After being “interested” in most every free agent, the Red Sox have finally made some (medium-sized) moves.
GM Chaim Bloom capped off a very solid weekend in free agency by trading with the New York Yankees (!) for Adam Ottavino and 2018 fourth round pick Frank German. Let’s take a look at each move made since Friday and the players involved.
FA Signing: Enrique (Kike) Hernandez
Enrique Hernandez has been a solid utility player for the Dodgers over the last 6 years. Averaging a slash line of .240/.312/.425, he’s been fairly consistent on that end over his career. On defense, he played everywhere but catcher for LA, but mostly spent time at 2nd and the OF, with some significant time at Shortstop as well. Considering his wanting a bigger role than “super utility,” I expect Kike to hold down 2nd over the next two years, with slightly better hitting numbers thanks to Fenway’s dimensions aiding him somewhat.
FA Signing: Garrett Richards
As mentioned by many Boston writers, Garrett Richards is a solid add to the rotation, at least as long as he stays healthy. With just a 1 year, 10 million dollar contract, the signing is relatively low-stakes for the Sox. After being “interested,” in fellow FA Corey Kluber, Boston knew they needed to sign someone soon after Kluber reportedly shirked their offer for a better Yankees one. Richards is 33 with a long injury history, but he’s been very good when free of injuries. If he can string together a healthy year, he should preform well enough to boost the Red Sox pitching woes. In my article on predicting Red Sox signings last month, I mentioned the same, but now with Chris Sale likely missing the whole season, that might be more difficult.
Trade: Adam Ottavino and Frank German
This was a masterful trade by Bloom. Back in 2018, I was really hoping the Sox would snag Ottavino in free agency before the Yankees swooped him and got him. I guess they were just “interested” back then too. His 2020 was not great, but the few years before that certainly were, especially when you account for his playing at Coors Field half the season. He is 35, but he’s only under contract for one more year, so worst case scenario is he plays poorly this season and the Sox let him go in the offseason. Of course, he could also play like he did in 2019, or he could get traded for more prospects later. Regardless, this move benefits the Sox more than the Yankees. And I haven’t even mentioned German!
Scout continued "Middle relief profile. I don’t think the command is ever gonna be good enough to stay a SP unless they figure something out with that."
— Ian Cundall (@IanCundall) January 25, 2021
According to a scout from 2019, German is projected to land in a middle relief role. With some of the other pitching prospects the Sox have in the upper minors, I’m totally fine with that. Tanner Houck, Brian Mata, and Connor Seabold should be rotation guys. Let’s get some (good) relievers in there too.
The Sox have about $6 million left before the luxury tax threshold, so what could they do here? I would love to see them sign Marcell Ozuna, but that seems very unlikely unless they drop some salary. I would also like to see Jackie Bradley Jr. come back, but Boston also seems priced out on him, if they’re even still interested.
If they do go after smaller names, I do see Brad Miller on the table, due to previous Chaim Bloom connections. I would also love to see them take a flyer on Taijuan Walker. He’s 28, and I’m a little surprised he hasn’t been signed as of yet after he ended last year with a 2.70 ERA despite missing most of the last two years. He seems to be in good shape and ready for a full season. If they can get both for under $6 mil, I’d be happy.