Sox close Meetings with two big moves, one departure

December 8th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The Winter Meetings started slowly for the Red Sox, but then they ended in a frenzy, with the club adding two key new players but losing a franchise cornerstone.

On Wednesday morning, the Sox reached agreement on a two-year, $32 million deal with veteran closer Kenley Jansen.

By mid-afternoon, they agreed to terms with Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal just hours after the 29-year-old had been posted by the Orix Buffaloes. The Red Sox haven’t announced either move, as both agreements are pending procedural matters.

But just when it seemed all was going well, Xander Bogaerts slipped away to the Padres shortly after midnight ET on Thursday. A source told’s Mark Feinsand that Bogaerts reached agreement on an 11-year, $280 million deal. San Diego hasn’t confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.

Earlier in the day, reports surfaced that the Red Sox were building momentum toward re-signing Bogaerts.

Biggest remaining needs
1. Replace Bogaerts

Considering all Bogaerts meant to the Red Sox, the task of replacing him is daunting. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom had said since the first day of the offseason that finding a way to re-sign Bogaerts was the team’s top priority. Now that Bogaerts appears to be San Diego-bound, it will be interesting to see what strategy Bloom deploys for Plan B.

There are two elite shortstops still on the market in Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. The Red Sox hadn’t been linked to either of them while Bogaerts was still in play. It remains to be seen whether that will now change.

The Sox also have the option of moving back to shortstop after shifting him to second base in 2022. There are questions about the strength of Story’s right elbow, but Bloom had said earlier in the offseason that the club believes he can still play short.

Another option would be to move to short or have him replace Story at second base. But that would leave the Sox thin in center field. Jean Segura is the best free-agent option at second base, and he could be on Boston’s radar.

2. Add another starting pitcher
There is a lot of uncertainty in Boston’s starting rotation. The two most accomplished pitchers on the staff -- Chris Sale and James Paxton -- have been on the injured list far more than the active roster the past couple seasons. Garrett Whitlock is moving to the rotation full time, and Tanner Houck might follow him there, but both righties are still in the process of building a track record as starters. Nick Pivetta is durable yet inconsistent. Veteran righties Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Wacha are both free agents, but the Sox are keeping lines of communication open with both of them. The Red Sox have been linked with Japanese free agent Kodai Senga, a 29-year-old who has had a dominant career in NPB.

3. Add a catcher
The Red Sox have had a void behind the plate since they traded Christian Vázquez to the Astros in August. Sean Murphy from the A’s is an intriguing trade candidate and someone Boston has pursued in the past. Vázquez is a free agent, and a return to the Red Sox is at least possible. Reese McGuire did a solid job after being acquired from the White Sox, but he is more of a backup.

Rule 5 Draft
The Sox lost three right-handed pitchers in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, including Thad Ward, who was taken by the Nationals with the first overall pick.

“It doesn’t matter if he’s the first pick or the last pick, it means that he’s not our player anymore, and that’s a bummer because of what he’s been through medically and the upside that he has,” Bloom said. “Hopefully we get him back. We know there’s a chance that we won’t. He was probably our toughest decision as we set rosters and knowing what our plans were and are for this offseason.”

Boston also lost Andrew Politi to the Orioles and Noah Song to the Phillies. Song being selected by the defending National League champions was interesting because the righty hasn’t pitched since 2019 due to his service commitment after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. It is unclear when Song will be able to pitch again. The Red Sox didn’t add anyone in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

The bottom line
“To me, it’s important not to put too much on the Winter Meetings in that this is just one part of the offseason,” Bloom said. “Other than the Rule 5 Draft, there isn’t really any formal deadline that even happens here. But it is a time when there’s a lot of action and there’s going to be opportunities. As I’ve said, we have a lot to do this offseason. We need to knock dominoes down early, middle and late, and hopefully we came out of this having made progress toward accomplishing all of our goals.”