Red Sox Under New Direction in Front Office with Craig Breslow as New Hire
October 31st, 2023
The Boston Red Sox have made a significant change in their front office with the recent hiring of Craig Breslow. Breslow, a former player and pitching expert, will be holding his introductory press conference at Fenway Park on Thursday morning.
Since landing the job a week ago, Breslow has been diligently working on developing a battle plan for the upcoming season. With his expertise in pitching, he is the perfect fit for a franchise that is in need of strengthening their pitching staff.
However, the Red Sox are not solely focused on pitching. They are also looking to improve their offense and defense, making it a busy winter for Breslow and his staff.
Free Agents and Options
The Red Sox have three clear free agents who are not attached to either a player or club option: Adam Duvall, James Paxton, and Adalberto Mondesi.
None of these players are likely to receive qualifying offers. The deadline for submitting qualifying offers for Major Leaguers is five days after the completion of the World Series.
Justin Turner, who had a career-high of 96 RBIs in 2023, has a player option of $13.4 million with a $6.7 million buyout. It is highly likely that Turner will become a free agent. Corey Kluber, who struggled before a right shoulder injury ended his season, has a club option for $11 million that the Red Sox will likely decline. Lefty reliever Joely Rodríguez, who spent more time on the injured list than the active roster, has a $4.25 million club option that is unlikely to be picked up by Boston.
Non-Tender Candidates and Rule 5 Draft
Luis Urías, acquired by former chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom before the Trade Deadline, is a likely candidate to be non-tendered. On the other hand, Nick Pivetta and Alex Verdugo are arbitration-eligible players who the Red Sox are certain to tender contracts to.
The Red Sox must add RHP Wikelman Gonzalez, their breakout prospect, to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Shane Drohan, a lefty starter, and Luis Perales, a promising 20-year-old, are also players who need to be added to the roster. The Red Sox are expected to have no trouble protecting their prospects from the Rule 5 Draft.
Offseason Plans and Potential Targets
The Red Sox are in need of starting pitchers who can provide a certain amount of innings certainty, a weakness they faced in the 2023 season. Japanese righty Yoshinobu Yamamoto is considered the top free agent pitcher this winter, and the Red Sox are expected to be actively engaged once he becomes available. Other pitchers who could draw interest from Boston include Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Jordan Montgomery, and Lucas Giolito.
While pitching is the team’s primary focus, there is speculation about the Red Sox making a run at Shohei Ohtani, a megastar who will not be able to pitch next year due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery but can provide significant offensive contributions.
Potential Trade Candidates
Alex Verdugo, a starting outfielder for the Red Sox in the past four seasons, appears to be the team’s most obvious trade candidate. With the 2024 season being Verdugo’s last before free agency, his inconsistency at the plate and disciplinary issues have made him a potential player to offload. The Red Sox have depth in the outfield, making it a sensible move to reallocate Verdugo’s salary for more pressing needs on the team.