The Sox stayed away from spending the big bucks this winter, but were their moves good? I’m here to break down the three free agent signings and the lone trade that the Red Sox made this offseason.
None of us really expect the Red Sox to compete for the American League East this upcoming season. The Blue Jays made some massive moves, like signing George Springer and Marcus Semien, while the Yankees kept DJ Lemahieu. Even though the Rays traded away former Cy Young Winner Blake Snell, they still have the players to make another postseason run. The Orioles stink, and everyone knows that. But the Red Sox? They have some talented pieces that they can for sure build around. Even after John Henry traded away Mookie Betts last year, the Sox have a solid lineup, with the likes of JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers adding some star power to the team. The problem last season was that they had no real manager, their entire pitching staff was pathetic, and the bats underperformed. With Alex Cora being back, hopefully the problems at the dish will get better. But along with the arrival of Cora, the Red Sox signed and traded for a few players who filled needs and could help them for this year. Let’s go through them.
Acquisition of Adam Ottavino
The Red Sox traded with the Yankees for only the second time since 1998, and they got a pretty good player in return. Ottavino had a rough 2020 season, posting a 5.89 ERA over 24 appearances. But the two years prior to last season he was a very solid reliever, having a 2.19 ERA with 12.9 K/9 over the 2018-19 campaigns. Ottavino also has one of the best sliders in the entire league. The Sox traded virtually nothing for him, and he is immediately one of the best bullpen arms on the team. If Boston is out of contention at the deadline, any contending team with a bullpen need will trade solid prospects for him if he is back to his past form. Basically, the Red Sox traded meaningless pieces for a possibly elite bullpen arm, who could either be a big piece in the Red Sox resurgence under Cora, or could be a solid trade target that would return potentially elite prospects to the farm system. Overall, I thought this was a brilliant trade by Chaim Bloom.
Signed Kike Hernandez
The Red Sox had a hole at second base last season, and nobody on that team showed that they could fill the void that Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt left. Further, The Sox were seriously missing the versatility of a player like Holt, who left last winter. So Bloom made probably the most underrated move of the offseason by signing former Dodgers utility man Kike Hernandez. Hernandez is good enough to be the everyday second basemen for the Red Sox, who can also play basically every position on the field for the team. He’s a viable hitter, with gold glove-caliber talent in the field. A two year deal with 18$ million is a bargain, considering the needs that he immediately fills for the Sox. He also brings championship experience, since he has been a member of the recent Dodger teams that have gone far in October. I love this signing, and hopefully he can turn out to be an equal or better version of Brock Holt.
Signed Garrett Richards
The Red Sox have a decent amount of very young pitchers who look promising, but might not be ready yet for consistent big league play. Their youth in the rotation causes an issue, since Chris Sale is coming off Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t play last season. They lacked a consistent pitcher in that rotation, and the addition of pitcher Garrett Richards could be a solid signing for the Sox. Richards has a career 3.62 ERA over 10 seasons in the league. Compared to some of the starting pitchers the Red Sox put out there on the mound last season, he’s much better. He can provide a good third or fourth option in the rotation if he pans out. He also brings a veteran presence to the young guys who will pitch for the Sox in the future. His contract is one-year, 10$ million, which is very team friendly for a player at his age. Richards will probably not blow all of us away with his play this season, but he could bring some stability to what was a chaotic pitching rotation last year.
Signed Hunter Renfroe
No, not the football player. A Hunter Renfroe plays in the MLB too. While he’s not an elite player, Renfroe has solid power. He hit 85 Home Runs from 2017-2019, a pretty good mark. The Red Sox needed depth on their roster, something they didn’t have last season. Signing Renfroe gives them another outfield option that can rotate in and pinch hit. With Fenway Park being a great place for right handed power hitters, Renfroe could do some damage with the Green Monster on his side. The 310 foot left field will be very beneficial for a player like him. Renfroe also played in the World Series with the Rays this past season, brining some postseason experience with him. This obviously isn’t a massive signing for the Red Sox, but I think it was a decent one for sure. Hopefully he can become more than a platoon player for the team, and maybe hit a couple key dingers in pinch hit situations for the Sox this upcoming season.