The Boston Red Sox is in pursuit of RP Craig Kimbrel, but they also have important player contracts to tend to in the near future.
Boston won it all in 2018 and had one of the most dominant Red Sox teams of all time. They also had the highest payroll in the game. The club is trying to stay under the luxury tax or alleviate enough salary so they don’t receive the maximum penalties. Although, the team is in win-now mode and are still suitors for Craig Kimbrel. He wanted a sky-high salary and teams went more cheaper directions. So for next season, Boston may end up being his home again after his ask has went down.
The club is stacked again in 2019, but the team could look different after this year. Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Xander Bogaerts are all free agents at the end of the year. Additionally role players such as Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, Steve Pearce, and Eduardo Nunez are too. Most of all, J.D. Martinez could opt out of his deal with another big year. So the Red Sox have a ton of headaches on the way, even as a big market club. They will have to decide who to bring back and at what cost.
Porcello is going to make over $21 million dollars, and he was signed under the Ben Cherington regime. The righty should be brought back if he accepts a lower AAV. Bogaerts is a Scott Boras client, so the Red Sox will have to pay up. They don’t have a shortstop coming through the pipeline anytime soon, so inking him will be a top priority. He will be a free agent in his prime that should command a 5-7 year deal. Sale needs to come back to stay the ace of the staff. Even with David Price’s great postseason, Sale is still needed as another quality arm. He has one of the best pitches in the game and can keep the team in check.
The lefty will be the best pitcher on the free agent market if he doesn’t get an extension before then. Boston needs to do what is right and sign their top southpaw. They walked on Jon Lester which hurt them at the time. Now, the club should offer a 4-5 year deal with a AAV around $25 million. He is an ace, and the Red Sox will have to pay him like one. They threw $32 million a year at Price, and he hasn’t been half as good as Sale.
With the role players, they should just sign the players who have a good year or the player fills a hole. Moreland has been a nice find for Boston, but I wouldn’t expect him after this season. They have top prospect Michael Chavis knocking on the door who can play 3rd base and 1st. So Pearce is in the same boat as Moreland. Nunez and Holt and battle for a spot after this season, but Holt is the better pick because he is less injury prone. He also did much more in the postseason than Nunez.
Now, if Martinez opts out, the Red Sox need to do all they can to get him back. The club had a huge void missing without legendary DH David Ortiz. With Martinez, the rest of the lineup has improved and he has been an important clubhouse presence. After the 2020 season, the Red Sox have another big hitter who could leave Beantown in Mookie Betts.
Boston’s notable free agents after the 2020 season is Betts, Bradley Jr., and Rusney Castillo. The Red Sox will have to back up the Brink truck for Betts, as he has been arguably the best player other than Mike Trout. He will definitely command a Bryce Harper/Manny Machado type deal. Bradley Jr. blossomed with the bat in the postseason in 2018. If he can carry that over for the next two seasons, he will be a valuable commodity in the market. In two years, Boston will be finally be rid of the terrible Castillo contract which was a Cherington signing.
The Red Sox have several contract dilemmas to deal with in the near future. How they deal with them will be an ongoing story to watch for. Ownership has the funds to keep this team together, but the luxury tax penalties may affect this core.