Who plays right field for the Sox in 2023?

Who plays right field for the Sox in 2023?

  • Verdugo, current configuration (Pham re-ups with Sox)

    Votes: 16 11.0%
  • Verdugo, acquiring a different left fielder (explain who)

    Votes: 4 2.8%
  • Refsnyder

    Votes: 10 6.9%
  • Refsnyder platoon (with Cordero or Duran)

    Votes: 10 6.9%
  • Wilyer Abreu

    Votes: 2 1.4%
  • Judge

    Votes: 23 15.9%
  • Nimmo

    Votes: 15 10.3%
  • Third-tier FA right-fielder, Verdugo stays in LF (Duvall, Gallo, Haniger, Pederson, Pollock, et al.)

    Votes: 29 20.0%
  • Trade candidate (Garcia, Grisham, Kepler, Santander, Yastrzemski, et al.)

    Votes: 30 20.7%
  • Other (explain)

    Votes: 6 4.1%

  • Total voters
    145

chawson

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Since so many of our discussions about next year's team veer into relitigations of the Mookie and Renfroe trades and their respective fallouts, or into Judge's upcoming free agency, it seems like a good time to dedicate a thread to this question alone.

Who plays right field next year?

The position was a disaster zone for the Sox in 2022. Boston right fielders have put up a .232/.296/.363 line, good for a 82 wRC+ that's (currently) 24th in MLB.

The full total of major-league right fielders expected to hit free agency are Jackie Bradley Jr., Kole Calhoun, Michael Conforto, Adam Duvall, Joey Gallo, Ben Games, Robbie Grossman, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Wil Myers and A.J. Pollock. Other outfield free agents include left fielders Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Tyler Naquin, Joc Pederson, David Peralta and Tommy Pham (who has a mutual option with the Sox); center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and swiss-army knives Chad Pinder and Jurickson Profar.

I see the free agents in four tiers: Judge is one, with an expected salary of roughly $300 over most of a decade. Nimmo is the second tier, with a contract somewhere between $50-100M over 4-5 years. The third is a bunch of established regulars with age or injury warts who will likely get between 1-3 years (Benintendi, Brantley, Gallo, Haniger, Kiermaier, Pollock), and the fourth tier is the scrap heap (JBJ, Games, Grossman, et al.).

There's evidence that defense is a strong consideration. Chaim Bloom and other Sox officials are on record that they view Fenway's right field as "a second CF position" and the most difficult right field in baseball. Statcast's list of MLB right fielders organized by (OAA) over 2021-22 is available here. (Potential trade target Max Kepler is +20 OAA; potential FA target Mitch Haniger is -7).

Alex Verdugo has reportedly told Alex Cora that he prefers to stay in left field, but has played right field since the Pham acquisition. He has put up a 0 Outs Above Average (OAA) mark there -- so, he's been average. Kiké Hernandez has re-upped for 2023 and has plenty of right field experience, but since he's never played an inning for us there I'm assuming he stays in center. I'm considering the Christian Arroyo RF experiment closed.

The Sox prospect closest to the majors who could play right field is Wilyer Abreu, who just put up a 124 wRC+ as a 23-year-old in AAA, including a 20% BB rate. Long-term, the position likely belongs to Miguel Bleis, an 18-year-old with extremely loud tools, and who may be able to stick in center.

Much as I'd have aesthetically enjoyed listing every conceivable option, the poll only allows 10, so please do elaborate if your answer is a scenario I've missed, or one that falls into one of the lower-tier FA or trade candidate categories.
 
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Daniel_Son

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I really really want them to sign Judge, but I'm betting Bloom sticks with Refsnyder and we see Abreu come up at some point in May/June.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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I went with a third-tier right fielder with Verdugo staying in left field. There's no way Verdugo should be every day right fielder coming out of spring training. I haven't looked at any defensive metrics, but he fails the eye test with me. A right field platoon involving either Cordero or Duran sounds like a really bad plan. With other major holes to fill, especially with Xander opting out, Raffy needing to be dealt with, and a major rebuild in the bullpen being necessary, there are bigger priorities that would be harder to fill than right field. I can't see the front office going for a big-name free agent to play right field. Bloom seems to be betting his legacy on his prospects, so I can't see any of them being dealt unless a really big name comes back. That leaves the lesser free agents. Personally, I'd be pulling for A.J. Pollock if for no other reason than he's from Connecticut.
 

