Boston Red Sox: Three offseason free agent targets

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox delivers during the first inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 22, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. It was his Boston Red Sox debut. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox delivers during the first inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 22, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. It was his Boston Red Sox debut. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Corey Kluber
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

Will the Boston Red Sox take a flyer on Corey Kluber?

When it comes to the starting rotation, the Red Sox will enter 2021 with Nathan Eovaldi and a bunch of question marks. They won’t be in the market for Trevor Bauer and there’s a chance that Marcus Stroman accepts New York’s qualifying offer, eliminating the top two rotation options available in this year’s market.

MLBTradeRumors.com predicts Boston to sign Jose Quintana to a two-year/$18 million deal, but the soon-to-be 32-year-old pitched just 10 innings this season before going down with multiple injuries. Let’s also assume Boston spends big on Marcell Ozuna in this scenario (and revamping the bullpen), leaving the Red Sox going after low-cost pitching options.

There isn’t a shortage of quality, low-cost options here. Corey Kluber could be had on a one-year deal while he attempts to show he’s healthy again. Jon Lester is also an option after a down 2020, but he can still provide you much-needed innings as he closes out his career with a team he had enormous success with for the first nine years of his career.

J.A. Happ, Drew Smyly, and Anthony DeSclafani are three other cheap options the Boston Red Sox could consider. But which of these names makes the most sense? Corey Kluber.

Kluber has pitched just 36 innings over the last two seasons, but he was worth a combined 12.7 fWAR in the two seasons before that (2017 and ’18) and logged five-straight seasons with 200+ innings pitched.

Returning to his 7.2 fWAR self from 2017 isn’t going to happen, but if Kluber can return in 2021 healthy and ready to go, he has the best odds to work his way back into the upper-half of a starting rotation, among all pitchers currently on the market who can be had a similar price.

Getting Kluber on a bargain also leaves Boston with room to add another low-cost option to anchor the backend of the rotation while Sale and Rodriguez work their way back to 100%.

Red Sox meet with Alex Cora. dark. Next

The Boston Red Sox have plenty of options this offseason, but these three moves would certainly make this team much better heading into 2021.