The Boston Red Sox are entering a season uncertainty. Time to strip the cabins bare and build up around Xander Bogaerts.
This is not your Grandpa’s Boston Red Sox. That’s a good thing, they didn’t win anything back then. Well, they aren’t even your Boston Red Sox from the World Series-winning season two years ago.
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With the upgrade to the pitching staff the New York Yankees made, the injury bug won’t keep them from winning the division again this year. Even if they do have a slight hiccup, the Tampa Bay Rays will be waiting in the wings. The Red Sox will be battling the Toronto Blue Jays for third place in the division.
With a payroll of $193M to start the season, the time is now to start shedding payroll and trying to get whatever young talent they can.
But where? Sale, Rusney Castillo, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, and Price are owed $78M this year and not one of them will play any productive baseball at the big-league level. They shouldn’t move Xander Bogaerts and should look for pieces to potentially build around him.
There isn’t much left in the cupboards to move. J.D. Martinez is owed over $60M for the next three years and is 32 years old. Moving him may require eating some of his contract. Jackie Bradley Jr. should be gone before he hits free agency. The Red Sox have been reluctant to move him in the past, though should not hold back in getting out from under his $11M as soon as they can. He might be the only contract they can move.
Nathan Eovaldi and his $51M remaining on this three-year deal, flamed out last year to the tune of giving up six runs a game. The Red Sox see themselves in a mixture of bad contracts and a lot of money owed.
It’s more than just shedding payroll; some syndicates rank the Red Sox farm system as the most barren in all of baseball. In this extended time the Red Sox brass has before the start of the season they should be calling up all potential buyers they can and begging them to take some of these contracts of their hands.