What does 2023 look like?

JM3

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It's odd how awful Devers is in August over his career.

wRC+ by month...

March/April 113
May 149
June 134
July 150
August 94
Sept/Oct 116

He also hits .238 in his 604 August PAs (next worse .284 in March/April).
 

Tim Salmon

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It's odd how awful Devers is in August over his career.

wRC+ by month...

March/April 113
May 149
June 134
July 150
August 94
Sept/Oct 116

He also hits .238 in his 604 August PAs (next worse .284 in March/April).
Those numbers are skewed a bit by this past August (.515 OPS, wRC+ 30) and a rough six-game stretch in 2018, when he was dealing with a leg injury in August (.697 OPS, wRC+ 93).

Otherwise his August numbers are .812 OPS, wRC+ 106 (2017); .899 OPS, wRC+ 125 (2019); .815 OPS, wRC+ 114 (2020); and .740 OPS, wRC+ 95 (2021). Not what we're used to, but nothing too alarming.
 

jbupstate

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Those numbers are skewed a bit by this past August (.515 OPS, wRC+ 30) and a rough six-game stretch in 2018, when he was dealing with a leg injury in August (.697 OPS, wRC+ 93).

Otherwise his August numbers are .812 OPS, wRC+ 106 (2017); .899 OPS, wRC+ 125 (2019); .815 OPS, wRC+ 114 (2020); and .740 OPS, wRC+ 95 (2021). Not what we're used to, but nothing too alarming.
Very alarming / Cause for alarm if it’s going to take $350m to sign him.
 

jbupstate

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I don’t really have the time at all and I’ve had a shitsteak of a day but I guarantee even Soto has months of utter garbage offense. Judge? Probably too (maybe not in ‘22?).
But Soto doesn’t have this injury history in his mid 20s. Devers last 5 seasons (from earlier post) -

2018 - hamstrings.
2019 - hamstrings.
2020 - ankle.
2021 - quads, back, and right forearm/elbow inflammation (awkward swings in the post season.)
2022 - low back pain and hamstrings.
 

JM3

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I don’t really have the time at all and I’ve had a shitsteak of a day but I guarantee even Soto has months of utter garbage offense. Judge? Probably too (maybe not in ‘22?).
I was just stating it's odd that over a significant sample size (over 600 PAs) that one month is so much worse than the rest.

But over the course of his career Soto's worst month is March/April: 129 wRC+.

Over the course of his career, Judge's worst month is August: 152 wRC+. In '22 is was June: 151 wRC+.
 

NomarG

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I never post on here but have been following since I found SOSH back in 2002. In my opinion I could see the Sox win anywhere from 75-90 games. 90 wins might be too optimistic (probably is) but I’d rather be positive about it. Gets me through this cold ass winter anyways. And while I don’t agree with every move Bloom makes I think he has a plan and I’m hoping it is similar to the one implemented by the Dodgers and not Tampa.

Regardless, the older I get and after 4 championships since 2004 I just love watching them play. And I’m excited to see the kids play and try to stay positive about the team. Those 4 championships are banked and flags fly forever. Everything after 2004 was just gravy as far I’m concerned. Happy holidays to all and everyone stay safe out there!
 

YTF

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The first 2023 Power Rankings are out... Red Sox are currently projected at 23 out of 30. It's not still early any more, is it? So that ranking sounds about right!

https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-new-years-power-rankings-2023
While it’s still the offseason, the New Year provides a perfect mile-marker for baseball fans.
It’s almost the halfway point between the World Series ending, and Spring Training games beginning.
At MLB.com, we produce two way-too-early Power Rankings during the offseason. The first one lands before the confetti has even been vacuumed up following the World Series parade, and the second arrives just as the calendar turns, when we have a little better idea of how the upcoming season might shake out but still are far from being able to predict anything with anything close to pinpoint accuracy.
The general consensus among our small and mightily confused voting body is that it’s been a dizzying offseason of deals so far, there’s still more work to be done and the best teams on paper often don’t even make it to the postseason.

Nope, not early at all.
 

Say Hey Kid

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Chaim has been our GM since October 2019 – for a total of 2.5 seasons (2020, 2021, and 2022). Pro-rating our 60-game pace in 2020 to 162 games – we’ve averaged ~78 wins per season over that stretch. ESPN’s projection of 77 wins feels a little lazy but still on point.

Bigger picture – 2023 is shaping up to be a very important season for the Sox (regardless of win total). My hypothesis (based off recent moves) is that, starting in 2023 and moving forward, we’re pivoting to a more “Rays North’ approach to positional payroll allocation, specifically.

