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Who should the Red Sox target first in free agency? Trevor Bauer seems to be perfect for what they need – pitching, pitching, pitching – but will the price be too steep considering how many teams will be in on him? What would your first priority be? – Greg F.
It probably should be Bauer, just because he’s far and away the best pitcher on the market this year, and the Red Sox remain desperate for quality starting pitching. But I don’t think it will be him.
I suspect they’ll count on Eduardo Rodriguez returning from COVID-19 (he signed a new one-year contract Tuesday) and Chris Sale coming back after rehabbing following Tommy John surgery, and piece the middle and back of the rotation together with Nate Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Hauck, and assorted others.
It makes sense that they would try to find a veteran bargain or two to compete for a role, maybe Jon Lester or Corey Kluber. But it would surprise me if they outbid teams like the Mets, who appear ready to try to sign everyone of note, for Bauer. And the list of pitchers after him isn’t inspiring. Would signing James Paxton or Masahiro Tanaka excite anyone? I thought Charlie Morton would be a target, but the Braves snapped him up.
If the Sox do go after one of the big name free agents, I’d bet it would be George Springer. He’s a complete player, has been a monster in the postseason, and manager Alex Cora knows him well from their time in Houston. The most interesting free agent to me is J.P. Realmuto, the rare excellent all-around catcher, but he’s going to make a ton of money, and the Sox seem committed to Christian Vazquez.
If I had to wager on it, though, I’d say the Sox won’t sign any big free agents this year, and will instead try to do the 2013 Sox/2001 Patriots thing by bringing in some respected mid-level veterans at bargain rates and hope they find a way to jell into a competitive and perhaps contending team.
But to answer the question, Bauer would be the best on-field fit, and Springer would be the best overall fit. Signing the latter seems slightly more likely.
What does everyone else think? Who should be the Red Sox’ main target in free agency? I’ll hear you in the comments.
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