Sure, it’s early in the offseason, but the Boston Red Sox are already stinging from a pair of defeats in competition for two key free agent targets.
The latest loss for the Boston Red Sox comes once again in the free agent market
On Thursday, Zach Eflin inked a three-year, $40 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, ending his seven-year run as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal represents the largest free agent contract ever handed out by the Rays, as well as a win over their American League East rivals in Boston, a team that reportedly offered Eflin the same contract before being shunned for Tampa Bay.
The Eflin news comes just hours after first baseman Jose Abreu signed a deal with the Houston Astros, dashing Boston’s hopes of luring in what MLB insider Jon Heyman called “Boston’s No. 1 outside target.”
That’s two signings that Boston hoped to make turning out to be misses and, adding insult to injury, both players ended up with Boston’s AL rivals.
Add to that the drama surrounding Xander Bogaerts this week, with rumors first surfacing that he had severed ties with the Red Sox and any talks of a reunion before those rumors were later refuted, and it’s been quite a week for the Fenway faithful.
And several Red Sox fans aren’t pleased with the introduction of new advertising patches on Thursday, just hours before losing out on Eflin.
Throw all of this in with Boston finishing the 2022 season with a 78-84 mark and last-place finish in the division and it’s easy to see why Red Sox supporters are already ready to turn the calendar and look ahead to next season. And we haven’t even discussed the injury-riddled season of Chris Sale, all of the issues at first base with Bobby Dalbec’s struggles and injuries to Eric Hosmer, Triston Casas, and anyone else who might be able to replace him, Trevor Story’s uninspiring transition from Colorado to Boston, and so many other things that went south this season.
With the MLB Winter Meetings starting next week, it’s expected that the Red Sox will be one of the teams to watch during that gathering in San Diego. If that’s the case, Boston fans are hoping there is some kind of news that could put a positive end to a year that has been anything but easy at Fenway.