Just a bit outside

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They were talking about Conforto on the broadcast the other night. I think I would be willing to take a flyer on him compared to the guys mentioned above. I am very curious to his market value coming off not playing for a year.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Refsnyder and Duran platoon. Basically the entire Outfield by Committee.
Abreu gets an extended time after injury or Duran incompetence
 

Spud

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They were talking about Conforto on the broadcast the other night. I think I would be willing to take a flyer on him compared to the guys mentioned above. I am very curious to his market value coming off not playing for a year.
He sounded intriguing until I found the news about him turning down 2/30 with the Astros in August. That, on top of him turning down the 18.4 QO from the Mets, makes me think that he won't be interested in any team that thinks it might be able to get him on a "flyer".
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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He sounded intriguing until I found the news about him turning down 2/30 with the Astros in August. That, on top of him turning down the 18.4 QO from the Mets, makes me think that he won't be interested in any team that thinks it might be able to get him on a "flyer".
What will a team offer him? He hasn’t played MLB in over a year by the time he signs (if) a contract
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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He sounded intriguing until I found the news about him turning down 2/30 with the Astros in August. That, on top of him turning down the 18.4 QO from the Mets, makes me think that he won't be interested in any team that thinks it might be able to get him on a "flyer".
Seems like he’s getting awful advice from Scott Boras. He had a career worst year last year, was injured during the lockout and had shoulder surgery in April. I don’t see how he is anything other than a “flyer” at this point.
 

Scoops Bolling

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This is an area where I wish Bloom was a little more aggressive in targeting potential late bloomers. At the deadline, the Guardians had a bit of a glut in their outfield (an incredible sentence to write after how bad their outfield situation was over the past few years) and they ended up DFAing Alex Call. He's a guy I wanted Chaim to take a gamble on at the time but instead he went after the retread in Pham. Call may end up washing out of the league, but there's also a chance the Nationals end up getting a league average or better regular with full rookie scale contract control. I don't have anyone specifically in mind for Chaim to target in this vein, but I do think corner outfield is an area where you can find cheap production easier than almost anywhere else on the field outside of maybe 1B...well, unless you're the 2021-22 Red Sox.
 

chawson

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I speculated in another thread about a Kepler trade and that still makes sense to me. The Twins seem likely to move him with several solid right field prospects in house.

Kepler’s defense is off the charts, and Statcast batted ball metrics have him as one of the unluckiest hitters in all of MLB. His .304 wOBA over the last two seasons is well below his .343 expected wOBA, and it’s not because he’s slow (his sprint speed is well above average). I expect there’s a better chance that positively regresses with the shift ban next year. He also walks a lot, which we need.

I really like what I see from Refsnyder, though. A Kepler/Refsnyder semi-platoon, with the latter getting some DH at-bats, would be interesting. I don’t like any of the FA candidates besides Pollock as a fourth outfielder, and I don’t think he goes for that. Do the requisite check on Judge; avoid Nimmo at that price.
 

E5 Yaz

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I like the Kepler idea, although I'd have to think the Twins are aware of the effect of the shift on him and would either want too give him another shot and/or raise his price a bit.
The other issue would be handedness ... what with Devers, Verdugo, Casas and McGuire already potential starters in the lineup.
 

mikeford

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Would it surprise anyone if Chaim went with Kiermaer and put him in RF since it's arguably more difficult to play RF at Fenway than CF?
 

chawson

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Would it surprise anyone if Chaim went with Kiermaer and put him in RF since it's arguably more difficult to play RF at Fenway than CF?
Kind of, yes. Kiermaier is Tampa’s JBJ, with a far more persistent injury bug. I think the risk of collapse is about the same as JBJ was. Add in the “Tampa North” trope and the howls would be deafening.
 

Harry Hooper

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I feel like any of these polls should include an option of “Bloom will do something completely unexpected.”
Re-sign JBJ? It wasn't an option in the poll.
 
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simplicio

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I speculated in another thread about a Kepler trade and that still makes sense to me. The Twins seem likely to move him with several solid right field prospects in house.

Kepler’s defense is off the charts, and Statcast batted ball metrics have him as one of the unluckiest hitters in all of MLB. His .304 wOBA over the last two seasons is well below his .343 expected wOBA, and it’s not because he’s slow (his sprint speed is well above average). I expect there’s a better chance that positively regresses with the shift ban next year. He also walks a lot, which we need.

I really like what I see from Refsnyder, though. A Kepler/Refsnyder semi-platoon, with the latter getting some DH at-bats, would be interesting. I don’t like any of the FA candidates besides Pollock as a fourth outfielder, and I don’t think he goes for that. Do the requisite check on Judge; avoid Nimmo at that price.
Do you have any insight as to why Kepler is so off-the-charts good by OAA but tied for 5th in DRS with JBJ and Oswaldo Cabrera (who have 300 and 700 fewer innings played)?
 

