MLB Analyst Predicts Red Sox To Sign These Five Players In Free Agency

ESPN has the Sox loading up on veteran pitchers

by Logan Mullen

November 6, 2020

Nobody really knows what the Boston Red Sox are going to do this offseason.

Part of that is because the uncertain vision for the ballclub’s 2021 direction, but the other (likely bigger) part is that nobody knows what any team is going to do right now amid so much uncertainty in sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But still, free agency will be opening this winter, and teams will have to stock up on both big-league and minor-league talent. The Red Sox, having successfully reset the luxury tax, could be big players if they want. But this isn’t the greatest free agency class, and they have a chief baseball officer in Chaim Bloom who historically hasn’t spent big, rather found value in the margins.

ESPN’s Dave Schoenfeld on Friday predicted what all 31 teams would do this offseason. For Boston, he had them signing Robbie Ray, Jake Odorizzi, Jake McGee, Cesar Hernandez and Keone Kela.

“I have no idea what the Red Sox will do,” Schoenfeld wrote. “They don’t want to be as bad as they were last year, but the payroll is already high (about $35 million left before hitting the luxury tax) and they have a lot to do to make the pitching respectable again. Given the market, look for them to land some high-upside guys on one-year deals. If they hit on this group and the Red Sox are competitive, all good. If they hit on them and the team is still not competitive, they can look to deal them for some much needed prospect depth at the deadline.”

Odorizzi, 30, is one of the more stable starters on the market this winter. Over the last three seasons with the Minnesota Twins, he went 22-18 with a 4.11 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2019 but made just four appearances this year due to injuries.

Ray, 29, is a left-handed starter who had been with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2015 until getting traded to the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2020 campaign. He was an All-Star in 2017, and went 2-5 this year with a 6.62 ERA this season in 12 appearances (11 starts) between Arizona and Toronto.

McGee, 34, is another lefty pitcher who has made all 546 big league appearances of his career out of the bullpen. Last season, in his lone campaign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, McGee was 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 24 appearances.

Kela, 27, has split his career between the Texans Rangers and, more recently, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The righty pitched in just three games this past season, but in 2019 went 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 32 appearances, making one save while finishing eight games.

Hernandez is a 30-year-old second baseman who spent 2020 with the Cleveland Indians after playing the earlier years of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. He hit .283 last season with a league-leading 20 doubles and is a career .277 hitter.

With this crop of guys, the Red Sox would be signing higher-upside veterans who could supplement the team’s core and make them competitive if guys like J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi bounce back next season.

And unless the Red Sox swing for the fences and go after guys like Trevor Bauer or George Springer, this seems like the wisest approach.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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