, with Bloom saying the Red Sox are “going to work very hard” to create a long-term shortstop deal. Bloom continued, adding that he hopes the Red Sox can get a deal done before the Bogaerts pull out and that the Bogaerts deal is “something we can work on immediately.”
Bogaerts previously signed a six-year, $120 million extension in 2019 with an option to opt out after the 2022 season. The star shortstop hasn’t officially said whether he’ll exercise the opt-out, but he is ready to do it and earn much more in the open market. Bogaerts said yesterday that he and the team have had no recent extension talks.
Bogaerts is the Red Sox’s longest-serving player, having made his debut at age 20 in August 2013 and won two World Series with the club. Since his debut, the 30-year-old has continued to develop and post strong results, slashing .307/.377/.456 with 15 homers and 38 doubles in the 2022 season. Over the past five seasons, Bogaerts has posted a .301/.373/.508 slant line for a strong .880 OPS with 105 home runs, earning three All-Star and MVP spots in the previous four seasons, finishing fifth in the 2019 season.
If Bogaerts leaves the team, the Red Sox have options internally. Trevor’s Story, signed to a six-year, $140 million deal in the 2021 offseason, has considerable short-term experience. However, Story expressed his preference to stay second and keep Bogaerts in the short term. Utility Men Kike Hernandez and Christian Arroyo both have experience at shortstop, but neither produces an offensive output comparable to Bogaerts.
Plus, the Red Sox’s top prospect Marcelo Mayer, ranked the seventh-best prospect by MLB.com, is coming off his first full minor league season, posting a solid .280/.399/.489 line between Low-A and High-A. MLB.com currently projects the 19-year-old will make his debut in the 2024 season. However, Bloom said prospects years away from the Majors won’t impact the Red Sox’s approach to the game. to their 2023 team.
Transition to Raphael Deversthe slugger said Wednesday that he would be open to discussing a long-term deal this offseason (via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). The Red Sox and Devers apparently weren’t close during their spring training negotiations, but Bloom reiterated today “we’d like to” explore a long-term deal with Devers, by Speier.
Devers is heading into his final season of refereeing eligibility, as Mookie Bets was before his blockbuster trade to the Dodgers. Bloom dismissed the possibility of trading Devers, saying “it’s not on our radar” and that everything the team has done (farm system and payroll) has been done in a way that the team ” never be in that position.” [of trading a player like Betts] again.” Bloom added that while there’s always a chance he could get a trade offer that was “stupid to walk away,” Devers “is a guy we want to build with.”
Unlike Bogaerts, the Red Sox have fewer inside options to replace Devers in the hot corner. Arroyo and Hernandez are capable of playing there, but, as is the case with the shortstop, neither of them provide the offensive output that Devers brings to the team. Bobby Dalbec could be a candidate for third base. However, the right-hander has yet to produce consistently at the major league level, slashing 0.232/0.298/0.456 backed by a solid 0.263/0.359/0.600 in his first season at the end of 2020. Throw Downs and Ryan Fitzgerald are both Triple-A contenders who could see time if needed, but both will likely continue their Triple-A development.
Similar to Meyer, ninth best prospect Blaze Jordan just completed its first full season in a minor league. Across Low-A and High-A, the 19-year-old posted a combined line of .289/.363/.445. Jordan is also expected to make his debut in the 2024 season, which could be accelerated to line up with a departure from Devers.
Crossing to the other side of the infield, Bloom spoke of the arrivals of Eric Hosmer and Triston Casas. “I don’t know yet,” he admitted when asked if there was room on the roster for two left-handed first basemen, according to Mass Live’s Christopher Smith. “Obviously when we had Hoz we were focused on what he could give us right now and didn’t want to rush Triston. I think after that Triston showed us in Triple-A, coming back from that injury once he settled in, really the best we’ve seen from him or at least I’ve seen since I’ve been here…. That’s something we’re going to have to look at.
Hosmer was acquired at the trade deadline and posted a .244/.320/.331 weak line with the Red Sox in 45 at-bats. He arrived with three years remaining on his eight-year, $144 million contract he signed in 2018 with the Padres, but San Diego is paying all but the league’s minimum wage. Hosmer certainly won’t opt for the remaining $39 million on his contract, but Boston could leave the veteran at no financial cost if they wanted to go full-time to Casas.
Casas is Boston’s second-best prospect, after Mayer, and is ranked the 25th prospect by MLB.com. The slugger made his debut in early September and finished the season with a 15-for-76 (.197) record with 23 strikeouts. However, he had a strong 20% walk rate, .358 on-base percentage and sent five balls over the fence. Bloom said the Red Sox were happy with how Casas “progressed over the last two months of the season,” noting that “he was a tough bat every time” and that the team is “excited to see how he learns. of his brief experience in the Salon.
Bloom also noted that the Red Sox “fully expect” them to consider the possibility of adding to their outside catching squad, per Speier. He suggested the Red Sox see Reese McGuire and Connor Wang as having “raised the floor”, but left open the possibility of adding impact. Willson Contreras is the best clear free agent available at the position, while the deadline trade target Sean Murphy could be made available by the A’s again. McGuire had a strong start to the Red Sox’s tenure, slashing a solid .337/.377/.500 for an .877 OPS with three homers in 98 at bat. However, these lofty numbers are inflated by an incredible .411 BABIP. Wong was less productive, posting a line of 0.188/0.273/0.315, with a high strikeout rate of 28.6%.
Meanwhile, Cora has announced that the Red Sox are hoping to bring back their entire coaching staff for next season, according to Mass Live’s Chris Cotillo. However, some staff may have the chance to be interviewed for leadership positions this winter. bench trainer Will Venablein particular, has been a frequent contender for managerial positions in past offseasons.