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Boston Red Sox Holiday Wish List

Triston Casas runs to first base after batting on the road for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox have some free agents to sign and internal changes to make for a successful 2024 season in the competitive AL East.

The Boston Red Sox have finished with a losing record the past two seasons. In order to get back to the playoffs, here is a holiday wish list to make Red Sox Nation happy.

Ownership Opens the Checkbook

The Red Sox were never going to sign SP/DH Shohei Ohtani. To go from the bargain bin to one of the most lucrative contracts ever signed by a professional athlete would be a change of character rivaling that of the Grinch. But is it too much to ask to sign someone that will make the All-Star Game? The only relevant name on the roster today is 3B Rafael Devers. After that there are players with potential and some names that thrived in the past. However, I fear the best days for SP Chris Sale and SS Trevor Story are behind them.

The Fenway Sports Group headed by John Henry and Tom Werner have gotten complacent in Boston. Four World Series this century is great but to be one of the most valuable sports teams in the world and have a payroll that ranks 13th in the MLB is borderline criminal. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are the two MLB teams above the Red Sox in value. Both of these teams have spent this offseason, while the Sox have yet to make a splash. Complacency kills competitiveness, especially in the owners box. The Sox are not a mid-market team, so they should not try to play like one. Changing the boss in the front office will only take a team as far as the leash ownership gives them to work with.

Starting Pitching

Currently, the Sox need another arm (preferably two) to complement SP Brayan Bello. Chris Sale is no longer a realistic option in a starting rotation, more on him later.  Boston starters averaged under five innings pitched per start. There are some potential young arms to join Bello, but fans still desire some stable arms. Complete games have gone the way of the dodo bird, but a quality starter can still expect to cover at least 6 innings.

SP Jordan Montgomery is the creme of the crop but there are plenty of other options out there. Plus, SP Marcus Stroman is an option to generate outs. But SP Yoshinobu Yamamoto could very well be the best option available. The Sox spent on OF Masataka Yoshida last year, so maybe they will be willing to spend on Yamamoto too. After the up and downs Yoshida had last season, I for one would rather see an investment in a proven MLB starter.


OF Tyler O’Neil is a nice addition but the Red Sox need more changes than trades or free agency can make. For the players currently on the team from last year, it all comes down to three words… fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Outfielders throwing to the wrong base, poor throws on ground balls, and other miscues must be cut down to raise the Sox defense from 28th in MLB. Also, I don’t think it is a coincidence that the two teams in the World Series averaged the fewest errors per game last season. In the playoffs, defense and pitching win championships, two things the Sox sorely lack.

Offensive Firepower

Devers had a solid year but cannot be expected to hit a team to the playoffs when the pitching and defense are as poor as they were last year. As fan favorite DH David Ortiz has pointed out many times, the kid needs some protection in the lineup. DH Justin Turner and OF Adam Duvall were reliable bats last season, but they are free agents. 1B Tristan Casas should continue to develop as a hitter, so there is a chance for internal progress. A major signing to bolster the offense would go a long way to showing the clubhouse and the fans that the Red Sox are serious about competing in 2024. 

A Healthy Chris Sale

I am calling this a “Wish List” for a reason. A healthy Chris Sale could be a force to be reckoned with. Alas, it is more likely that Boston fans will have to remember the words of the local, small-time band Aerosmith and dream on when it comes to this hope. Sale had a five-year, $145 million contract begin in 2020. Since that signing, he has made just under $75 million while pitching 151 innings. This works out to a rate of about $496,076 per inning pitched. Not exactly a return-on-investment worthy of Wall Street.

Based on Sale’s injury history on and off the field, the best path moving forward may be using Sale out of the bullpen. A season worth of Sale would be a sight for sore eyes and likely a relief (pun intended) for a player that has struggled to stay on the field. Have Sale available out of the bullpen to throw two to three innings every few days may help him maintain his health. To work up to being a starter again for a season seems unrealistic. If he pulls it off, I will be the first to cheer, but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate his role in the organization.

Final Holiday Plea

Craig Breslow has said the right things but has yet to walk the walk. Does anyone else find it concerning that Breslow has the same initials (CB) as recently canned Chief of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom? I fear the financial leash he is on is no longer than the one that led to Bloom’s firing. Maybe Red Sox ownership will join in the spirit of giving that is a part of the holiday season to give back to the fans that will follow the team through thick and thin. Until then, Sox fans will have to settle for being treated like we’re on the naughty list and gettin nuttin for Christmas this year.

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