YTF

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I feel like any of these polls should include an option of “Bloom will do something completely unexpected.”
That's exactly what Bloom did last season and it didn't go so well. In fairness, I think that he may have gotten caught with his pants down with respect that he brought in plan B before he was able to nail down plan A. With Verdugo and Kike' back (presumably in the OF) and RFsnyder likely to be back I feel Chaim really needs to fill this slot with a run producing corner OF. Concerning FAs, there's a pretty big drop off after Judge. Perhaps Nimmo or perhaps there's a trade to be made, but damned if I know where it is. A lot depends on who Bloom would be willing to make available.
 

chawson

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Do you have any insight as to why Kepler is so off-the-charts good by OAA but tied for 5th in DRS with JBJ and Oswaldo Cabrera (who have 300 and 700 fewer innings played)?
Not much, no. My understanding cobbled from various studies is that DRS was originally an infielder metric built on how well fielders convert BIP hit in their zone. OAA is a Statcast metric derived from their technology originally for outfielders. It’s range-based that shows how many outs a fielder has saved, but doesn’t weigh arm as well as DRS. That might be your answer, but Kepler’s arm has always rated very well, so who knows.

I’m sure someone else could give you a much sharper answer. All of it is innately noisy.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Since so many of our discussions about next year's team veer into relitigations of the Mookie and Renfroe trades and their respective fallouts, or into Judge's upcoming free agency, it seems like a good time to dedicate a thread to this question alone.

Who plays right field next year?

The position was a disaster zone for the Sox in 2022. Boston right fielders have put up a .232/.296/.363 line, good for a 82 wRC+ that's (currently) 24th in MLB.

The full total of major-league right fielders expected to hit free agency are Jackie Bradley Jr., Kole Calhoun, Adam Duvall, Joey Gallo, Ben Games, Robbie Grossman, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Wil Myers and A.J. Pollock. Other outfield free agents include left fielders Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Tyler Naquin, Joc Pederson, David Peralta and Tommy Pham (who has a mutual option with the Sox); center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and utilityman Chad Pinder.

I see the free agents in four tiers: Judge is one, with an expected salary of roughly $300 over most of a decade. Nimmo is the second tier, with a contract somewhere between $50-100M over 4-5 years. The third is a bunch of established regulars with age or injury warts who will likely get between 1-3 years (Benintendi, Brantley, Gallo, Haniger, Kiermaier, Pollock), and the fourth tier is the scrap heap (JBJ, Games, Grossman, et al.).

There's evidence that defense is a strong consideration. Chaim Bloom and other Sox officials are on record that they view Fenway's right field as "a second CF position" and the most difficult right field in baseball. Statcast's list of MLB right fielders organized by (OAA) over 2021-22 is available here. (Potential trade target Max Kepler is +20 OAA; potential FA target Mitch Haniger is -7).
Unless I missed some news, Jurickson Profar also has an opt-out. And, while I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the Bloom era has been tough to predict, should Profar opt out, he strikes me as the type of player Bloom has targeted during his time in Boston, ie a multi-position guy with some upside with the bat. But maybe he won’t opt out.
 

chawson

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Unless I missed some news, Jurickson Profar also has an opt-out. And, while I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the Bloom era has been tough to predict, should Profar opt out, he strikes me as the type of player Bloom has targeted during his time in Boston, ie a multi-position guy with some upside with the bat. But maybe he won’t opt out.
Good call, yes. Added him above. Profar hasn’t played much right field recently and not at all this year, but he’s an option. Especially since Bloom reportedly was in on him before 2021.
 

Daniel_Son

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Good call, yes. Added him above. Profar hasn’t played much right field recently and not at all this year, but he’s an option. Especially since Bloom reportedly was in on him before 2021.
He's also got infield experience, which Bloom seems to value.
 

grimshaw

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Profar is more Phamish than Pham now (high obp, middle power, decent speed, not great fielder). I'd take him if he didn't want more than 2 years.

I want Nimmo only if Bloom says it isn't to replace Xander's on base capabilities.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Can Trea Turner still play CF? An OF of Verdugo, Turner, and Hernandez is pretty interesting. He’s also a guy that can play SS and 2B obviously, lots of flexibility that the org craves. He will probably get a ton of money,

Other guys that could be available…Jorge Soler, Austin Meadows, Adam Duvall, Conforto, Wil Myers…I know someone else mentioned Yaz, who does seem potentially available, no? Would be a great story, seems criminal if he never plays for the Sox.
 

johnnywayback

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I don't want Aaron Judge. His opposite-field power won't play as well in Fenway, and I'd rather see them commit that money to Devers, an elite SS, and/or a top-of-the-rotation starter.