Looking at a quick Spotrac diagnostic of 26-man roster payroll:

  • In 2022 – the Rays payroll allocation by position was ~4% to Catchers, ~18% to Infielders, ~20% to Outfielders, and ~58% to Pitchers (and this is consistent YoY)
  • Furthermore – most of that spending was heavily weighted towards the top 1-3 “Blue Chip”/”Red Chip” players by position (e.g., ~80% of investment in each position is allocated towards 1-3 guys)
  • If we pro-rate the Rays 26-man budget allocation to the Sox (call it $200M - not perfect but illustrative) – the general distribution looks like:
    • Catchers: ~$8M
    • Infielders: ~$36M (~$29M to top 2-3 players)
    • Outfielders: ~$40M (~$33M to top 2 players)
    • Pitchers: ~$115M (~$87M to top 3 players)

If we look at a few recent Red Sox moves through the above lens – [the semblance of] a plan for 2023-2025 begins to materialize:

  • Infielders: Ultimately – spend has been too heavily weighted to this positional grouping
    • Letting Bogaerts walk (and trading Devers – more on that later) creates more balance in positional spending (infielders accounted for ~40% of payroll in 2022 vs. the blueprint ~20%)
    • We’ve planted the flag that Story is our “Blue Chip” infielder ($20-25M) and [variable $10M player] is our “Red Chip” (tried to trade for Kolten Wong at $10M but settled on Turner for… $10M). The rest (Casas, Arroyo, etc.) are all cheap pieces (below "Chip" tier in terms of cost) and will be supplemented with additional cost controlled talent in Yorke/Mayer over the coming years (once again - all below the "Chip" tier)
    • Thinking about 2025 - I imagine that Turner is a short term filler for the "Red Chip" slot and that we upgrade that infield "role" next offseason
  • Outfielders: We didn’t get enough out of our “Blue Chip” outfielder (J.D. at ~$20M) in 2022
    • Yoshida is clearly our J.D. “Blue Chip” replacement – but looking towards next offseason we’re still missing the “Red Chip” outfielder (I don’t see this being Verdugo/Kike beyond 2023)
    • Cost controlled depth is on the way (via Rafaela when he’s called up) but outfield feels like an area ripe for investment based on financial flexibility that cheap infield options like Casas, Yorke, Mayer, etc. should provide over the next few years

Essentially – it feels like, for each positional grouping, we want to combine a “Blue Chip” and “Red Chip” player (with a hard ceiling of ~$20-25M and ~$10-15M, respectively) with a few low-cost options (typically in the form of minor league talent that’s cost controlled) that all costs a total ~$75-80M or less (~40% of the payroll).

Based on this – I think one of two [obvious] things happens in 2023:

  • Re-Sign Devers: Re-allocate portion of outfield budget to cover his extension (so distribution becomes ~$50M+ for Infielders and ~$25M+ for Outfielders). This works… if guys like Rafaela are studs out of the gate and Yoshida (as our only “Chip” outfielder in this scenario) lives up to the billing. If the new talent (both acquired and in the minors) doesn’t hit – a Devers extension would completely incapacitate us
  • Trade Devers: This is what I’d bet on. Realistically – the years plus money that he wants doesn’t fit into the [rough] blueprint that we seemingly want to utilize. He’ll be traded to supplement the next wave of talent and, all emotions aside, that’s probably the right move

Let me know what you all think about this interpretation of the “plan” for 2023-2025.
 

chawson

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You know who would be an interesting guy to sign right now? Andrew McCutchen.

McCutchen’s certainly not the outfielder he once was, but he's still very athletic (28.9 ft/sec second sprint speed in 2022, which would have ranked second on the team behind Duran at 29.2). I don't think he could handle Fenway's right field, but maybe there would be enough PAs for him in a complex timeshare. He could DH when Turner plays 1B spelling Casas (or Yoshida could). Kiké could move to 2B/SS on occasion, opening up a spot for McCutchen in CF/RF. Some of those PAs are earmarked for Refsnyder, but as it stands we'd be pretty exposed if literally anyone on the team goes down with an injury. I'd been thinking strictly about up-the-middle infielders, but maybe adding outfielders and using Kiké more flexibly is a viable route. Obviously if the team trades Devers, there'd be plenty of PAs for him with Turner shifting from DH to 3B.

Cutch is also a great character guy, and would fit very nicely with the team's move toward plate discipline. He's always drawn a ton of walks, and was among the top 10 percent of hitters in chase rate last year. He still hits the ball roughly as hard as he did when Statcast started tracking in 2015, and his spray chart is a good Fenway fit.

He might also, despite being right-handed, benefit from the shift ban. He was shifted on in roughly half his PAs last year (49%), and had a .274 wOBA with that alignment. Without it, he put up a .345 wOBA. He had a rough start last year like everyone did, but put up a 118 wRC+ from June 5 on.

