After a two-year hiatus, MLB’s Winter Meetings are back next week.
For the Red Sox, a team with much to do this offseason in hopes of rebounding from a last-place finish in the American League East in 2022 and returning to the postseason hunt, it will be a hectic few days in San Diego for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and his staff.
With all MLB teams and agents under one roof, the Red Sox will talk trades and free-agent signings.
Topping the priority list for Boston is finding a path to re-sign shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
“We’re going to stay engaged,” Bloom said recently, “and we’re also going to look into everything else we need to do to make sure we have a good club next year.”
- Sunday, Dec. 4: HOF Contemporary ballot results released. There are two players with prominent Red Sox ties among the eight candidates in Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Rafael Palmeiro are also up for election.
- Monday, Dec. 5: All-MLB Team announced. Bogaerts and star slugger Rafael Devers are both nominees at their positions
- Tuesday, Dec. 6: Inaugural Draft Lottery, AL/NL Relievers of Year announced
- Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rule 5 Draft
The Red Sox need a big middle-infield bat, whether it is Bogaerts or someone else. If Bogaerts signs elsewhere, Trevor Story could slide back to shortstop with the Sox prioritizing the acquisition of a second baseman instead. There are two elite shortstops on the free-agent market aside from Bogaerts in Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. The market at second base isn’t nearly as interesting.
Bloom will also be looking for help at catcher, starting pitcher and the bullpen.
Potential Trade Candidates
The Red Sox once had high hopes for Bobby Dalbec. The first baseman got hot down the stretch during his rookie year in 2021, but he couldn’t put anything together last season. He could be a classic case of someone who needs a change of scenery. Center fielder Jarren Duran, another recent prospect who hasn’t lived up to expectations, still has the tools to become a solid leadoff man. He could also benefit from a less-pressurized environment.
Prospects to Know
Triston Casas, the big first baseman with tremendous plate discipline, got his feet wet with 95 plate appearances at the end of 2022. The Red Sox need to see a little more before declaring their No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, as their first baseman of the future.
Ceddanne Rafaela, the club’s No. 3 prospect, might be the most toolsy Minor Leaguer the Sox have had since Mookie Betts. If they want to make a blockbuster trade, teams are likely to inquire about Rafaela, who could reach the big leagues at some point in 2023.
Rule 5 Draft
Given that the Red Sox hit a home run with Garrett Whitlock in the Rule 5 Draft two years ago, don’t be surprised if they take a shot on someone. Pitching is the most likely area they will target. It’s also possible that Boston will lose a prospect or two.
Will the Red Sox re-sign Bogaerts? This question hovers over the team’s entire offseason. If the Sox can find a way to keep Bogaerts, they will maintain stability in the middle of the batting order, the diamond and the clubhouse. But if Bogaerts goes elsewhere, Bloom will have to decide what Plan B is. That Plan B would include considerable financial resources, considering the money the Red Sox would need to sign Bogaerts.