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Boston Red Sox Offseason: The New G’s and a New T in Town

Tyler O'Neill takes a big swing on the road for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Boston Red Sox have made three main moves so far this offseason. Here is the info on Tyler O’Neil, Lucas Giolito, and Vaughn Grissom

The Boston Red Sox have shown they have at least a faint pulse and made some moves this offseason. More will be needed to climb out of the cellar in the AL BEast. But for now, let’s see what the New G’s bring to the table- SP Lucas Giolito and 2B Vaughn Grissom. OF Tyler O’Neill has joined the ranks as well. They’re Shippin’ Up to Boston, well Fort Myers first, so let’s take a look.

Tyler O’Neill

This was the first major acquisition of the offseason. O’Neill was acquired in a trade with the Saint Louis Cardinals. Fun fact, Boston and Saint Louis teams have met in ten championships across the four major sports leagues, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. Boston is 7-3 in those meetings. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals twice in the World Series this century.

Now back to baseball. O’Neill fills a couple of basic needs for the Sox. As a 2x Gold Glover, his defense will aid a defense that had more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. He also brings a righty hitter into a lefty dominant outfield. The expectations of a defensive guru in the Sox outfield has fallen a long way from the days of OFs Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, but O’Neill can help raise the bar.

That’s the good news on O’Neill. The question marks all begin with H- health and hitting. After a statement season in 2021, hitting 34 HR with a .286 average, O’Neill has struggled to stay on the field. An assortment of ailments have limited him to 96 games in 2022 and 72 games in ’23. Perhaps a rotation amongst the other Boston outfielders that includes time at DH will help keep him on the field. He is under team control for one season, so he has a chance to prove if he is a long-term solution or just another brief band aid. Also, here’s to hoping Tyler O’Neill will be a more reliable T in Boston than the MBTA’s usually are.

Lucas Giolito

The lone signing of this group, Lucas Giolito latched on with a two-year deal worth $38.5 million. Giolito can opt out in 2025, but if he stays, the Sox have an option for 2026. Giolito was an All-Star in 2019 and continued to be a strong starter in 2020 and 2021. 2022 began a downward trend that bottomed out in 2023 with Giolito becoming the first pitcher to have three starts with three different teams where he gave up at least eight runs in one season. Not the kind of history you want to be associated with.

O’Neil’s downside is Giolito’s main asset at the moment. Giolito does stay healthy and stay on the mound. Over the last three years, he has pitched 178.2, 161.2, and 184.1 innings. The most innings in 2023 likely corresponds with Giolito being a bullpen saver that continued to pitch as some may say a “meatball artist”.  One more new city in under a year can’t hurt, so Let It Fly Lucas and make sure your fastballs are flying by batters and not over the Green Monster. We will see if the Red Sox pitching staff can get Giolito closer to the South Side version of himself.

Vaughn Grissom

The youngest of the crew, Vaughn Grissom is also Chris Sale’s last chance to give the Sox some value for the extension he signed in 2019. The Sox traded Sale to the Atlanta Braves to obtain Grissom, a 22-year-old SS and 2B will help provide stability to a part of the field that experienced tremendous turnover last year. If I were Alex Cora, I would put Grissom at shortstop and Trevor Story at the keystone to help keep the latter healthy. 19 of Grissom’s 23 appearances last season were at short. In either spot there is a recent, former player that no one is likely to easily match: Xander Bogaerts at short and Dustin Pedroia at second.

Sox fans are hoping for bounce back years from O’Neil and Giolito. In Grissom’s case, they are hoping for a breakout year. The youngster has never played a full season in MLB. He’s a prospect with some experience at the highest level, 64 games across two seasons. His valued attributes are playing both middle infield position to some extent. At the plate, he gets on base with good discipline and frequent contact as well. He has shown progress every season as he has climbed through the Braves minor league system, beginning in 2019.

Where The Sox Stand

The Red Sox were 78-84 last season. At their best, it is still unlikely that these three amigos bring the Sox out of the cellar that they are becoming far too acquainted with. Assuming the Red Sox add a top-of-the-line starter, Giolito can fill a slot in the middle of the rotation. A healthy O’Neill will help the pitchers with his defense. If he can find his stroke again, he can add another power bat to the likes of 3B Rafael Devers and 1B Triston Casas. Grissom has the benefit of potentially earning an everyday role on a team that is not prepared to compete at the same level as the Atlanta Braves are.

I hope for the best from them, but also hope the Sox add some other pieces around them. None of these players are a reliable bet to be a star this season, so they should not be forced to carry that burden into a Boston environment that is never easy on even the best of players.

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