Boston Red Sox

Stop us if you’ve heard this before. We’ll just stop for you because you have heard this before, but … the Red Sox are showing interest in players.

The Jared Carrabis-coined “Interest Kings” (at least I’m giving Jared credit for it) are at it again, if you are to believe a recent report by Bob Nightengale at USA Today. It’s fairly believable, because we’re not talking about a big-money free agent or a pipe dream trade or some kind of luxury. We’re talking about a spot in the lineup that’s suddenly become a necessity.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 15: Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addresses the departure of Alex Cora as manager of the Boston Red Sox during a press conference at Fenway Park on January 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. A MLB investigation concluded that Cora was involved in the Houston Astros sign stealing operation in 2017 while he was the bench coach. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 15: Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom addresses the departure of Alex Cora as manager of the Boston Red Sox during a press conference at Fenway Park on January 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • According to Nightengale, the Red Sox “have expressed interest” in a pair of veteran free-agent infielders: 34-year-old Elvis Andrus, and 29-year-old Jurickson Profar. Nightengale did say that the Sox are looking to “compensate for the loss of Story,” who is expected to miss at least half the 2023 season after undergoing major elbow surgery.

    Andrus can still play shortstop into his mid-30s, having played 143 games at that spot in 2022, between the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox. He’s never been the power hitter that Story is, but has posted 162-game averages of 14 home runs and 34 doubles since 2017. And his defense is legit. Andrus is sixth among all major league shortstops over the past two seasons with 16.6 runs saved above average, a better mark than Trea Turner, Javier Baez, and Xander Bogaerts.

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 21: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Chicago White Sox fields a groundball against the Cleveland Guardians during the fourth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 21, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 21: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Chicago White Sox fields a groundball against the Cleveland Guardians during the fourth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 21, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

  • Profar, meanwhile, offers more positional versatility – to put it lightly. He’s played every position on the diamond at some point in his career, except pitcher and catcher. However, he hasn’t played shortstop since 2018. In 2022 for the Padres, he was primarily their left fielder, but also played first base and second base. So it’ll be interesting to see how the Red Sox would configure their lineup if they brought him aboard.

    Experienced dynasty league fantasy players should be familiar with Profar, because he was once considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. To the point that at least one poor soul believed he might be better than Manny Machado.

    Profar certainly never lived up to that hype, and at age 29, he might just be what he is at the present moment, which is a decent complementary ballplayer. Over the past five seasons, he’s averaged 17 home runs per 162 games while posting a .730 OPS, and being tough to strike out in an era where players are practically trying to strike out (92 K’s per 162 games).

  • SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres reacts to being walked against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning in game three of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 14, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres reacts to being walked against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning in game three of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 14, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Profar seems like more of a replacement for Kik√© Hernandez, who is an obvious choice to move to the infield amid Story’s injury and the loss of Bogaerts in free agency. But he’d be a serviceable veteran replacement and versatile piece, regardless.

    A signing like Andrus or Profar obviously wouldn’t generate much excitement for the 2023 Red Sox, who appear on track to be less-than-competitive in a loaded American League East division. They’ll have to hope that free agent additions like Masataka Yoshida, Justin Turner, and Corey Kluber play some of the best baseball of their careers (and stay healthy), and catch lightning in a bottle like they did in 2013.

    But either way, one of these signings seems more likely than the typical fake interest we always get from the Red Sox. Because they truly need it now.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.