Ex-MLB GM Includes Red Sox Among ‘Best Fits’ For These Top Free Agents

Will Boston make a splash on the open market?


November 9, 2021

The Red Sox really could go in any direction this winter, so don’t be surprised if Boston is linked to several high-profile players ahead of the 2022 Major League Baseball season.

Case in point: The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, a former MLB general manager, on Monday revealed his list of the top 25 free agents available, complete with “best fits” and a contract prediction for each. And he included the Red Sox among his “best fits” for 11(!) players, including his top three free agents.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Bowden expects Boston to sign them all. Instead, the Red Sox’s inclusion among the “best fits” for several players simply highlights the flexibility with which chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom can operate this offseason. Nothing can or should be ruled out with regards to the Sox, who are coming off a surprisingly solid 2021 campaign.

The 11 players (along with Bowden’s top-25 rank):

Corey Seager, SS (1)
Carlos Correa, SS (2)
Freddie Freeman, 1B (3)
Marcus Semien, 2B/SS (5)
Trevor Story, SS (6)
Kevin Gausman, RHP (9)
Carlos Rodón, LHP (16)
Anthony Rizzo, 1B (20)
Raisel Iglesias, RHP (23)
Kyle Schwarber, OF/DH/1B (24)
Brandon Belt, 1B (25)

Signing someone like Seager or Correa obviously would qualify as a surprise, especially with Xander Bogaerts currently locked in at shortstop. The advanced fielding metrics weren’t kind to Bogaerts or third baseman Rafael Devers this season, though, so maybe the Red Sox will think outside the box with their 2022 roster construction and defensive positioning.

Freeman and Belt — longtime franchise cornerstones with the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants, respectively — also seem like longshots. Pursuing either veteran first baseman largely would depend on how the organization views incumbent Bobby Dalbec and soon-arriving prospect Triston Casas.

The most realistic options probably are the pitchers on Bowden’s list, as the Red Sox definitely could use rotation and bullpen depth. For what it’s worth, Bowden did not include Eduardo Rodriguez among his top 25 free agents. The Red Sox recently extended a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer to Rodriguez.

Bloom’s stated goal is to build a sustainable World Series contender. Achieving that status requires a roster that’s both talented and cohesive, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to piecing together the puzzle. Some teams, like the Red Sox, have the financial resources necessary to dive deep into free agency, whereas others need to work almost exclusively in the margins.

All told, it should be a fascinating few months that could go a long way toward shaping the long-term future of the Red Sox, especially if they reach into their pockets for one or more of the aforementioned names on the open market.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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