Op-Ed: Free Agency is Key for the Red Sox

Boston+-+August+8%3A+New+York+Yankees+and+Boston+Red+Sox+fans+in+the+stands+on+August+8+2011+at+Fenway+Park+in+Boston.+Photo+purchased+from+BigStock.com.+

Boston – August 8: New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans in the stands on August 8 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston. Photo purchased from BigStock.com.

Evan Michaeli

If you followed the Boston Red Sox this year, you know the Red Sox did not hold to their standard. After a dismal last place finish and a 24-36 record, the team wasn’t spectacular. However, the 2021 season does not have to be hopeless if the Red Sox choose wisely in free agency.  

The Red Sox’s weakness this year was their pitching. Their two best startersChris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez— were both on the injured list. One key addition to their starting rotation would be ace Trevor Bauer. I have mixed feeling about this signing. Bauer is a Cy Young Candidate this year and has already won the Player’s Choice Award for Outstanding Pitcher in the National League. His statistics have shown that Bauer is capable of ace material with 100 strikeouts and the lowest earned run average in the NL at 1.73. 

However, Bauer’s personality gets the better of him occasionally. He goes on Twitter and taunts players, and he once threw a baseball over a fence when he was taken out of a ballgame in Kansas City. Also, adding him to the team would result in a loss of a draft pick, something Boston should hold on to. Not to mention, that Boston still has an ace in Chris Sale.  

So does Taijuan Walker. Walker was traded from Seattle to Toronto at the trade deadline, and for good reason. His 2.70 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 53.1 innings pitched are impressive numbers. Walker’s stats show that he has major potential 

Not only does Boston’s starting pitching need help, but so does our bullpen. Alex Colomé could be the pitcher to change the bullpen. Colomé had a phenomenal 0.81 ERA this year and got the save 12 out of 13 times. Also, when facing 90 batters, 13 got a hit. Thats a 14% chance of getting a hit off Colomé 

Kirby Yates would be another solid pick up. Even though he had a season-ending injury in 2020, last year he was considered one of the best closers in the game. After picking up a career high 41 saves, 1.19 ERA, and 101 strikeouts, Yates was awarded an All-Star Game appearance. Yates, however, may not come back to his 2019 all-star form after his injury which would make him a risky pick up.  

Arodys Vizcaíno is the last pitcher I would recommend. My friend and I wrote a letter to the Red Sox this summer explaining why picking up Vizcaíno would be a wise choice. We wrote, “In all but two seasons of his career, he has posted an ERA below 3. On top of that, Vizcaino still has a great arm, and he’s thrown over triple digits with his max being 101. His fastball velocity on average was 98 mph. 

The Red Sox could also use some help on the defensive side of the ball. Especially in the outfield. The Red Sox are known as a good hitting team with hitters like Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Christian Vazquez, and Rafael Deversbut more power behind the bat won’t hurt.  

The Red Sox should make it a priority to resign Jackie Bradley Jr. Last year, Bradley had a decent year for Boston with a career high batting average of 0.283 and great 0.814 OPS. Bradley is best known for his spectacular defense in centerfield. He won the Golden Glove in 2018 and routinely makes great plays—including catch last season in Baltimore that saved the game 

If the Red Sox want power, they can sign the outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna had a wonderful year with Atlanta. Ozuna had a 0.338 batting average, 18 home runs, and 56 runs batted in in 60 Games. In 2019, playing for Saint Louis, he had 29 home runs and 89 runs batted in. Ozuna is trending in the right direction, and at 29, he can make a tremendous impact—especially if he hits monster home runs like this one in Tampa that went 468 feet. 

George Springer also has the potential to have a serious impact as he is a wonderful hitting outfielderWhile he might’ve been on a team that cheated, he is still a talented player. He was World Series MVP in 2017 and was an all-star for three years in a row. 2020 was not too bad either. A 0.267 batting average and 14 home runs in 51 games is not terrible.  

The last player I would suggest is the second baseman D.J. LeMahieu. He originally played for Colorado—which is known to be a hitter’s parkand some people thought he would fail outside of Denver. He proved them wrong with the best batting average in his career last year at 0.368 and 0.327 the year prior. LeMahieu’s fielding is unbelievable. Additionally, LeMahieu is trending up with his 2 Golden Gloves and Silver Slugger in 2019.  

As a whole, the Red Sox still have hope. They can be a force in the American League if they are willing to spend the money. Because wasn’t that what trading Mookie was for?