Blue Jays: The AL East is in for a shift in the landscape
Will 2022 turn out to be an off year in Boston?
As much as I’m tempted to write off the Red Sox, I’ve been watching baseball far too long to expect them to roll over and go into a deep rebuild. That basically never happens with one of baseball’s most valuable franchises, and I don’t expect that will be the case this time around either.
Still, the reality of the situation is that the Red Sox finished last in the AL East in 2022, and they’re looking at four talented teams ahead of them in the standings. They could lose some key players in free agency like J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi, and even Xander Bogaerts if he opts out of his contract. There are some talented players coming in the pipeline that have started to arrive, but it would be surprising to see Chaim Bloom and company just stand pat and let some of their best players leave, at least without making an effort to retain them, which I expect they will with Bogaerts at least.
I’m not sure how much of an appetite for patience there is in Boston, but it might be wise if they looked at next year as a bit of a transition season. It’s going to take a fair bit to leapfrog their competition, and while I don’t think they’re going to throw in the towel, I also don’t expect Bloom to try and fix things overnight either.
My expectation is they’ll address Bogaerts’ contract situation, and likely try to do the same for Rafael Devers as well, who is arguably just starting his prime and could be the club’s highest priority as far as extensions go. It makes sense to me that they would try to retain that duo as the leading faces of the core of their next contending effort.
Beyond that, if the Red Sox are going to compete for a playoff spot in 2023, they’re going to need a lot of in-house improvement, and likely some luck on short-term contracts with veterans again. Since it’s the Red Sox, don’t rule it out.