Red Sox

What experts are saying about the Red Sox at the MLB winter meetings

What does Boston need to do to improve on a disappointing 2022?

Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom prior to a game at Fenway Park, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Boston. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The 2022 MLB winter meetings are underway, and there has been no shortage of action so far.

On Monday, the Mets signed starting pitcher Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.7 million deal, while Trea Turner inked an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies. Even with these two high-profile signings, a number of big names remain on the market.

One such name is Xander Bogaerts, who many thought would reunite with Dave Dombrowski in Philadelphia prior to Turner’s signing with the club. According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom remains hopeful that Boston will re-sign Bogaerts.

“We are not getting to the point where we’re closing the door on Xander,” Bloom told Browne on Monday. “That’s not something we want to envision.”

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Bloom’s quote came just a day after the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported that the Red Sox “have not made a competitive offer” to the shortstop.

Boston’s seemingly lackadaisical pursuit of Bogaerts has drawn the ire of the fan base and raised questions regarding the Red Sox’ identity.

“It’s hard not to wonder if the Red Sox are still operating in the deep end of the pool with teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Mets, and Padres, or if are they now a second-tier team seeking second-tier talent,” Abraham wrote on Monday.

While the answer to that question remains to be seen, what else have those around the league been saying about the Red Sox at the winter meetings?

They need to add “at least one” starting pitcher.

On Monday, the Athletic’s Chad Jennings detailed how the Red Sox should approach the meetings.

He acknowledged Boston’s need for starting pitching, noting that the organization has been looking to upgrade at the position.

“Multiple sources have said the Red Sox are not going after a bunch of No. 4s and 5s this offseason,” Jennings wrote. “They want a couple of No. 2s — give or take — who push their existing starters into more appropriate roles.”

He pointed to Chris Bassitt, who spent 2022 with the Mets, as well as Japanese star Kodai Senga as possibilities to fit that bill for the Red Sox.

Bobby Dalbec is “available.”

After non-tendering Franchy Cordero on November 18th, Boston could be looking to move on from another of their first basemen this offseason.

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According to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam, the Red Sox “have told teams that Bobby Dalbec is available.”

Dalbec, 27, burst onto the scene in 2020, drilling eight home runs in 23 games and looking like the future at first base for Boston.

He struggled for much of 2021 before heating up towards the end of the season, finishing the year slashing .240/.298/.494 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI.

Dalbec then had his worst season as a pro in 2022, slashing just .215/.283/.369 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI across 117 games. With Triston Casas and Eric Hosmer currently on the roster as options to play first base in 2023, the Red Sox seem comfortable with moving on from Dalbec.

Boston likely remains in the market for a right-handed hitting first baseman, however, after missing out on José Abreu – their reported top free agent target.

They’re in “advanced talks” with reliever Tommy Kahnle.

As noted by the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox are looking to “create a deeper late-innings pool of options in response to a disappointing bullpen performance that contributed to the team’s last-place finish in 2022.”

The club has already signed lefty Joely Rodríguez and reached an agreement with right-hander Chris Martin, and now appears to have its eyes on veteran Tommy Kahnle, according to Speier.

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Kahnle, 33, has spent time with the Rockies, White Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers. He only threw one inning in 2020 before having Tommy John surgery, requiring him to miss the entire 2021 season as well. Limited in 2022 by a bone bruise in his elbow, Kahnle threw just 12.2 innings for the Dodgers, striking out 14 batters and recording a 2.84 ERA.

Though “other teams remain in the mix” for Kahnle, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo, he could serve in a set-up role for a Boston team that struggled to hold on to late leads in 2022.

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