It’ll likely be back to the drawing board for the Red Sox this offseason, as Boston’s playoff chances took another hit this week with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox enter September with a 69-65 record, a respectable mark but not good enough for a franchise with World Series aspirations. Boston almost certainly will need outside reinforcements for 2024, either via free agency or the trade market.

Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy was asked Thursday during an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” about Boston’s “next steps” in trying to build a contender over the next five years.

“Well, I think we’ve seen it, and it’s sort of tried and true in baseball: Pitching, pitching, pitching, more pitching, is always needed,” Kennedy said. “And I think we’ve got some young players and pitchers in this organization that are going to help us. We’ve got to be active in the free agent market as we go forward in the next five years. Because pitching and defense wins championships. We all know that. And so that’s got to be a big focus as we go forward.”

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There are reasons to be optimistic about the Red Sox’s future, even from the mound, where Brayan Bello, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford, among others, offer upside as Boston assembles its pitching staff for 2024 and beyond. That probably won’t be enough to thrust the Red Sox into championship contention, though, and it’s therefore incumbent upon the front office to supplement the club’s evolving core with more talent.

An infusion of pitching depth — impact starters, especially — would go a long way toward changing the narrative in Boston. The American League East is arguably the toughest division in Major League Baseball, thanks in large to its loaded offenses, and acquiring arms capable of holding those bats in check definitely would give the Red Sox a leg up on their competition.

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