Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Javier Báez all found new homes this Major League Baseball offseason, leaving Carlos Correa and Trevor Story as the stud shortstops remaining in a loaded free agent class.
Should the Boston Red Sox make a splash?
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle this week examined the markets for Correa and Story, two All-Star players facing different situations but whose futures are connected so long as they both stay unsigned. Correa, 27, figures to command a larger payday, whereas Story, 29, represents an intriguing alternative.
Obviously, it’s difficult to predict where either player will land when the dust settles. A lot still can change across MLB in the coming days, weeks and months. But Doolittle believes some teams are a better fit than others, which he highlighted in a column published Wednesday on ESPN.com.
Doolittle used a “star” system (from one to five) to rank the fits, after eliminating 10 teams as “not a fit” based on various factors. He placed the Red Sox among the “three-star fits” for Correa and Story, alongside the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.
Here’s what Doolittle wrote about Boston:
The Tampa Bay Sox, er, the Boston Devil Rays ? it’s very confusing. Shouldn’t the Red Sox be in big on every premier free agent? Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Still, with Xander Bogaerts in hand through 2025 (assuming he doesn’t opt out of his deal after 2022), Boston doesn’t have an obvious need for a splashy shortstop. However, either Story or Correa would upgrade the defense at the position and free up Bogaerts to slide over to second base, or third base if Boston wants to move Rafael Devers to another spot. There isn’t that much long-term money on the books. The Red Sox do have a lofty shortstop prospect in 2021 draftee Marcelo Mayer, but he’s just getting started. A big short-term offer to either Story or Correa would make a lot of sense.
As Doolittle notes, Correa and Story are imperfect fits for the Red Sox in that Boston already has an All-Star shortstop in Xander Bogaerts. Thus, signing Correa or Story would require some finagling, perhaps with Bogaerts sliding to second base.
It’s a fascinating hypothetical, though. Adding either free agent would lengthen the Red Sox’s already potent lineup while improving their shaky infield defense. Plus, Bogaerts can opt out of his contract after next season. So, signing Correa or Story would help safeguard against his possible departure.
Is Boston the most seamless destination? Not exactly. Which is why Doolittle has the Red Sox among his “three-star fits,” while the Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees fall under the “five-star fits” umbrella.
Still, one can dream. ‘Tis the season, after all.