The Boston Red Sox aren’t playing to compete with nine games left before the end of the 2023 campaign.

Playoff hopes faded, the injured list still has company and there’s a void to be filled in the front office, so it’s time to look ahead into the offseason. That means difficult decisions will need to be made, especially in regard to Boston’s roster. Will trades be made? Will big-dollar contracts be dished out? It’s clear that 2023, an extension of 2022, isn’t where the Red Sox want to be next September, therefore, change will be essential.

So far, very little is known.

It’s unknown whether the Red Sox will look in-house or outside in order to fill their now-vacant front office seat. It’s unknown whether attention will be directed toward bolstering the pitching staff or adding a power bat to the lineup, and it’s unknown how interested the Red Sox are in bidding for Major League Baseball’s hottest free agent Shohei Ohtani.

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Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: the offseason will be interesting, one way or another.

Red Sox odds (Sept. 21)*
To win World Series: +100000
To win American League: +50000
To win AL East: off board
To make playoffs: off board

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Boston is no longer in contention, therefore, the focus will be redirected to the offseason, first starting with a replacement of former chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

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Probable pitchers
— Friday, Sept. 22 (7:10 p.m. ET vs. White Sox): Chris Sale, LHP (6-4, 4.66 ERA) vs. Touki Toussaint, RHP (4-7, 5.40 ERA)

— Saturday, Sept. 23 (4:10 p.m. ET vs. White Sox): Nick Pivetta, RHP (9-9, 4.48 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease, RHP (7-8, 4.85 ERA)

— Sunday, Sept. 24 (1:35 p.m. ET vs. White Sox): Kutter Crawford, RHP (6-7, 4.19 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger RHP (8-8, 3.42 ERA)

Storylines to watch
1. The continuous candidate search for a front office replacement
With Bloom out of the picture, the leadership hunt continues.

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The Red Sox have a critical offseason ahead with plenty of decisions roster-wise that need to be approached delicately in order to switch up the teams’ trajectory in recent years. Whether that includes attacking the upcoming free agency market or exploring trades, expect some new faces next season as Boston looks to put its daunting back-to-back postseason misses in the rearview mirror and look ahead to brighter days.

2. Which players will commit to playing during Winter?
The Red Sox didn’t have much to play for in terms of contention during the regular season, but it did provide an outlet for Boston’s youngsters to get some valuable big league experience under their belts.

As the season reaches its end, so does the opportunity to continue that developmental stage, unless certain players are committed to continuing. Red Sox manager Alex Cora recently revealed that certain players will be encouraged to join Winter Leagues in order to continue getting the necessary in-game experience to keep progressing, including a few that were hampered by injury. Cora, who has deep connections in his native land Puerto Rico, also mentioned that the Red Sox are fully prepared to accommodate any player looking to extend their season into the Winter.

3. The soon-to-be rumbling rumor mill (trade or free agency)
What everyone wants to know about.

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Who’s catching Boston’s eye? Who are the Red Sox most focused on adding to next season’s roster? With rumors currently at a minimum, the room for speculation is much greater. So don’t count Ohtani out just yet, right?

Featured image via Kevin Sousa/USA TODAY Sports Images