Going into the 2017 season, it is a given that the Red Sox will have some new faces. Most of those new faces will come via the likes of a free agency signing. The World Series only ended 2 weeks ago, and the Red Sox are already linked to some pretty impressive names. Dave Dombrowski has publicly stated that he will not try and improve the starting rotation in the offseason. This offseason will focus more on shoring up the back end of the bullpen as well as trying to replace David Ortiz.
The Red Sox have already been linked to some interesting names. Some familiar faces and some that we not be that familiar with.
The one name that always seems to come back to Boston, when talking about trying to replace David Ortiz, is Carlos Beltran. There is mutual interest it appears between both parties. The Red Sox appear to be very interested in Carlos Beltran. The only issue is that Beltran will be 40 in early April. So how much longer can he play at his current level of production? I would not be a fan of the Red Sox signing Beltran for longer than a 1 year deal, who knows if he will even play longer than a year.
Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are interesting players as they are both free agents, both declined their Qualifying Offers from the Blue Jays, and both have been linked to Boston at one point. Bautista is entering his age 36 season, and he appeared to be fading last year. If he comes to Boston he will play DH almost exclusively, as Boston is pretty set in the outfield for years to come. Encarnacion was endorsed by David Ortiz, has a swing that is made for Fenway, and could replace Ortiz’s production in the middle of the lineup by himself. Encarnacion is keeping his options open, and Boston is in that mix. He has the luxury of holding out for the most money and the most years. It also appears based on reports from his camp, that he is done in Toronto. Edwin Encarnacion would be a huge piece in Boston for years to come, and would make an already feared lineup, that much better.
Photo Cred: Greg Goldstein
Mark Trumbo is also a free agent, who declined his qualifying offer from the Orioles. We all know that Trumbo has unreal power and can hit homeruns to all parts of the field, however he doesn’t offer much in the way of average. That is why I think Encarnacion is the guy the Red Sox should be courting and going all in on. Edwin can hit for average, he drives in a ton of runs, and hits for a lot of power. Also he is a right handed hitter who is a natural pull hitter. He has also put up some pretty ridiculous career numbers at Fenway.
The Red Sox have been linked to one bullpen arm. This individual was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball before he got hurt. Now he is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and will, most likely, be ready by opening day. This player is Greg Holland. The very same Greg Holland of Kansas City Royals fame, this is a low risk, potentially high reward signing for the Red Sox. If they can get even 90% of what Holland was in Kansas City it will be a win. He won’t be the closer again, as that job belongs to Craig Kimbrel. He could take the job of Koji or Tazawa.
Do not rule out the Red Sox taking a look at guys like Brad Ziegler, Fernando Abad, Brett Cecil, and Luke Hochevar. These guys would be nice bullpen pieces. Brad Ziegler, as we saw, provides a lot of value to a team. He can be used in any situation, except against left handers.
I look for Boston to make one splash signing for the bullpen, which could be Greg Holland, a few minor signings. Keep in mind that Carson Smith will be back around mid-May or so. Carson Smith will provide a huge boost to the bullpen once activated.