The Boston Red Sox seemingly are World Series contenders as they enter one of the most pivotal offseasons in recent memory.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield pegged the Red Sox at No. 6 in his “way too early” power rankings for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Boston’s lofty place on Schoenfield’s list belies its 84-78 2019 record, suggesting the senior writer at the Worldwide Leader believes better times at Fenway Park are just over the horizon.
“They just hired Chaim Bloom away from the Rays to run baseball operations, and the immediate question he’ll face is whether to trade Mookie Betts in his final season before free agency,” Schoenfield writes. “The likely answer: Forget about it. I get that the farm system is barren and you’re always looking for an infusion of young talent and Betts could bring some good prospects in return. J.D. Martinez also has an opt-out clause on the remaining three years of his contract (three years, $66 million).
“Still, this is a loaded roster that is capable of doing big things in 2020 if they keep one of the best all-around players in the game and Martinez stays. Obviously, a lot will ride on the health of the very expensive rotation. Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi made just 59 starts and went a combined 15-17 with a 4.69 ERA. If those three are, indeed, damaged goods, Martinez walks and Betts is traded, this ranking could look a little silly.”
Eight teams that won as many or more games than the Red Sox in 2019 ranked below Boston on Schoenfield’s list, including the newly minted World Series champions, the Washington Nationals. Perhaps he’s banking on Martinez returning, Betts staying and the aforementioned trio of pitchers returning to good health and peak form.
Nevertheless, this list came out hours into the MLB offseason, and whatever happens in the hot stove over the next few months undoubtedly will change baseball’s perceived and real-life pecking orders.