Is he an ideal fit? No. But I think he'd be a better add than, say, Trey Mancini, Tommy Pham or A.J. Pollock. He's probably the best bat available at this point (depending whether you think Andrus' two months in Chicago are sustainable, which I do not).
 

jon abbey

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I have been thinking about him a bit for NY's LF spot also, they had him for a few months a few years ago and the way he draws walks is actually exciting, complete with bat flips on ball four. Not sure he is good enough defensively for NY to sign for LF or BOS to sign for the role you intend though, but definitely somewhat intriguing.
 

chawson

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I have been thinking about him a bit for NY's LF spot also, they had him for a few months a few years ago and the way he draws walks is actually exciting, complete with bat flips on ball four. Not sure he is good enough defensively for NY to sign for LF or BOS to sign for the role you intend though, but definitely somewhat intriguing.
Yeah, he's a likable and exciting player even without the frequent web gems. The Yankees might be better able to hide him in an outfield spot with their high-strikeout staff than the Sox could. I'd rather he join Boston's recent collection of guys for whom reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated.

As currently constituted, the whole thing could ideally break down something like this:

LF: Yoshida 525 PA, McCutchen 125, Refsnyder 50
CF: Hernández 400, Refsnyder 150, McCutchen 125
RF: Verdugo 550, Refsnyder 75, McCutchen 50
DH: Turner 375, McCutchen 200, Yoshida 50, Devers 25
3B: Devers 625, Turner 50
SS: Story 600, Hernández 75
2B: Arroyo 400, Valdez 175, Hernandez 100
1B: Casas 550, Turner 125
C: McGuire 400, Wong 275

Devers - 650 PA
Story - 600
Yoshida - 575
Hernández - 575
Turner - 550
Verdugo - 550
Casas - 550
McCutchen - 500
Arroyo - 400
Refsnyder - 275
Valdez - 175
McGuire/Wong - 675
 
Oct 31, 2013
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Cutch is also a great character guy, and would fit very nicely with the team's move toward plate discipline. He's always drawn a ton of walks, and was among the top 10 percent of hitters in chase rate last year. He still hits the ball roughly as hard as he did when Statcast started tracking in 2015, and his spray chart is a good Fenway fit.

He might also, despite being right-handed, benefit from the shift ban. He was shifted on in roughly half his PAs last year (49%), and had a .274 wOBA with that alignment. Without it, he put up a .345 wOBA. He had a rough start last year like everyone did, but put up a 118 wRC+ from June 5 on.
Petriello lists him as one of the top guys to benefit for the shift ban. Not a massive benefit but some potential.

Andrew McCutchen (free agent OF)
+8 potential hits gained / 49% shift rate
This might have been a one-year fluke. From 2019-21, McCutchen actually had a higher BABIP against the shift than without it. But in '22, his performance against standard defenses shot up, while his work against the shift fell apart. On the other hand, he turned 36 in October, so it’s hard to know if that’s an outlier or the new normal.
 

BaseballJones

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McCutchen, last 3 years, ops+: 102, 109, 99 (104 total)

He's an average or slightly above average bat, with decent power, good speed, and is below average (or outright bad) defensively. But depending on cost, wouldn't be a bad guy to have on the roster.
 

chawson

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Petriello lists him as one of the top guys to benefit for the shift ban. Not a massive benefit but some potential.

Andrew McCutchen (free agent OF)
+8 potential hits gained / 49% shift rate
This might have been a one-year fluke. From 2019-21, McCutchen actually had a higher BABIP against the shift than without it. But in '22, his performance against standard defenses shot up, while his work against the shift fell apart. On the other hand, he turned 36 in October, so it’s hard to know if that’s an outlier or the new normal.
Interesting. According to Statcast, he made 34 outs on ground balls or line drives hit into shifted defenses. That's the fourth-highest total among major leaguers last year (Seager, Alvarez, Hoskins). His expected wOBA on those batted balls is .271 — which is not great, but it's a lot higher than .000.

McCutchen, last 3 years, ops+: 102, 109, 99 (104 total)

He's an average or slightly above average bat, with decent power, good speed, and is below average (or outright bad) defensively. But depending on cost, wouldn't be a bad guy to have on the roster.
The common knowledge (mine included) is that he's bad defensively now. But FWIW, Fielding Bible has McCutchen at +5 defensive runs saved in the outfield last year (in 434 innings). He was -2 defensive runs saved in 1533 innings in 2021.

