Every Red Sox fan nationwide has their own ideas for how Chaim Bloom should retool the ole town team for the 2023 season. In fact, no less than four Red Sox fans in the Bleacher Brawls crew alone have their own individual blueprint that they believe would give the Red Sox the best possible chance of capturing their fifth championship since 2004.
Three of us have taken the time to carefully lay out our ideal Red Sox offseason moves this week. So without further ado, here are the detailed offseason plans that Doug, Derrik, and myself want to see Chaim Bloom make before Opening Day.
- Offer Rafael Devers ten years/$310 million. If he agrees, great. If not, offer him 10 years/$320 million next year.
- Re-sign Michael Wacha for three years in the range of $39 million – $45 million. This gives you three good starting pitchers with Wacha, Brayan Bello, and Nick Pivetta, while banking on a healthy Chris Sale as a fourth.
- Make an attempt at signing one of the big three free agent starting pitchers, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, or Carlos Rodon, giving you a solid starting four with Sale, the eternal question mark, as nothing more than the fifth starter.
- Let Xander Bogaerts walk. Sign a short-term stopgap shortstop like Jose Iglesias to fill in until Marcelo Mayer is ready to reach the big leagues.
- Start Triston Casas at first base with Eric Hosmer spending time at DH (for the league minimum salary), with the ability to slide over to first if Casas is demoted or struggles.
- Learn how to build a bullpen, Chaim! Spend some money on actual good bullpen pieces not named Jake Diekman.
- Have Rob Refsnyder and Christian Arroyo split time in right field, with Arroyo also being used as a backup infielder.
- Have Connor Wong and Reese McGuire share catching duties.
- Emphasize pitching, pitching, and more pitching!!! Offense was not the issue last year, so there’s not really anything to fix.
- Re-sign Bogaerts or target Trea Turner to replace him. Bogaerts personally means more to the Red Sox, but Turner can be the more traditional leadoff hitter the lineup needs.
- Be aggressive targeting starting pitching on the free agent market. I’d target Tyler Anderson, Kodai Senga, Rodon, and Wacha (maybe a guy like Jameson Taillon or Taijuan Walker could also fit). I’d want a minimum of two of those four pitchers. Pivetta worries me and Sale is a huge question mark. If you miss on most of these guys, you can fall back on Andrew Heaney, Ross Stripling, Noah Syndergaard, and/or Sean Manaea. Worst case scenario options include guys like Michael Lorenzen, Mike Clevinger, and Matthew Boyd.
- Figure out the bullpen. Keep Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck in the pen, along with John Schreiber and Matt Barnes. Cut Ryan Braiser and Matt Strahm loose.
- Aim for guys like Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin to supplement the holes in the bullpen, while also seeking other options in trades.
- Seek a right fielder. My preference would be to trade for Ramon Laureano, or acquire Michael Conforto or Mitch Haniger in free agency. We all know Aaron Judge is not walking through that door.
- Target a DH on a one-year deal if it makes sense. Michael Brantley, Trey Mancini, Justin Turner, or Joc Pederson could be good fits. A righthanded bat would be ideal.
- Explore the option of having three catchers on the roster via a Christian Vazquez reunion, or maybe adding Mike Zunino.
- Add a solid, versatile bench piece like Aledmys Diaz or Chad Pinder, someone who can help out if injuries are a problem again.
- Keep Arroyo in the infield, which is best for the team, despite his willingness to play outfield. Refsnyder will suffice as a fourth outfielder, as would Diaz or Pinder if Bloom acquires one of them.
- Last, but absolutely positively not least … extend Rafael Devers!!!
- Offer Bogaerts no more than six years for $150 million. He’ll get better offers elsewhere, and if he takes one of them, say goodbye. He disappears offensively from June through August every season, and his production does not justify the kind of contract Boras is seeking for him. For that kind of money, you may as well sign Trea Turner, a better all-around player of the same age.
- Make extending Devers your top priority. Without breaking the bank for Bogaerts, there is no excuse whatsoever to not lock Devers up before the season. Allowing Devers to hit the market would be a colossal mistake, and allowing him to leave would be no less than a fireable offense for Bloom, whose strategy I have supported unwaveringly since he arrived in Boston.
- Since the team has already essentially declared that Whitlock will begin the year in the starting rotation, put Tanner Houck back in the closer role. John Schreiber should remain the primary setup guy/fireman that can get you out of tough jams.
- Just like I wanted last year, I want to see Bloom focus most of his non-Devers spending on relief pitching. I know that’s not Bloom’s style, and I agree that banking on high-priced relief pitchers is the biggest crapshoot of them all. However, this team does not have a single decent lefthanded reliever on the roster. I’d like to see them bring back Matt Strahm and tell him to stuff his hopes of becoming a starting pitcher.
- Andrew Chafin is the best available lefty reliever on the market, so I want Bloom to pursue him aggressively. 2016 was his only actual bad season (the 2020 fake season doesn’t count), so he’s as safe a bet as you’ll find for a relief pitcher.
- Dump Ryan Brasier and Darwinzon Hernandez in a swamp full of hungry alligators. Roll with Kutter Crawford, Zack Kelly, and Matt Barnes to fill out the bullpen. Combat any injuries and/or struggles with a carousel of Josh Winckowski/Kaleb Ort/Frank German/Bryan Mata from Worcester.
- Boston needs a right fielder and another productive righthanded bat. Aside from Aaron Judge, the oft-injured Mitch Haniger is the only guy I feel has the potential to fill both of those needs within a single roster spot. Bloom loves himself a reclamation project, and Haniger had outstanding 2018 and 2021 seasons, playing 157 games each year. Bringing him in to play half his games in right field (to tandem with Refsnyder) and half as DH could help keep him productive over the course of the year, and his injury riddled 2022 will make him available pretty cheap.
- I’d love to pluck a solid starting pitcher off the market, but I fear that Bloom is set on a MASH unit rotation including Pivetta, Whitlock, Sale, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and Nathan Eovaldi. I’m hoping that the Red Sox move on from Eovaldi and make a good offer to bring back Michael Wacha on a two- or three-year deal. Wacha’s durability is a concern, but hell, so is Eovaldi’s, deGrom’s, Verlander’s, and Rodon’s.
- Crawford and Winckowski are already in the organization for insurance, giving the Red Sox a group of eight starting pitchers with good potential. The problem with this approach, clearly, is the lack of big-game studs that can gut out wins in October. Can Pivetta, Whitlock, and/or Bello make a big leap forward? Can Wacha, Sale, and/or Paxton regain the ace form they’ve shown in the past?
Well, we’ve laid our offseason plans out for the world to see. Who do you think came the closest to filling all the Red Sox’s needs? What would you like to see the Chaim Bloom do this offseason? Let us know in the comments.