I also don't think Wilyer Abreu belongs anywhere near this discussion -- he's not ready, and according to SoxProspects, his ceiling is that of a fringe regular.

And I don't think I'd be comfortable with Verdugo in RF -- the arm isn't there and his sprint speed is down this year, leading me to worry that his conditioning is suffering and he won't be able to hang in RF at Fenway.

Nimmo's skill set makes a lot of sense, both defensively and as an on-base guy. If he's too expensive, Conforto is intriguing, as is a trade for Kepler.
 
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They were talking about Conforto on the broadcast the other night. I think I would be willing to take a flyer on him compared to the guys mentioned above. I am very curious to his market value coming off not playing for a year.
I think Conforto is a strong option. He's a guy with power and plate discipline, two things this lineup sorely needs, and he's an excellent defender. There's enough uncertainty that he shouldn't cost a fortune, and he won't cost them FA compensation.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think Conforto is a strong option. He's a guy with power and plate discipline, two things this lineup sorely needs, and he's an excellent defender. There's enough uncertainty that he shouldn't cost a fortune, and he won't cost them FA compensation.
How much do you offer a guy like that? I don’t imagine anyone will offer a multi-year contract
 

Jack Rabbit Slim

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I think the most likely answer is Verdugo, and that's probably fine. But while I like Verdugo as a player, I don't think he fits very well in Fenway. He is not quite good enough offensively for the small LF and isn't quite good enough defensively for the big RF. So I think there is a decent chance he gets traded in the offseason and both corner OF are different.

Assuming Kepler really is an elite defensive RF (I haven't looked into myself, basing this off of Chawson's comments), I wonder if a swap of Verdugo for Kepler would make sense. Verdugo is around 10% better with the bat but the difference in defense would make up some of that. It would also open up LF for a big bat so on the net could also improve the OF offense. They both have 1+1 years of control left - Verdugo has 2 arb years at maybe $15m total, Kepler with a $7m AAV and a $10m team option. If the Twins want the spot open for some of their young OFs and aren't interested in Verdugo, maybe bring a third team in.
 

Bernie Carbohydrate

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There wasn't a poll response for this, but the best answer involves the nuances of RF at Fenway and the needs of the team as currently configured.

As we know, from Jackie Jenson to Dwight Evans to Trot Nixon the Red Sox are best served by a RF with both above-average range and a terrific arm. The quandary is that those two skills mean you don't often get offense production in the package. If you want a bat in Fenway's RF you end up with the ill fated Mike-Greenwell-in-RF experiment of 1988. If you go all-in on defense, well, we all just lived through "Starting in right field...Jackie Bradley Junior..."

In other words, it's gonna cost ya. Sure, put Verdugo out there, but he's Greenwell redux...fine bat, shaky glove, see you in LF.... and even he knows he can't hack Fenway's RF.

So what we're seeking is a unicorn. Smooth fielder with range. Accurate, reliable arm. Corner OF power...25-35 HR per year. Speed enough to take an extra base. OPS+ in the 130-140 range, with the occasional MVP-type year when we're making a deep playoff run.

Problem is, when a team gets hold of a player like that -- a once in a generation talent, a potential all-timer -- well, good teams hold on to those players. It would take an idiot franchise with a dingbat fanbase to let such a one get away.

Especially if such a player was also well-spoken, thoughtful, charismatic, and absolutely electrifying to watch. The kind of player who keeps you interested in the team even when the game is out of hand or the season is out of reach. The kind of player you tell your grandkids about.

Jesus, why can't the Red Sox get players like that? Instead we will spend the offseason debating the relative merits of Kevin Kiermaier and Mitch Fucking Haniger as fans of a poverty franchise are wont to do.

Gimme that "pillow contract" man. Hold it over my face like Chief did to McMurphy. I'd rather go out like that than live to find out whether Michael Conforto will wear #99 or #98 amidst the damp ruins of City of Palms come spring.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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There wasn't a poll response for this, but the best answer involves the nuances of RF at Fenway and the needs of the team as currently configured.

As we know, from Jackie Jenson to Dwight Evans to Trot Nixon the Red Sox are best served by a RF with both above-average range and a terrific arm. The quandary is that those two skills mean you don't often get offense production in the package. If you want a bat in Fenway's RF you end up with the ill fated Mike-Greenwell-in-RF experiment of 1988. If you go all-in on defense, well, we all just lived through "Starting in right field...Jackie Bradley Junior..."

