Boston Red Sox

After signing left-handed relievers Matt Strahm and Jake Diekman, the Red Sox have been quiet in the trade and free-agent market since the end of the lockout. In that same time, other teams around the AL East are improving in key areas.

After acquiring him last July, the New York Yankees re-signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a two-year deal for $32 million, as first reported by Eric Hubbs of Barstool Sports.

Rumors indicated that New York had interest in free agent Freddie Freeman, but went with a cheaper deal for Rizzo. Following the trade, Rizzo hit .249 with seven home runs in 49 games in pinstripes.

North of the border, the Toronto Blue Jays remain active in building their roster after they acquired former All-Star third basemen Matt Chapman from the Oakland Athletics for four prospects, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Chapman regressed offensively in 2021, but still remains an elite defender at the hot corner. An offensive bounce-back would make this deal a slam dunk for Toronto.

With teams around the division making moves, Boston has areas to do the same. Chaim Bloom will look to stay diligent, with plenty of key players still on the market as Opening Day approaches in three weeks.

MLB takes big step toward actually improving on-field product

  • MLB games are poised to look dramatically different in 2023, based on the rules that the players union has agreed to allow clubs to implement. Here are the three big rule changes to know about on the baseball diamond.

    Pitch Clock

    Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox looks on in between batters during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox looks on in between batters during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    According to Jesse Rogers at, MLB plans to institute a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and 19 seconds with runners on base. Recent experiments in the minor leagues helped baseball ultimately land on the two numbers.

    According to Baseball Prospectus data provided to The Ringer, 82 percent of major league pitchers averaged 15 seconds or fewer between pitches with the bases empty, while only 15 percent of pitchers averaged 17 seconds or fewer with runners on base. The pitch clock did prove successful in the Low-A West League, where the average game length dropped by 21 minutes.

    That makes the pitch clock an obvious choice for a change that will shorten the overall length of games and improve pacing, especially if batters continue to walk and strike out at the rate they have in recent years.

  • No Defensive Shifts

    Cole Irvin #19 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Globe Life Field on July 9, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    Cole Irvin #19 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Globe Life Field on July 9, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    It’s unclear what this rule change will look like and how it will be enforced. But you can presume that teams simply won’t be allowed to overload the right side of the infield to induce pull hitters into easy ground balls. It’s possible that infielders won’t be able to line up in the outfield, which is a hallmark of the shift.

    While obviously effective, defensive shifts have only served to make games less exciting, forcing power hitters to try bunting or slapping the ball to the opposite field. Banning the shift is akin to offside rules in every other major sport. You can’t cross the line too early in football or hockey, and in basketball you can’t spend too much time in the paint. It’s the same principle.

    The change will certainly lead to more ground balls sneaking through the infield, while more base hits will land safely in right field without a second baseman there to gobble them up. But it’s still more important to up the pace between pitches and at-bats, which is why the pitch clock is still the most impactful change.

  • Bigger Bases

    Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves steals second base as Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the throw during the 5th inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves steals second base as Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the throw during the 5th inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    The idea here is to give runners less distance to cover when attempting to steal bases or reach safely. Steals are often among the most exciting plays in the sport, so more of them in the mix with all the walks and strikeouts should improve the overall entertainment value.

    Despite this and the other rule changes, baseball fans still have to wait another year before they actually happen. But it’s still a huge development for the game itself that players and the league are agreeing to evolve. The only downside here is that George Carlin’s old “baseball & football” bit becomes a little more dated (“We don’t know when it’s gonna end! We might have EXTRA innings!”).

    Baseball has really been testing fans’ patience in recent years. Finally, it looks like they’ll be rewarded.

New dates for Red Sox Spring Training, Opening Day, home opener

  • Major League Baseball is officially back from what ended up being a 99-day lockout, meaning the Red Sox will be returning to action soon. However, with time lost to the work stoppage, the MLB calendar for March and April had to be adjusted.

    The league still plans to play a 162 game season, but Spring Training and Opening Day have now been pushed back. Those games set to be played the first two weeks of the year will be made up during the season.

    It will be a 27-day build-up from the end of the lockout to the beginning of the regular season. Here’s the important dates to know along the way.

  • Free agency – Now

    Feb 27, 2020; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom takes questions from reporters during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

    Free agency is already underway, having officially begun at 7 p.m. Thursday night. You can find a list of potential Red Sox free agents here. In addition, teams can negotiate with their own players about contract extensions – which is something to watch for between the Red Sox and 25-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers.

  • Players report to Spring Training – March 13

    Feb 22, 2021; Lee County, Florida, USA; A general view as players walk onto the field during Boston Red Sox spring training at Jet Blue Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

    The latest players can report to Spring Training is this Sunday, Mar. 13. However, some players are already in Fort Myers and have begun working out.

  • Spring Training games begin – March 17-18

    Feb 24, 2019; Fort Myers, FL, USA; A general view of the left field wall aka the green monster at JetBlue Park prior to the spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    The exact schedule is still being worked out, but Spring Training camps will begin late next week. It’s unknown how much of the previous schedule will hold up, but the Red Sox are currently set to play the Toronto Blue Jays Mar. 18 at 1:05 p.m. at JetBlue Park.

