Red Sox

Here’s the Red Sox’ free agent situation for the 2022 offseason

A pair of the team's top hitters and a starting pitcher could all become free agents this offseason.

Kyle Schwarber and J.D. Martinez both have options for the 2022 season. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Red Sox’ surprising season came to an end Friday when they fell to the Astros, losing the ALCS 4-2.

Now, they look ahead to the 2022 offseason. Some of the Red Sox’ top players are under contract for next season, including Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Both players do have interesting contract situations past 2022, though. Bogaerts can opt out of his six-year, $120 million deal following next season and Rafael Devers becomes a free agent after the 2023 season, which could make him a candidate to get an extension this offseason.

Boston will also have two of its top starting pitchers under contract in 2022. Nathan Eovaldi enters the final year of his four-year, $72 million deal and Chris Sale enters year three of his big five-year deal.

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But after Eovaldi and Sale, there are some question marks on the Red Sox’ starting rotation. Eduardo Rodriguez will become a free agent this offseason. The lefty had a shaky 2021, going 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA after missing the 2020 season due to myocarditis. Rodriguez did have a couple of impressive playoff outings this season, which further complicates how much it would cost to re-sign him.

The Red Sox still have Tanner Houck, Nick Pivetta, and Garrett Richards under their control.

Houck spent much of the first half of the season in Triple-A before making 10 starts over July, August, and September. However, Houck was mostly used as a reliever for most of the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

Pivetta was used exclusively as a starter this season, but some have speculated that he could be a good candidate to be the Red Sox’ next closer.

Finally, Richards could return as a starter next season, but he was moved to the bullpen in August after his struggles as a starter. He did pitch better out of the bullpen as he didn’t allow an earned run in 12 of his 18 appearances. The Red Sox could cut ties with him though, as he has a $10 million club option for next season.

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At the plate, the Red Sox could lose two of their top sluggers. Kyle Schwarber has an $11.5 mutual option for 2022. After the impressive season he had, he’ll likely earn more than that on a multi-year contract.

J.D. Martinez is the other big hitter the Red Sox could lose. Martinez could opt out from the final season of his five-year deal, in which he’s scheduled to make $19.4 million. If Martinez opts out, the Red Sox could pick to re-sign just one of Schwarber or Martinez and make that player their primary designated hitter. With prospect Triston Casas likely making his MLB debut in the near future and the emergence of Bobby Dalbec in the second half of the season, the Red Sox might not need Schwarber to play first base – a position he never played prior to coming to Boston – if they keep him.

Christian Vázquez has a $7 million club option for next season. With no clear other option at catcher, it could be in the Red Sox’ best interest to pick up Vázquez’s option despite his dip in hitting this season.

In the bullpen, Adam Ottavino and Hansel Robles will become free agents. Martin Perez has a $7 million club option for 2022.

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Ottavino had the most appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen with 69. After struggling with the Yankees in 2020 (5.89 ERA, 1.582 WHIP), Ottavino bounced back a bit in 2021 with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.452 WHIP. Robles struggled in his first handful of appearances after the Red Sox acquired him at the deadline, but he closed the regular season without giving up a run in his 15 appearances.

Perez was in a similar spot as Richards, struggling as a starter before getting moved to the bullpen this season.

As of right now, the Red Sox’ payroll for the 2022 season is $185.3 million, according to Spotrac. That number includes the salaries for Schwarber ($11.5 million), Martinez ($19.4 million), Richards ($10 million), Vázquez ($7 million), and Perez ($7 million). If, for whatever reason, all of those options were declined, that would drop the Red Sox’ payroll by roughly $50 million.

How the Red Sox’ payroll stands up against the luxury tax for next season is currently unclear with MLB and the MLBPA still negotiating a collective bargaining agreement as the current one is set to expire on Dec. 1. MLB made a proposal to the MLBPA in August to set the first luxury tax threshold at $180 million, which is $30 million lower than $210 million threshold it was at this season.

Here’s a full list of the Red Sox’ potential free agents this offseason:

J.D. Martinez (player option)

Kyle Schwarber (club option)

Eduardo Rodriguez

Christian Vázquez (club option)

Adam Ottavino

Garrett Richards (club option)

Hansel Robles

Martin Perez (club option)

Danny Santana

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Travis Shaw

Brad Peacock

Jose Iglesias

Chris Herrmann

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