Defensive metrics are messy and noisy of course, but I think it would be odd for McCutchen to be that bad defensively, being that fast. According to Statcast, he gets bad jumps but takes good routes — kind of the anti-Kiké. He was -.4 feet compared to average last year according to Statcast, basically on par with (and slightly better than) Refsnyder, Verdugo and Pham. Not someone you want out there every day, but there are plenty of OF regulars who ranked worse (Trout, Yelich, Reynolds, Bryant, Soto, Tucker, Arozarena, Nick Gordon, Acuña) than him according to this.

The difference for me is that McCutchen's bat is a lot more interesting than Andrus' or Iglesias'. And there's a lot more defensive downside with trusting one of those two to play everyday shortstop at this point. Andrus was -4 defensive runs saved in 1220 innings last year, and Iglesias was -4 defensive runs saved in 975 innings.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Completely agree on McCutchen- seems like a great fit. Can still play, has been a winner, HOVG guy, strong veteran presence, wouldn’t require a long term deal. His walk rate was down quite a bit last year but all the advanced stats make it look like he might have another good year or two in him.
 

Max Power

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McCutchen has started 12 games in CF in the last 5 years. He doesn't seem capable of playing the position anymore.
 

JM3

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It's too bad Profar probably can't play competent RF defense...

Might as well add some more context to this post. He's 7 years younger than McCutchen & profiles as a much better hitter going forward. He's also a switch hitter & prior to last year when he was the Padres full time LF, he displayed a ton of positional versatility.

For example, in '21:

LF 118 PAs
RF 98 PAs
CF 72 PAs
1B 58 PAs
PH 36 PAs
2B 30 PAs

In '22 he had a 108 wRC+ hitting lefty & 115 as a righty. Much better walk & strikeout rates than McCutcheon. If he is capable of being non-disastrous in right, was willing to reprise his '21 role & the price was right, he would be an elite versatile piece to fill out the roster.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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McCutchen has started 12 games in CF in the last 5 years. He doesn't seem capable of playing the position anymore.
And by proxy, he's probably not a good bet to handle RF either, at least at Fenway. I think he's an intriguing option absent the Yoshida signing (and Turner to a lesser extent), but I think he might be too redundant at this stage. Not to mention, he'll probably get a more appealing offer elsewhere in terms of potential playing time.
 

moondog80

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And by proxy, he's probably not a good bet to handle RF either, at least at Fenway. I think he's an intriguing option absent the Yoshida signing (and Turner to a lesser extent), but I think he might be too redundant at this stage. Not to mention, he'll probably get a more appealing offer elsewhere in terms of potential playing time.
Yep. I think any additional OF needs to be able to handle CF. AJ Pollock?
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I like McCutheon for reasons others have expressed but agree he’s a LF now, and we already have two of those. Pollock might be a better fit, but I’m worried he’s fallen off the cliff.

Probably need to trade for a Kepler type.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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It's too bad Profar probably can't play competent RF defense...

Might as well add some more context to this post. He's 7 years younger than McCutchen & profiles as a much better hitter going forward. He's also a switch hitter & prior to last year when he was the Padres full time LF, he displayed a ton of positional versatility.

For example, in '21:

LF 118 PAs
RF 98 PAs
CF 72 PAs
1B 58 PAs
PH 36 PAs
2B 30 PAs

In '22 he had a 108 wRC+ hitting lefty & 115 as a righty. Much better walk & strikeout rates than McCutcheon. If he is capable of being non-disastrous in right, was willing to reprise his '21 role & the price was right, he would be an elite versatile piece to fill out the roster.

To bad he isn't a bullpen pitcher, at least then we'd spend on him. (That is just a cynical comment based on my distaste of the way Bloom spends, not that he's cheap.)

In all seriousness, I agree on Profar. Mentioned him as a possible option a while back because he can fill a lot of holes as you mentioned above, which I think has a good bit of value since a) we have no idea whom is going to be our starting "not Story middle infielder" for 2023 or 2024; b) we have no idea whom our starting 3b will be after this season; c) we have a lot of question marks in our outfield and d) we have no idea if Casas will ever be able to be even competent against left handed pitching (and since he wasn't in AA or AAA, it would be tough to assume he will be against MLB - though I understand and agree with giving him every chance).

As you mentioned, he walks a good bit and doesn't strike out a ton (and assuming this is something Bloom values based on guys like Yoshida, Turner, etc, I actually really like this idea as going AGAINST the grain of the three true outcomes approach the rest of baseball has been following) with a career numbers of 9.8% and 16.2% (and he's been above 11% and below 16% the past two seasons. He's also a pretty decent bet to not suck and seeing as to how our entire approach seems to be replacing having Trevor Story and all mediocre free agents besides, he fits in nicely there.