  • Opening Day – April 7

    Jun 4, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) celebrates his three run home run against the New York Yankees with Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Ultimately, Opening Day ended up being pushed back a total of eight days, from Mar. 31 to Apr. 7. Now, the Red Sox open their season with a three-game series in the Bronx against the Yankees. The first game will be on Thursday, with Friday set as an off day incase of inclement weather. The series will resume Saturday and Sunday.

  • Home opener – April 15

    Apr 5, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Four F-16’s from the 134th Fighter Squadron from Burlington, Vermont’s Air National Guard do a fly-over before the start of the of the Boston Red Sox home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    After stops in New York and Detroit, the Red Sox finally return to Boston a week into the season. Patriots’ Day weekend begins with the Red Sox home opener against the Twins on Friday at 2 p.m. (the game was originally scheduled for 7:00). It’s the first of a four-game series, which wraps up the morning of Marathon Monday. The Red Sox will play a seven-game home stand against Minnesota and Toronto – their only home games in the month of April.

  • Make-up games

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 05: A view of a sunset behind the grandstand and Fenway Park sign during the second inning of the game between the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    At some point, the Red Sox will need to make up the games from the first weeks of the season – three against the Rays and three against the Orioles. All six games were scheduled to be played at Fenway Park.

    Although those makeup dates haven’t been set, the league announced all games from the first week will be played as double-headers later in the season. The Orioles will be at Fenway May 27-30 and Sept. 27-29, with Tampa coming to Boston July 4-6 and Aug. 26-28.

8 free agents for the Red Sox as the MLB offseason resumes

  • Major League Baseball’s lockout nightmare is over. With the lockout beginning in early December, there hasn’t been much of an offseason, but the league plan to make up for lost time right away.

    According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the lockout is expected to be lifted at 7 p.m. on Thursday, which will open the door for transactions to take place. As is the case with most leagues’ free agencies, although teams and players couldn’t technically communicate for the past few months, deals are expected quickly.

    The Red Sox enter this expedited free agency with a payroll of about $206 million dollars. The new CBT threshold is $230 million, which means they have room to make a significant addition or additions to the roster. If the Red Sox do want to make a splash, there are still plenty of players available who would be major additions.

  • SS Carlos Correa

    May 13, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) throws out Texas Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia (53) at first base in the third inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    The Red Sox are one of a number of teams to be linked to Correa dating back to before the lockout. Xander Bogaerts is expected to exercise the opt-out in his contract after the 2022 season, and has said he’d be open to a position change as well. There’s a spot for Correa in Boston, and he’d be a major upgrade to what is already a formidable middle of the lineup for the Red Sox. Correa hit .279 with 26 home runs in 148 games in 2021.

  • 3B/OF Kris Bryant

    Sep 19, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Kris Bryant (23) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

    The Red Sox’s interest in Bryant reportedly dates back to the summer of 2020. While the roster looks significantly different now than it did then, the team could use another bat in the outfield. Bryant’s positional versatility could allow the team to be flexible with their infield alignments as well. After a rough 2020, Bryant bounced back with an All-Star season in 2021 hitting .265 with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs in 144 games between the Cubs and Giants.

  • OF Nick Castellanos

    Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) hits a home run in the sixth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati.

    If the Red Sox want an outfield bat with some pop – and are willing to spend – Castellanos could be the guy. The former Cincinnati Red made his first All-Star game in 2021, with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs while hitting .309 in 138 games. The Red Sox could use a right-handed bat in the outfield with Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Jarren Duran all lefties.

  • SP Carlos Rodón

    Aug 7, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) delivers against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

    We’re swinging big here. Rodón may be the top starting pitcher on the market at just 29 years old and coming off a season where he recorded a 2.37 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 24 starts for the White Sox. His addition would be a bit more than just ’rounding out the rotation,’ but those are the kinds of moves big market teams make.

  • RP Kenley Jansen

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 22: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the mound during the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

    While Rodón could be the top starter in the market, Jansen may be the top bullpen arm. Although he was inconsistent at times, the 34-year-old was impressive overall in 2021 posting a 2.22 ERA and 1.043 WHIP in 69 appearances for the Dodgers. The Red Sox need to strengthen the back end of their bullpen, especially if they plan to move Garrett Whitlock to the starting rotation. Jansen could be an option – albeit an expensive one.

  • SP Johnny Cueto

    Jun 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches the ball against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Cueto wouldn’t be as splashy of a signing as some of the other players on this list, but he’d add a capable veteran arm to the back end of the rotation. Last season with the Giants, he made 22 starts going 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA.

  • RP Archie Bradley

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 15: Archie Bradley #23 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the eighth inning during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park on September 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 6-5. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

    Bradley could be another back end of the bullpen option for the Red Sox, and has experience pitching both as a setup man and closer. Last year for the Phillies, the 29-year-old made 53 appearances in middle relief and had a 3.71 ERA.

  • OF Eddie Rosario

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 31: Eddie Rosario #8 of the Atlanta Braves catches a fly ball against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images)

    The Red Sox reportedly checked in on Rosario in free agency last winter. Instead, he signed in Cleveland then was dealt to the Atlanta Braves at the deadline. In 111 games, the lefty ended up hitting .259 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs.

  • OF Jorge Soler

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 23: Jorge Soler #12 of the Atlanta Braves hits a double during the eighth inning of Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Truist Park on October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Back to right-handed hitting outfielders, Soler could be a fit in Boston. He was also traded from an AL Central team (Royals) to the Braves last year, and over the course of the season hit .223 with 27 home runs and 70 RBIs.

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