Four Position Players Red Sox Could Target In MLB Free Agency

The Red Sox could use a starting-caliber outfielder


Nov 11, 2022

The Boston Red Sox have plenty of voids to fill all over the diamond, which could make them major players in the free-agent market this offseason.

With many needs, the Red Sox could be in on players at multiple positions, making the possibilities of who they might target seemingly endless.

The Red Sox sure could use a starting-caliber outfielder and could set their eyes on bringing in an infielder, especially given the uncertain future of star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. And that just might be the start of it if Boston looks to upgrade in other areas.

With what starting pitchers and relievers the Red Sox could possibly target already covered, let’s take a look at four position players they could be in pursuit of over the coming months:

Josh Bell
The Red Sox were linked to Bell at this year’s Major League Baseball trading deadline, but the Washington Nationals dealt the slugging first baseman out west to the San Diego Padres.

Bell, who turned 30 in August, might prove just to be a rental for the Padres and now with the seven-year veteran on the open market, it might entice the Red Sox to push to sign him without having to give up anything in return.

While Bell struggled at the plate in San Diego, his bat is his biggest asset. Bell finished the campaign with a .266 batting average to go along with 17 home runs, 29 doubles and 71 RBIs. He also smacked two home runs in the Padres’ run to the National League Championship Series.

The Red Sox need more pop in their lineup and Bell certainly could provide that. And don’t think of Bell just as a first baseman. With the Red Sox having a vacancy at designated hitter, Bell could slot in there nicely as well.

Willson Contreras
Boston already has two catchers on its roster in Reese McGuire and Connor Wong, but if the Red Sox don’t think Wong, who was a late-season call-up last season, is ready for a platoon role, they could try to add another catcher.

The 30-year-old Contreras is obviously a bigger name than both McGuire and Wong and could help send the ball out of the ballpark more for the Red Sox after they finished 20th in the majors in homers this past season. Contreras is coming off a season in which he belted 22 dingers to go along with 55 RBIs while sporting a .243 batting average to earn the third All-Star nod of his career.

Contreras made just under $10 million last season and has the added bonus of already playing for a marquee franchise. Contreras helped the Chicago Cubs capture a World Series in 2016, and if he can play in that heightened environment, the pressure of playing in Boston shouldn’t get to him.

Michael Conforto
The Red Sox desperately need another outfielder to go with Alex Verdugo and Kiké Hernández and one that can bring some power to the unit that was severely lacking in it this past season. Conforto might just be the guy, even though he didn’t play at all in 2022.

Conforto, a 2014 first-round pick by the New York Mets, missed the entire campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery, which could make him more of a bargain. A short-term, prove-it deal for Conforto could benefit both sides.

The left-handed hitter has smacked at least 27 homers in three of his seven seasons in the majors, last doing so in 2019 when he hit a career-high 33 round-trippers.

Verdugo and Hernández only combined for 17 home runs this past season as the 29-year-old Conforto would be an upgrade when it comes to power production from the outfield.

Matt Duffy
If Bogaerts departs in free agency, the Red Sox would have to find a way to fill a massive hole.

One way to do that would be moving Trevor Story back to shortstop, where he played with the Colorado Rockies before joining the Red Sox last season. That would leave an opening at second base, which chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom could fill with a rotating cast of players, including Duffy.

Duffy, 31, isn’t close to a flashy name, but he’s a serviceable player who has played at multiple spots in the infield over his seven-year big league career.

Duffy only hit .250 with two home runs and 16 RBIs in 77 games with the Los Angeles Angels last year, but this could be a reclamation project Bloom likes to work with, especially given the low risk associated with Duffy.

It also helps that Duffy has past ties to Bloom as their time with the Tampa Bay Rays intersected. Duffy, who the Rays traded for from the San Francisco Giants, had one of the best seasons of his career with the Rays in 2018, when he batted .294 with four home runs, 44 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images
MLB free agent outfielder Michael Conforto
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