With 67th percentile arm strength, I'm kind of amazed he grades out so poorly at 3rd, but I haven't seen him play at all and am just looking at Fangraphs and Baseball Savant there, so maybe someone whom has seen him more can shed light on to a) why that is and b) if it might be at all fixable. He strikes me as a better version of Brock Holt - which can be very valuable - but I tend to assume has more value on a team that has a solid core in place and is looking for someone to cover a ton of spots as one bench piece to carry an extra pitcher, and we don't have that core any longer.

I'd far rather take a shot on him for "just" money when we still have roughly $25m to spend before going up against the luxury tax as opposed to giving up any prospect whom might be good ever for Joey Wendel or Kolten Wong based on the idea that if we're going to prioritize 2025-27, prioritize it.
 

YTF

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McCutchen, last 3 years, ops+: 102, 109, 99 (104 total)

He's an average or slightly above average bat, with decent power, good speed, and is below average (or outright bad) defensively. But depending on cost, wouldn't be a bad guy to have on the roster.
If the overall defense of the OF were better I might agree with you, but IMO part of the cost of acquiring him is the lack of a defensive upgrade.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Probably time for a bump given the Story news and timeline.

I think with the Story news that the overall goals of this offseason and the pending '23 season must be adjusted. Given the news I think the most important items of this offseason are as follows...

  1. Extend Devers: Luckily we can check this off and so in a way that feels very fair to the team and player
  2. Reset Luxury Tax: Because of the structure of the Devers extension, this look extremely achievable. Under no circumstance would it be acceptable to not reset in 2023.
  3. Find 3-4 Year Piece: I very much believe they should be searching for a cost controlled player that fits some holes within the system and they should be willing to give up major league talent to get there. I'd prefer a right handed outfielder with power, but another starting pitcher would work as well. MLB player's Verdugo, Pivetta, Duran, Dalbec, Paxton, Refsnyder, plus non Casas, Bello, Mayer, Bleis prospects all need to be available.
  4. Build the middle: The SS and now second base problem isn't just a 2023 problem. The Red Sox need to add catching, SS, CF, and 2B depth. These do not have to be superstars, but they need to address this not just for 2023 but 2024 as well. The pending free agent class is truly horrible.
  5. Core Experience: I do believe that Devers, Casas, Whitlock, Bello, and Yoshida is the start of something. I almost care more about those 5 players performance than wins and losses for 2023.
 

nvalvo

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Probably time for a bump given the Story news and timeline.

I think with the Story news that the overall goals of this offseason and the pending '23 season must be adjusted. Given the news I think the most important items of this offseason are as follows...

  1. Extend Devers: Luckily we can check this off and so in a way that feels very fair to the team and player
  2. Reset Luxury Tax: Because of the structure of the Devers extension, this look extremely achievable. Under no circumstance would it be acceptable to not reset in 2023.
  3. Find 3-4 Year Piece: I very much believe they should be searching for a cost controlled player that fits some holes within the system and they should be willing to give up major league talent to get there. I'd prefer a right handed outfielder with power, but another starting pitcher would work as well. MLB player's Verdugo, Pivetta, Duran, Dalbec, Paxton, Refsnyder, plus non Casas, Bello, Mayer, Bleis prospects all need to be available.
  4. Build the middle: The SS and now second base problem isn't just a 2023 problem. The Red Sox need to add catching, SS, CF, and 2B depth. These do not have to be superstars, but they need to address this not just for 2023 but 2024 as well. The pending free agent class is truly horrible.
  5. Core Experience: I do believe that Devers, Casas, Whitlock, Bello, and Yoshida is the start of something. I almost care more about those 5 players performance than wins and losses for 2023.
2023 season baseball ages for that group: Devers (26), Casas (23), Whitlock (27), Bello (24), Yoshida (29).

Along with Mayer (19), Bleis (18), and Rafaela (22), that's a decent collection of young talent — and, well, Yoshida, who's a bit older. It's striking that we are in desperate need of up-the-middle talent, and we have three very high ceiling up-the-middle players in the high minors.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Probably time for a bump given the Story news and timeline.

I think with the Story news that the overall goals of this offseason and the pending '23 season must be adjusted. Given the news I think the most important items of this offseason are as follows...

