Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 20: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of Team Japan looks on during the fifth inning against Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at loanDepot park on March 20, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

When it comes to big-name free-agent pitchers, the Boston Red Sox have been all over the map.

It’s no secret at this point that the Red Sox and Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow¬†are perusing the market for top-end starting pitchers, and the free agent pool remains deep in that department. The only big ticket to sign so far is Aaron Nola, who re-upped with the Philadelphia Phillies.

That’s not the end of the world, but it’s not unfair for Red Sox fans to feel uneasy at the moment. The club has essentially become a meme with their rampant “interest” in players that turns out to be a giant nothing sandwich. But their need for a top-of-the-rotation starter could not be more glaring, and they have several options in front of them.

Nov. 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Craig Breslow has been open about the team's need for starting pitchers. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Nov. 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Craig Breslow has been open about the team’s need for starting pitchers. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

So, it would be a special level of frustration for fans if Breslow doesn’t close the deal on someone, or if John Henry balks at the price tags.

Anyway, the Red Sox do appear interested (there goes that word again) in just about all the top free-agent pitchers. Certainly, a lot of us in Boston will believe it when we see it. But here’s the latest on what top baseball insiders are saying about the biggest names in free agency…

  • Blake Snell

    SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Blake Snell #4 of the San Diego Padres delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first 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: Blake Snell #4 of the San Diego Padres delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first 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)

    As the reigning NL Cy Young winner, who has now won the award once in each league, Snell is arguably the top prize on the market other than Shohei Ohtani. So it’s not surprising that the Red Sox would consider him one of their options in free agency.

    As written by Jim Bowden at The Athletic, the Red Sox would make sense as a destination for obvious reasons, and Bowden proposes a seven-year deal for $174 million, an AAV of about $24.9 million. You should take that 10 times out of 10 if you’re Breslow.

    There’s the obvious concern that Snell is 31 years old, so it would be tough to run into another David Price/Chris Sale situation. Maybe sprinkle in some opt-outs throughout the deal. Also, Snell has been sort of up-and-down outside of his Cy Young years, so consistency might be a concern. But the Red Sox have little choice, here. They have to sign someone. Snell would be a top choice.

  • Yoshinobu Yamamoto

    YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 04: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #17 of Team Japan pitches in the first inning against Team Republic of Korea during the semifinals of men's baseball on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 04, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

    YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – AUGUST 04: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #17 of Team Japan pitches in the first inning against Team Republic of Korea during the semifinals of men’s baseball on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 04, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

    Top baseball insider Jeff Passan reported Friday that the Red Sox are one of the favorites to land Yamamoto. Additionally, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe recently joined Allana Rizzo on the MLB Network, and said the Red Sox “will be particularly invested in the Yamamoto sweepstakes.”

    Makes sense. They won the bidding war for Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 2007, and last winter they brought in Masataka Yoshida, who looks like he will be a cornerstone of their lineup. The Red Sox have been unafraid to bring in top Japanese prospects.

    On top of that, Yamamoto is only 25 years old, so he’ll be entering the major leagues in the prime of his career. That’s much more attractive than buying high on a pitcher in his 30s. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if this is the avenue that Breslow ultimately takes.

  • Jordan Montgomery

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28: Jordan Montgomery #52 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the World Series at Globe Life Field on October 28, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 28: Jordan Montgomery #52 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Two of the World Series at Globe Life Field on October 28, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

    Montgomery has been well-documented as a target for the Red Sox in free agency. The latest is that he’s actually living in the Boston area these days, because his wife McKenzie has started a residency at an area hospital.

    So, there’s the obvious side benefit of Montgomery getting to know the city and figuring out if he would be happy to stay here long-term. Let’s just hope he doesn’t drive a vehicle, try to find a parking spot, or go outside.

  • …Shohei Ohtani?

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning during game one of a doubleheader at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 23, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 23: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning during game one of a doubleheader at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 23, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Nah. Passan is reporting that the Red Sox are one of the teams that is out on Ohtani.

    That’s certainly a huge disappointment, because there’s no better player on the planet and no bigger splash for John Henry to make for a fanbase that’s starved for something to get excited about. At the same time, Ohtani isn’t pitching again until 2025 and the Red Sox might have a logjam coming at the designated hitter spot.

    That may not be a reason to pass on Ohtani. But when you factor in the cost and the injury concerns, and the idea that Ohtani doesn’t seem particularly interested in playing anywhere other than Los Angeles … perhaps the Sox are better suited focusing on a couple of starting pitchers, and wishing Ohtani the best of luck elsewhere.

    All of these players rank in the top-10 of our official rankings of the top free agents in the 2023 off-season. Check out that full list to see other possible options on Boston’s radar.

  • Click here for complete Boston Red Sox coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com

    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. Check out all of Matt’s content.

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