Padres and Rangers benefitting from Red Sox cost-cutting offseason

May 9, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Michael Wacha (52) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Michael Wacha (52) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /

Since Chaim Bloom took over as general manager of the Boston Red Sox, they have not been the spenders they were in the past. Of course, a lot of that could be a directive from ownership, but it is also the Tampa Bay way from his time with the Rays.

Last offseason was the biggest eye-opening offseason under Bloom and they let three key pieces from the 2022 roster leave in free agency. Two pitchers and a star shortstop found new homes for 2023 and their new teams benefit from their new additions eight weeks into the season.

Padres benefitting from two former Red Sox additions

Xander Bogaerts, who was expected to spend most of his career in Boston, left and signed with the San Diego Padres to join an already loaded lineup in Southern California. He signed an 11-year, $280 million contract and has been good in the middle of San Diego’s order. He’s slashing .257/.359./.457 with six home runs, seven doubles, and 16 RBI. In three of his final four seasons in Boston, he finished hitting over .300 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get there as the summer goes along.

Bogaerts was joined in San Diego by pitcher Michael Wacha, who signed a four-year, $26 million contract. The right-hander went 11-2 in Boston last season with a 3.32 ERA. This season for the Padres, he’s 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 50.1 innings. The Red Sox got an up-close look at their former teammate Sunday as he scattered five hits over six innings without allowing a run in a 7-0 win that helped his team avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of Boston.

Wacha was much better than Corey Kluber, who the Red Sox signed in the offseason to lead the rotation. It’s safe to say that it’s not going that way. Kluber was roughed up for five runs on three hits and walked three in just 2.1 innings against the Padres Sunday. This season, the 37-year-old is 2-6 with a 6.26 ERA. Bloom brought in a journeyman in Kluber to replace Wacha and the move is backfiring. Yes, The Red Sox are 26-21 and in fourth place in the loaded American League East but, over the course of a 162-game season, it’s going to be hard to stay on the hunt for a Wild Card spot with Kluber at the top of the rotation. San Diego is struggling, five games under .500, but it’s not because of what Bogaerts and Wacha have given them.

Rangers benefitting from Eovaldi’s signing

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West, which is somewhat of a surprise, but they are a team that can hit and pitch and when they get both, they are tough to beat. This season, Nate Eovaldi is 5-1 with his new team after leaving the Red Sox over the winter after five seasons in Boston, with a 2.83 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. Eovaldi signed a two-year, $34 million contract with Texas with a conditional player option for 2025 that could increase the deal to $63 million with incentives.

During his time in Boston, he dealt with injuries but, when healthy and on the mound, he was a workhorse whenever he took the ball. Looking at what Wacha and Eovaldi are doing with their new teams makes letting both players walk questionable. In the big picture, Kluber was brought in to replace them and lead a staff that has gotten younger. However, a few years ago when the Red Sox were spending money, they would have re-signed one or both of those pitchers.

There was a time when the homegrown talent in Boston was signed and re-signed, but not anymore. Mookie Betts was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2020 because they knew they were not going to pay him. Bogaerts left when it was clear he could get more money than what Bloom was going to offer and instead of bringing back two veterans arms that had a lot of success in Boston, they let them walk for an aging veteran.

Texas and San Diego are benefitting from the Red Sox’s cost-cutting ways. You can’t tell me that having Wacha and Eovaldi in the rotation this season would push Boston over more than a couple of teams in the division alone.

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