  1. Extend Devers: Luckily we can check this off and so in a way that feels very fair to the team and player
  2. Reset Luxury Tax: Because of the structure of the Devers extension, this look extremely achievable. Under no circumstance would it be acceptable to not reset in 2023.
  3. Find 3-4 Year Piece: I very much believe they should be searching for a cost controlled player that fits some holes within the system and they should be willing to give up major league talent to get there. I'd prefer a right handed outfielder with power, but another starting pitcher would work as well. MLB player's Verdugo, Pivetta, Duran, Dalbec, Paxton, Refsnyder, plus non Casas, Bello, Mayer, Bleis prospects all need to be available.
  4. Build the middle: The SS and now second base problem isn't just a 2023 problem. The Red Sox need to add catching, SS, CF, and 2B depth. These do not have to be superstars, but they need to address this not just for 2023 but 2024 as well. The pending free agent class is truly horrible.
  5. Core Experience: I do believe that Devers, Casas, Whitlock, Bello, and Yoshida is the start of something. I almost care more about those 5 players performance than wins and losses for 2023.
I agree 1,000% with the bolded. I'm going to add Valdez, Hock and Mata to that group as well, and seeing how Story comes back. To me there is really no difference between finishing 1 game out the playoffs or 30. None. The only difference is how you get there, and I think it's much better to "get there" because of the performance of young players that you can build around than some great season by Chris Sale and Justin Turner (obvious trade implications of jettisoning older players aside).

The Devers extension was literally the only piece of this off-season that would make me believe either a) there in fact IS a reasonable plan and maybe Bloom can execute it or b) there probably is a plan, but there is no chance of Bloom being able to execute it. In my opinion, extending Devers probably gives (and should) give Bloom a leash to see what Mayer, et al, can do.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I dunno, I think there’s a big difference in finishing one game out of the playoffs or 30. There’s a lot of a value in a competitive and enjoyable season and all that comes with it, IMO. I wouldn’t mortgage the future for this years team but I think the organization should look for incremental improvements wherever they can. You never know what happens once they start playing.
 

joe dokes

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I dunno, I think there’s a big difference in finishing one game out of the playoffs or 30. There’s a lot of a value in a competitive and enjoyable season and all that comes with it, IMO. I wouldn’t mortgage the future for this years team but I think the organization should look for incremental improvements wherever they can. You never know what happens once they start playing.
Same here. Just the fact that they are playing 20 fewer games against AL East teams increases the chances of remaining competitive longer.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I dunno, I think there’s a big difference in finishing one game out of the playoffs or 30. There’s a lot of a value in a competitive and enjoyable season and all that comes with it, IMO. I wouldn’t mortgage the future for this years team but I think the organization should look for incremental improvements wherever they can. You never know what happens once they start playing.
Sure - in the latter scenario you have a chance to get Marcelo Mayer. In the former you don't.

To be clear, I think it's a WORLD of difference finishing 1 game out because Whitlock, Bello, Casas and Yoshida show they are part of the core vs great seasons from Sale, Turner, Kluber and Hernandez. But it's all in building for 2025 and beyond in my opinion.

Though I fully admit that is personal preference and I'm in the minority.
 

8slim

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Sure - in the latter scenario you have a chance to get Marcelo Mayer. In the former you don't.

To be clear, I think it's a WORLD of difference finishing 1 game out because Whitlock, Bello, Casas and Yoshida show they are part of the core vs great seasons from Sale, Turner, Kluber and Hernandez. But it's all in building for 2025 and beyond in my opinion.

Though I fully admit that is personal preference and I'm in the minority.
I'm not sure you're in the minority. I imagine many of us would love to see the Sox be competitive this season on the backs of younger players. It'd give us a lot more hope for '24 and beyond, that's for sure.

I do agree with @Petagine in a Bottle in wanting to see a season where we legitimately compete for a playoff spot. My expectations are fairly low, and the minimum is to be able to spend the summer looking at the standings each morning and thinking we have a reasonable shot. Once we get to Labor Day weekend and football starts, its all gravy.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I meant more in that overall I think it's better to have a clear "sell" situation so that you can build up assets for the mid 2020s window. I don't want a repeat of keeping the 2023 version of guys like Wacha, Hill, Strahm and JDM and still finishing in last place. So therefore I'd rather be out by a large margin so that we sell those pieces THAN be "2 games out" at the deadline, miss the playoffs, and not build for the future. I think I'm in the minority there.

To be clear, I do think it's a different scenario IF you end up being close because Whitlock and Bello look like future aces, Casas and Yoshida look like core line up pieces and we come up just a little short as opposed to the kids looking awful but Sale, Paxton, Turner and Hernandez looking great. But in the hypothetical scenario of the former I'd say "buy" to create a winning culture, in the latter I'd say "sell" to get more future assets.
 

Apisith

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Rojas to the Dodgers for a 45FV prospect already in AAA. We have six 45FV prospects: Seabold, Gimenez, Rafaela, Romero, Hernandez, Walter). This is based on fangraphs’ 2022 updated report. I imagine the 2023 report will have Gimenez, Seabold, Hernandez dropping. Walter was injured. Only Romero and Rafaela that are equivalent to what the Dodgers sent. Amaya was the Dodgers’ #15 ranked prospect. He would probably be #6 or #7 for us.

