Mazz: With Triston Casas, the Red Sox finally got to first base
Someday, we may look at Triston Casas and believe he was entirely worth the wait, that the Red Sox finally found an answer at first base.
But for now, at least, we can still lament how long it took them to get there.
Since Mitch Moreland became something less than everyday first baseman in 2019 and until Casas took over full time this year, the Red Sox handled first base as if they could only make left turns in a rotary. From 1999-2022, the Red Sox finished 25th among all major league clubs in OPS at first base while committing the fourth-most errors and finishing 20th in defensive runs saved.
Translation: it was a disaster.
Casas changed that in 2023 – at least partly.
After a sluggish start, Casas finished 2023 with a .263 batting average and .863 OPS, totaling 24 home runs and 65 RBI. Starting on May 3, the only first baseman in the game who were more productive (based on OPS) were Atlanta’s Matt Olson and Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the former of whom led the majors with 54 home runs and the latter who remains one of the best hitters in the game.
The yeah, but?
Casas’ performance defensively left something to be desired, where he ranked 29th of 36 in defensive runs saved. The Red Sox believe Casas’ defense improved in the second half of the season – and the eye test certainly seemed to support that.
Regardless, Casas’ name is in ink as the Red Sox’ first baseman for 2024, providing the team with the kind of stability it has lacked at the position (and, frankly, in most places) for several years. Will we feel the same way at the of 2024? Presumably.
But for now, the Red Sox have a left-handed-hitting first baseman who should figure somewhere in the middle of the order.
As such, they won’t be in the market for a new one.
Mazz: The 2024 Red Sox offseason plan
For the Red Sox, if it hasn’t already, the 2024 season begins today. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and manager/general manager/baseball ops alpha Alex Cora will address the media and begin sifting through the rubble of another lost year. Possibly, team officials may give us some insight into the Red Sox’ offseason plan.
In the interim, we’ll deduce some things on our own.
Over the coming days and weeks, beginning with this overview, we will offer a position-by-position breakdown of where the Red Sox stood in 2023 and where they may be headed in 2024 (and beyond). Starting tomorrow, the plan is to provide a relatively detailed look at every position on the diamond by examining where the Sox stand relative to the other teams in the American League and the entirety of Major League Baseball, all with the hopes of exploring what needs to change – and how quickly.
The good news? If the Sox are willing to spend – and longtime MLB.com correspondent Ian Browne recently sounded confident they will – improvement can come relatively quickly.
One final note: Years ago, during the heyday of owners John Henry and Tom Werner, then-general manager Theo Epstein once suggested that the goal of the Red Sox baseball operation was to have an above average major-leaguer at most every position while being no worse than average at any position. Make sense? With that in mind, we give you an opening look at the State of the Red Sox entering a pivotal offseason in an attempt to decipher the 2024 Red Sox offseason plan.