In other words, it's gonna cost ya. Sure, put Verdugo out there, but he's Greenwell redux...fine bat, shaky glove, see you in LF.... and even he knows he can't hack Fenway's RF.

So what we're seeking is a unicorn. Smooth fielder with range. Accurate, reliable arm. Corner OF power...25-35 HR per year. Speed enough to take an extra base. OPS+ in the 130-140 range, with the occasional MVP-type year when we're making a deep playoff run.

Problem is, when a team gets hold of a player like that -- a once in a generation talent, a potential all-timer -- well, good teams hold on to those players. It would take an idiot franchise with a dingbat fanbase to let such a one get away.

Especially if such a player was also well-spoken, thoughtful, charismatic, and absolutely electrifying to watch. The kind of player who keeps you interested in the team even when the game is out of hand or the season is out of reach. The kind of player you tell your grandkids about.

Jesus, why can't the Red Sox get players like that? Instead we will spend the offseason debating the relative merits of Kevin Kiermaier and Mitch Fucking Haniger as fans of a poverty franchise are wont to do.

Gimme that "pillow contract" man. Hold it over my face like Chief did to McMurphy. I'd rather go out like that than live to find out whether Michael Conforto will wear #99 or #98 amidst the damp ruins of City of Palms come spring.
Is there any possible way that we can filter posts like this to go into a Mookie Betts thread???? For fuck sake!!!
 

BassLo

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Jun 22, 2022
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There wasn't a poll response for this, but the best answer involves the nuances of RF at Fenway and the needs of the team as currently configured.

As we know, from Jackie Jenson to Dwight Evans to Trot Nixon the Red Sox are best served by a RF with both above-average range and a terrific arm. The quandary is that those two skills mean you don't often get offense production in the package. If you want a bat in Fenway's RF you end up with the ill fated Mike-Greenwell-in-RF experiment of 1988. If you go all-in on defense, well, we all just lived through "Starting in right field...Jackie Bradley Junior..."

In other words, it's gonna cost ya. Sure, put Verdugo out there, but he's Greenwell redux...fine bat, shaky glove, see you in LF.... and even he knows he can't hack Fenway's RF.

So what we're seeking is a unicorn. Smooth fielder with range. Accurate, reliable arm. Corner OF power...25-35 HR per year. Speed enough to take an extra base. OPS+ in the 130-140 range, with the occasional MVP-type year when we're making a deep playoff run.

Problem is, when a team gets hold of a player like that -- a once in a generation talent, a potential all-timer -- well, good teams hold on to those players. It would take an idiot franchise with a dingbat fanbase to let such a one get away.

Especially if such a player was also well-spoken, thoughtful, charismatic, and absolutely electrifying to watch. The kind of player who keeps you interested in the team even when the game is out of hand or the season is out of reach. The kind of player you tell your grandkids about.

Jesus, why can't the Red Sox get players like that? Instead we will spend the offseason debating the relative merits of Kevin Kiermaier and Mitch Fucking Haniger as fans of a poverty franchise are wont to do.

Gimme that "pillow contract" man. Hold it over my face like Chief did to McMurphy. I'd rather go out like that than live to find out whether Michael Conforto will wear #99 or #98 amidst the damp ruins of City of Palms come spring.
Smooth fielder with range. Strong arm. 25-35 HR per year. Will a 2022 OPS+ of 126 be close enough to your 130-140 range. If so, Hunter Renfroe says hi.... Like you said, "It would take an idiot franchise with a dingbat fanbase to let such a one get away." :)
 

scottyno

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Smooth fielder with range. Strong arm. 25-35 HR per year. Will a 2022 OPS+ of 126 be close enough to your 130-140 range. If so, Hunter Renfroe says hi.... Like you said, "It would take an idiot franchise with a dingbat fanbase to let such a one get away." :)
Smooth fielder with range did not even come close to describing Renfroe when they traded him, and while he's better now it still doesn't
 

simplicio

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Me neither, especially if we go big elsewhere on the roster.

.325/.397/.590 in AAA.
And what's his MLB line again? Franchy's been worth -1 WAR to Boston in his two years here, why are we still talking about him winning a starting position anywhere?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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And what's his MLB line again? Franchy's been worth -1 WAR to Boston in his two years here, why are we still talking about him winning a starting position anywhere?
Some guys just are AAAA players. Dalbec, Franchy… I do suspect it’s the fate of Binelas and Kavadas also. These types may have an extended chance on a non contending team and put together a good season but it’s likely an outlier