The only conclusion I have is the Dodgers’ farm system is incredibly deep. We are most likely two years away from having that kind of farm system.
 

Sox Puppet

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Honestly, instead of putting Duran at 2B for a trial, I'd rather they just go with Valdez and call it a day. Nothing wrong with seeing what we have in him, and if his defense is really atrocious, at least that's a data point.
 

BravesField

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Oct 27, 2021
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I meant more in that overall I think it's better to have a clear "sell" situation so that you can build up assets for the mid 2020s window. I don't want a repeat of keeping the 2023 version of guys like Wacha, Hill, Strahm and JDM and still finishing in last place. So therefore I'd rather be out by a large margin so that we sell those pieces THAN be "2 games out" at the deadline, miss the playoffs, and not build for the future. I think I'm in the minority there.

To be clear, I do think it's a different scenario IF you end up being close because Whitlock and Bello look like future aces, Casas and Yoshida look like core line up pieces and we come up just a little short as opposed to the kids looking awful but Sale, Paxton, Turner and Hernandez looking great. But in the hypothetical scenario of the former I'd say "buy" to create a winning culture, in the latter I'd say "sell" to get more future assets.
Maybe you're in the minority, but not completely wrong.

Facts are, Sox were a last place team in the East. Probably only Kike, Devers and Verdugo will be the only returning starters come April. And from what I see, teams are going to probably pitch around Devers. Perhaps our pitching will improve, but the offense seems pretty underwhelming.

Frankly, I'd be amazed if any of the, so called experts or pundits, have the Sox over .500
 

Jack Rabbit Slim

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It is mid-January now, about a month until spring training is set to kick off, and there are a few more things that need to be addressed before the season starts.

  • Right Handed Hitting - The Sox were already a bit lacking on right handed hitting before the Story injury, and now it is likely that 4 of their 5 best hitters (Devers, Turner, Casas, Verdugo, Yoshida) are LHH. There will need to be an addition to address this or they will be very vulnerable to lefty starters. My hope is they grab Adam Duvall as a 4th OF for something in the 1/$7 range Pollock signed for. He had a down year last year but still put up a 0.844 OPS against LHP and is good enough defensively to cover at least the corners and maybe CF (he played 44 games there last year for the Braves). An OF of Yoshida/Kike/Verdugo/Duvall/Ref is solid if unspectacular offensively and defensively. It could be better defensively if they also swapped out Verdugo for Kepler, but that obviously comes with an offensive downgrade.
  • Shortstop - With Story out, they need to add a real shortstop and maybe even another MI utility player. My preference would be to get Haesong Kim from the Padres and there seems to be some movement/smoke to that happening. I would be willing to send Houck as the main piece, but Arroyo would need to stay as the presumptive 2B until Story is back. With Arroyo's own problems staying on the field, it would seem prudent to keep Valdez in AAA as depth and get another MI, but maybe this could be Niko Goodrum.
  • Left handed reliever - Currently the LHRP depth is Joely Rodriguez and Josh Taylor, with maybe Chris Murphy as the only AAA option for a callup. Taylor missed all of last year with back problems so it would seem they need to add here. Bonus points if they can be a swingman to add depth to the starting rotation, especially if Houck is headed out in a trade. I like Matt Moore for this spot, put up good numbers as a reliever only last year but obviously has starting experience. Andrew Chafin is another option, but no starting experience.
  • Top of the rotation starting pitching - To truly be considered a contender, they would need to add someone here, but I personally don't see it happening. The price for anyone good enough with multiple years of control would completely reset the farm system and trades like Rafaela for Lopez don't move the needle enough to be worth the loss of future value. I think they are stuck with standing pat and hoping the Sale/Paxton/Bello group steps up to the challenge.
As far as budget, Cot's shows AAV at $205M and Fangraphs shows $211M (although I think they are wrong to show $2.5M still on the books for Hosmer), so we have somewhere in the $22-28M range left over. With the decision to keep Raffi at his arb number for 2023, it is likely that the first threshold is a hard cap. Adding Duvall ($7M), Kim ($7M), and Moore ($5M?)
leaves them enough room for potential bonuses or even a small addition at the deadline if they are in it.
 

