The Boston Red Sox 2022 season was not one many Red Sox fans wish to remember. A team that came into the season with aspirations of making it to the World Series ended up finishing last in the AL East. Last off-season the Red Sox inked star shortstop Trevor Story to a six-year $140 million dollar contract. This move put the Red Sox in line to be one of the most dangerous offenses in the MLB. However, injuries and inconsistent pitching brought the Red Sox season to an early finish and the Sox now enter an integral off-season that will have lasting effects on this team.
This off-season likely ends the tenure of many fan favorites as some of the Red Sox’s most talented players have expiring contracts. The most important of the Red Sox free agents is star shortstop Xander Bogaerts who is most likely going to opt out this off-season of his player option to become an unrestricted free agent. The Red Sox have been attempting to extend Bogaerts for a while now but no deal has been reached and his time with the Red Sox is almost certainly coming to a close. Rafael Devers is another Red Sox player who has been negotiating with the organization for a while about an extension. Devers is a free agent following next season. A report came out from the Dominican Republic, stating that Devers and the Red Sox were coming close to a seven-year extension but so far nothing has been announced. Another report came out stating that Rafael was looking for a ten-year $300 million dollar extension that the Red Sox are reluctant to give. The Red Sox’s track record when it comes to paying star players lately is poor, making many Red Sox fans nervous about Devers. The Sox chose to trade superstar outfielder Mookie Betts in 2020 instead of giving him a lucrative extension and that mentality has not seemed to change in Boston.
Outside Devers and Bogaerts, the Red Sox have quite a few crucial free agents. Pitching was a major issue for the Sox this past season and potential departures this off-season could make the bullpen even worse. The Red Sox’s injury-prone ace Chris Sale has a player option allowing him to enter free agency although it is unlikely that he chooses to do so. Star pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is an unrestricted free agent along with other rotational starters from 2022 Micheal Wacha and Rich Hill. In addition to the starters, the Red Sox also have many members of the bullpen who could be leaving. Hurlers Matt Strahm and James Paxton may be gone by the end of this off-season. Heavy hitter J.D. Martinez, who was almost dealt at the trade deadline, is another unrestricted free agent unlikely to return to the Sox. The two major additions the Red Sox made at the trade deadline in Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham both have player options in their contract to terminate the deal.
The Red Sox could look to fill some holes in their lineup through free agency. The biggest name in free agency is star outfielder Aaron Judge. The Red Sox could look to improve their lineup while also hurting their rival New York Yankees by stealing away their most prized player. Earlier this year after playing the Sox, Judge was asked about potentially joining the Red Sox, and he did not dismiss the idea while applauding the Red Sox fans as one of the best fanbases. The Sox could also look to reunite with catcher Christian Vázquez who they traded to the Astros at the trade deadline. With pitchers being the biggest need for the Red Sox, they could look to add some of the many star pitchers that are free agents this year including the likes of Jacob Degrom, Clayton Kershaw, and Carlos Ródon. After a busy off-season last year the Red Sox likely will be active in the free-agent and trade market once again searching for the best possible squad to compete in 2023.