Offseason Tracker and Analysis: Boston Red Sox

With the hiring of Chaim Bloom to lead their Baseball Operations department, the Red Sox will have the services of one of the brightest young minds in baseball. Still, Bloom has quite the task this offseason, as he’ll need to clear payroll and add young talent while also keeping a playoff contender in place. Will he trade Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, David Price, or Nathan Eovaldi? Only time will tell.

Expected Direction: Trying To Remain Competitive With Other Interests Taking Priority

Red Sox Trade C Sandy Leon To Indians

leon
Photo Cred: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Full Trade: Red Sox Trade C Sandy Leon To Indians In Exchange For RHP Adeinys Bautista

Grade: 7.5/10

In can best be described as a minor salary-dump, the Red Sox have traded catcher Sandy Leon to the Indians in exchange for minor-league pitcher Adeinys Bautista. Rather than non-tendering Leon, Boston opted to take a flyer on the 21-year-old Bautista, who posted an abysmal 32-31 K-BB ratio in rookie ball last season. Honestly, I don’t blame them for choosing to not keep Leon, who provides almost zero value as a hitter, for $2.8 million. However, it’s not as though their return is exciting at all- this is a trade that’ll almost certainly provide zero value in the future.

Red Sox Sign 2B/SS Jose Peraza

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
Photo Cred: NESN.com

Contract Details: One Year, $3 Million (With Incentives)

Grade: 7/10

In a minor depth signing, the Red Sox have added infielder Jose Peraza on a one-year contract worth $3 million, which also comes with some incentives. Also, Peraza can be controlled by Boston for three years, should they choose to do so with the former top prospect. Now, on the negative side; Peraza posted a -0.6 WAR last season with a 62 weighted-runs-created plus (wrc+), and even though he had a 2.6 WAR in 2018, that was unlikely unsustainable given his 29.5% hard contract rate. There’s not much downside with this signing for Boston, but I’m definitely not expecting much from it; it’s their way of trying to solve an issue with their infield depth with their limited resources.

Red Sox Sign SP Martin Perez

perez
Photo Cred: The Boston Globe

Contract Details: One Year, $6 Million ($6 Million Club Option 2021)

Grade: 8/10

Hoping to shore up their rotation, the Red Sox have signed starting pitcher Martin Perez to a one-year, $6 million contract with a club option at the same price for 2021. Perez, 28, may not seem like much of an inspiring addition on the surface, as his xFIPs of 4.69 and 4.98 in 2019 and 2018, respectively, are definitely below-average. However, the former Ranger and Twin is certainly a stat cast darling. Perez ranks in the 93rd percentile or better in exit velocity and hard-hit rate allowed, which means his .344 weighted-on-base average (wOBA) allowed was much lower this his expected wOBA of .301- he was very unlucky last season. Plus, he also has an above-average spin rate with his curveball, so the hope has to be that with better usage of his pitches, he can see his strikeout rate (7.35 K/9) continue to climb. It’s not a very cheap deal for a team with zero financial wiggle-room, but if Perez makes good on his underlying numbers, he’ll be a steal for $6 million.

Red Sox Sign C Kevin Plawecki

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians
Photo Cred: NESN.com

Contract Details: One Year, $900K

Grade: 9.5/10

After shipping off Leon to Cleveland, the Red Sox have found his replacement. Ironically, it’s former Indian Kevin Plawecki on a one-year deal worth under $1 million. Plawecki, 28, has only been worth 0.7 WAR over the past four seasons, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s not great offensively, especially last season with a 63 wrc+, but generally, he’s about league average, and last season, he took major steps forward with his framing numbers. Essentially, he’s the perfect backup catcher, and for about $1.9 million less, Boston is perhaps getting an upgrade from Leon- this was a great series of moves by President Chaim Bloom.

Red Sox Re-Sign 1B Mitch Moreland

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Photo Cred: NESN.com

Contract Details: One Year, $3 Million ($3 Million Club Option 2021)

Grade: 8/10

The Red Sox may be contemplating trading Mookie Betts, but they’re still trying to compete next season, so they’ve continued to make small signings. This time, it’s first baseman Mitch Moreland on a one-year deal worth $3 million, with a $3 million club option for 2021. Though he’s never been more than part-time player for the Red Sox, the 34-year-old Moreland has proven to be a capable platoon player, and was at his best this season with a 112 wrc+ with about average defense. Now, all of his production comes from hitting against righties (125 wrc+), but whether it’s with Michael Chavis or Bobby Dalbec at first base, he can be complemented by a right-handed hitter. It’s not a sexy signing, but it’s one that adds some depth to Boston’s lineup.

Red Sox Trade OF Mookie Betts and SP David Price To Dodgers

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One
Photo Cred: Boston Herald

Full Trade: Red Sox Trade OF Mookie Betts, SP David Price, Cash (Half of Remaining 3 Years, $96 Million) To Dodgers For OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, and C Connor Wong

Grade: 7.5/10

Believe It Or Not, But The Mookie Betts Trade Was Fair All-Around

NOTE: Grade revised due to new version of trade. Downs probably is an everyday second baseman in the future with a low-ceiling, while Wong is a backup type. They will no longer be receiving Brusdar Graterol in this trade, which hurts their grade.

Red Sox Sign OF Kevin Pillar

pillar
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year, $4.25 Million

Grade: 8/10

Adding some outfield depth after trading Betts, the Red Sox have signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million contract. Pillar, 31, was non-tendered earlier this offseason by the Giants, but not before becoming a fan favorite there, and previously, in Toronto. He’s coming off somewhat of a down season, as his .295 xwOBA and 1.5 WAR were career lows for him in a full season. Known for his highlight-reel plays on defense, he’s actually a below-average defender in center field (-2 OAA), and would be best served in a corner spot; his poor plate discipline also nerfs his offensive value. Regardless, Pillar is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and on a team with three left-handed-hitting outfielders, he’ll be able to get at-bats versus southpaws (105 wrc+). It’s not a flashy signing, but this is the type of role that Pillar is equipped to serve in, and it adds much-needed help to a really weak group of bench players.

Red Sox Sign SP Collin McHugh

mchugh
Photo Cred: Click2Houston.com

Contract Details: One Year, $600K (w/$3.625 Million Incentives)

Grade: 9.5/10

Bringing some much-needed pitching depth, the Red Sox have signed pitcher Collin McHugh to a one-year, incentive-laden deal. This comes after the news of ace Chris Sale being shut down, as at the moment, Boston has only three rotation spots filled. Now, the 32-year-old McHugh only pitched 74.2 innings last season and missed a good chunk of the season before undergoing elbow surgery,. but he does have experience both working out of the bullpen or as a starter. In 74.2 innings, he posted a serviceable 4.34 xFIP, but in his last healthy season in 2018, that number was much better (3.26) as a full-time reliever. As someone who generally has good spin rates on his pitches and suppressed hard contact, there’s a lot to like with McHugh’s profile. I don’t see him sticking as a starter, but since Boston was planning on using an opener, he could very well be the “bulk” pitcher who comes in following the opener. This is a pretty low-risk, high-reward type of deal, and it’s a very savvy late addition by Chaim Bloom to make the Red Sox more competitive and better equipped to deal with their pitching injuries.

*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Red Sox Make

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