kazuneko

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Duran played 2B in college but only a few games there in the pro's in 2018. I wonder if they play around with him and Kike in spring training at all or is Duran worse at 2B than he is in CF?
Does anyone know how Duran graded as a CF in the minors? He was horrific in Fenway, but there have been some attempts to pin this on anxiety. He looked like a guy who wasn’t good even when he wasn’t turning outs into inside-the-parkers, but it would be interesting to know if was able to approach average in Worcester. I tend to feel that even if we can attribute some of his struggles to anxiety, Fenway is not the place to work on it. Fenway fans don’t forget and if he’s the starting CF he will have a target on his back from day 1. He probably needs to go back to the minors to relearn 2b or be traded to Kansas City..
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Does anyone know how Duran graded as a CF in the minors? He was horrific in Fenway, but there have been some attempts to pin this on anxiety. He looked like a guy who wasn’t good even when he wasn’t turning outs into inside-the-parkers, but it would be interesting to know if was able to approach average in Worcester. I tend to feel that even if we can attribute some of his struggles to anxiety, Fenway is not the place to work on it. Fenway fans don’t forget and if he’s the starting CF he will have a target on his back from day 1. He probably needs to go back to the minors to relearn 2b or be traded to Kansas City..
He's never been considered a good outfielder, particularly in CF. They moved him to the outfield because he was athletic and fast, hoping that would cover for his deficiencies until he figured it out. By all appearances, he hasn't really figured it out.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Duran strikes me as a guy who is a really good athlete, but not a very good baseball player. His instincts just seem really poor, wonder if he’s really into baseball all that much? Now I guess I’m projecting a bit but none of what I’ve heard from him gives me the impression that he really gets it. You’d hope he’d realize that he’s probably down to his last shot in Boston, if that.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Looking at the Sox prospects, what is the timeline for potentially seeing these guys in Fenway?

Here's a rough stab at it:

2023: Bello and Casas start the season with the Sox; Valdez, Walter, German, Mata throughout the year, maybe Rafaela at the end of the summer?
2024: Rafaela takes over as full time CF, not sure where Lugo would fit, but he could be a part of the plan. Maybe Meyer and Yorke in the late summer? Maybe Hickey gets a look?
2025: Meyer at SS, Yorke, Gonzalez, Paulino, Hickey
2026: Bleis, Jordan, Romero, Bonaci.
 
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Cassvt2023

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Jan 17, 2023
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I think the Sox need to add thru free agency at this point and keep the potential for trading prospects (aside from Meyer, Yorke, Bleis, Cedenna, etc..) midseason or at deadline if they have a legit playoff shot. The expections are if some or team is willing to overpay for Dalbec, Duran or Pivetta. Two more lineup pieces are needed, and I believe they should be out of the Andrus, Duvall, Profar trio. Elvis is the best defender of the 3, would get the most SS starts, still has some pop and steals some bases. (and a great name) Duvall has the most power potential from right side, can play anywhere in the OF and could allow Kiki to move to middle infield for a lot of his at bats. Profar is the most versatile of the 3 and has the best potential OBP, something Chaim seems to value. 2 of these 3 easily fit into their budget. Along these same lines, having JD gone gives Cora much more lineup flexibility. Keeping guys off their feet in the field but their bats in the lineup can only help guys like Turner (38) Raffy (he's here for 10 more years, gotta keep him fresh), Arroyo (injury prone) Yoshida (by all accounts a sub-par defender but great bat we hope). I think we'll see Cora doing what Cash does in TB more, which is various DH's on a day to day, no real set lineups, and guys being adept at playing more than one position in the field. Thoughts??
 

soxhop411

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Verdugo's brother said the following on twitter today:

-had a broken toe for first two months of 2022 season, played through it
- tried to bulk up for power a la Benintendi 2019, switching back this offseason

https://www.reddit.com/r/redsox/comments/10ew9to/a_thread_of_tweets_from_verdugos_brother/
View: https://twitter.com/sirdugo520/status/1615500837643776000?s=20&t=3UJEdFhp-tdK3INr9mPEuQ


Boston trainers gave him a workout plan to follow and he’s doing it and then some. Last year we focused on strength and adding size, but the ball changes hurt him, Alex was in top 10 unluckiest hitters in MLB last year. 2023 will be a laser show.
View: https://youtu.be/DPvMOVFshyI
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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That’s encouraging. Hell, Verdugo hit 304/356/448 in the second half. I think we are reading too much into what was a lousy defensive season, potentially partially rationalized by an injury, and that he will bust out this year.
 

joe dokes

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That’s encouraging. Hell, Verdugo hit 304/356/448 in the second half. I think we are reading too much into what was a lousy defensive season, potentially partially rationalized by an injury, and that he will bust out this year.
Brother Verdugo's "bulking" info tracks with Cora's observation about his decreased agility.
When he got here, I thought verdugo would be a good leadoff hitter. A not-trying-to-hit-bombs Verdugo would again be.