The Boston Red Sox have a huge hole to fill after losing star shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres. Fortunately, the team can pivot by pursuing one of the best free agents remaining on the market.
Carlos Correa, who spent the 2022 season with the Minnesota Twins after playing the first seven years of his major-league career with the Houston Astros, would be a more-than-suitable replacement for Bogaerts in Boston's infield. He also has a strong relationship with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was Houston's bench coach during its World Series championship run in 2017.
As one of the more popular names in this year's free-agent class, Correa won't have a shortage of suitors. The Red Sox will face a ton of competition for the 28-year-old, and the team's recent spending habits indicate it's not looking to break the bank.
Bogaerts left for San Diego for a reported $280 million deal over 11 years. The four-time All-Star was considered the face of the franchise, but Boston deemed him too expensive and let him walk. Correa, who is younger and a better defender than Bogaerts, will likely command a similar price or higher.
If the Red Sox are looking for a cheaper option, they could turn to Atlanta Braves free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson. The 28-year-old is coming off a career year in which he earned his first trip to the All-Star Game and first Gold Glove Award. Boston could look to offer him a short-term deal with a high average annual value in order to address other holes on its roster.
After shoring up their bullpen by signing closer Kenley Jansen on Wednesday, the Red Sox still need to add a reliable starting pitcher to its rotation. The team could look to bring back veteran Nathan Eovaldi, who is a free agent after spending the last four-plus years in Boston, but there are more attractive options on the open market.
Carlos Rodón is the best pitcher available and can be the ace of Boston's staff, but the question remains as to how much the team is willing to spend. Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt are both dependable starters and would be strong additions to any rotation. Veterans like Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard would be cheaper, but riskier, players to target.
The Red Sox have finished last in the AL East twice in the last three years, so this offseason will be crucial to bucking that trend. Boston's front office would be wise to loosen the reins on spending in order to land a big-name player this year. If it doesn't, it runs the risk of further disappointing an already restless fan base.