Three things the Red Sox ought to do during the MLB winter are: Trade a well-known name to get several beginnings


Craig Breslow, the new general manager, will have his hands full this winter.

The offseason for Major League Baseball has begun. The upcoming weeks will see a spike in trade and free-agent action before this year’s MLB Winter Meetings, which are set to start on Sunday, December 3. If the early offseason is useful for anything, it’s for dimwits to sit down and pretend to be general managers and create intricate plans for the offseason. Do you find that enjoyable? Then, then, you’re in luck today.

We outlined some moves we believe incoming Red Sox general manager Craig Breslow ought to make this winter. It should go without saying, but it won’t, that this is purely for enjoyment. Executives in Major League Baseball cannot just snap their fingers and make things happen. Please put aside your disbelief and take pleasure in the gasbaggery.

Now that we’ve cleared everything up, here are three decisions we believe the Red Sox ought to make this winter.

1. Find a couple of starters

We’re starting with a clearly defined need. Last season, the Red Sox’s rotation had the 22nd-highest ERA in the big leagues. At least five starts were given to nine different pitchers, including free agency James Paxton and reliever/opener Brennan Bernardino. Chris Sale, Brayan Bello, and Kutter Crawford are most likely scheduled to play for Breslow in his 2024 rotation. Two seats are still available for purchases.

There are plenty of good starting pitchers available in this free-agent and trade class, which is good news. The bad news is that adding a quality starting pitcher is difficult and expensive because several teams are vying for the same players. Nevertheless, we believe the Red Sox should be able to get two upgrades.

Our best opinion is that Boston would be best served by signing or trading for one starter who is clearly above average, then acquiring a player who is more suited to be a No. 3 or No. 4 in the lineup. We’re going to go one step further and choose two names to appease everyone’s reptile brain because we’re meant to be roleplaying as Breslow here.

We’ll opt with Blake Snell, the recent winner of the National League Cy Young Award, as our best starter. Considering his leadership and workload, several front-office people that we spoke with rank lower on Snell than you may anticipate. Nevertheless, Snell has proven he can succeed in the AL East, and it never hurts to have a lefty in your rotation who has won multiple Cy Young Awards.

In regards to the downmarket purchase, let’s show off a potential trade target. Former All-Star pitcher Paul Blackburn of the Athletics showed a slight increase in strikeouts during the previous year. He’s not a big thrower and will turn thirty in a few months, but he’s the kind of unnoticed addition that makes sense.

Breslow may sign a one- or two-year contract with Tyler Mahle if he truly wants to go weird. Tommy John surgery was performed on Mahle in May, indicating that he is unlikely to return to the mound until sometime around the All-Star Game. Nevertheless, he has a history of being a better starter than average, so he could provide a welcome midsummer lift. In addition, teams always require a backup plan due to injuries and poor play.

2. Trade Verdugo for infield help

Once more, not a very original idea.

It is said that in previous trade discussions, the Red Sox had brought up Alex Verdugo. Why wouldn’t they do that all winter long? He’s established himself as a league-average player who tends to irritate his management, and he’s about to enter his walk season. We have a suspicion that his trading worth isn’t very high.

Moving Verdugo, though, would help the Red Sox strengthen another area of their squad and spare Alex Cora from one headache. We would specifically aim to trade Verdugo for some assistance in the infield. Rafael Devers, Triston Casas, and Trevor Story are the current Red Sox players. Depending on where Story plays, that leaves a vacancy at shortstop or second base.

Middle infielders have terrible luck in the free-agent market, so the trade market is a better place to fill this hole. A few teams—the Orioles, Guardians, Rangers, Yankees, and Padres—clearly have an excess of infield players. Not all of those teams would likely be interested in Verdugo, and even if they were, we doubt they would trade their most desirable infielders for him (otherwise, we believe Gleyber Torres would have already transferred).

But maybe we could strike it fortunate and send Verdugo and a less good prospect to the Guardians in exchange for second baseman Tyler Freeman, who is a pure contact hitter. While it may not be the most eye-catching move ever, if Freeman can replicate David Fletcher’s early career for a few seasons, it would be worthwhile.

3. Add a true center fielder

Speaking of tiresome but important manoeuvres.

After Verdugo cleared the field, we would move Jarren Duran to a corner position and insert a legitimate centre fielder. (Duran has graded as a below-average glove there over his big-league career, despite his outstanding speed.)

In this sense, the free-agent market is abundant. Although Kevin Kiermaier is the most well-known player, Jung Hoo Lee, a transfer prospect from South Korea, may have greater potential. There’s Harrison Bader, a prime candidate for a one-year pillow contract, and Michael A. Taylor, who just finished a stronger two-year run at the plate than his reputation would have you believe.

The Red Sox’s middle defence would be strengthened if any one of those were added.