- Opening Day for the 2023 MLB season is March 30.
- The Red Sox play their season opener against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
With so many key players leaving to free agency, the Boston Red Sox had a lot of work to do this offseason. In 2022, the team finished last in the AL East with a record of 78-84, so it’s no surprise fans wanted to see big moves before 2023.
So, did the Red Sox do enough to improve this year?
Boston Red Sox Offseason Transactions
The Red Sox had a lot of holes to fill in their roster this offseason, especially with so many players leaving to free agency.
The biggest name to leave Boston was Xander Bogaerts, who opted out of his contract with the Red Sox and agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the San Diego Padres. Having signed with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2009, Bogaerts has been a fan favorite in Boston for years, with four All-Star selections (2016, 2019, 2021, 2022), two World Series titles (2013, 2018), and five Silver Slugger Awards (2015, 2016, 2019, 2021, 2022) bolstering his resume.
Along with Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, and Nathan Eovaldi all left Boston this offseason.
Masataka Yoshida gives Japan their first lead of the day! pic.twitter.com/9ExQ2RBN6c
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 11, 2023
In a big move to rebuild their roster, the Red Sox signed Japanese star outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract on Dec. 7, the first day he was eligible to sign after being posted by the Orix Buffaloes. The Buffaloes are the reigning Japan Series champions, and through 2022 with the team, Yoshida slashed .335/.447/.561 with 21 home runs in 508 plate appearances.
The Red Sox also signed infielder Justin Turner to a two-year, $22 million contract with an opt-out clause after the first season. During the 2022 regular season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Turner slashed .278/.350/.438 with 13 home runs and 81 RBIs, so he will add a strong presence to the Red Sox’s batting lineup.
In an effort to revive the team’s pitching, Boston signed pitchers Kenley Jansen (two years, $32 million) and Corey Kluber (one year, $10 million, with an $11 million club option for 2024). During the 2022 regular season, Jansen recorded a 3.38 ERA with a WHIP of 1.05 and 85 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched with the Atlanta Braves. With the Tampa Bay Rays, Kluber went 10-10 with an ERA of 4.34 and 139 strikeouts in 31 starts in 2022, though injuries limited him to just eight total starts over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The Red Sox also added Adam Duvall, Jorge Alfaro, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, but the extension of star third baseman Rafael Devers stole the headlines. On Jan. 3, Devers agreed to a $17.5 million salary for the 2023 season, and just eight days later, the Red Sox signed him to a 10-year, $313.5 million extension to take effect in the 2024 season.
Boston Red Sox Odds
- Odds to Win AL East: +2000
- Odds to Win American League: +3000
- Odds to Win World Series: +6000
All odds are as of March 13.
Boston Red Sox Win Total
The Red Sox’s win total for the 2023 season is 77.5.
Boston managed 78 wins last year and 92 the year before. In fact, the Red Sox have recorded more than 77.5 wins in each of the last seven full seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 season). Still, I’m not confident the team will be able to do it again this year. The Red Sox have lost some crucial players this offseason, and the roster was underperforming before that. A decent start to spring training doesn’t calm my nerves. I think Boston will be very lucky to manage 77.5 wins in 2023.
Boston Red Sox Predictions
Prediction: The Boston Red Sox will not win the AL East.
There’s no positive way to frame it — the Red Sox are going to feel the loss of Bogaerts. His batting average and fWAR kept the team in the conversation, even through the disappointing 2022 season. The extension of Devers offers some level of comfort, but the offensive side of the plate still leaves a lot to be desired.
Boston’s pitching rotation is even more cause for concern. Nick Pivetta showed very brief flashes of potential in 2022, but overall his performance was underwhelming. Chris Sale, James Paxton, and Kluber have all dealt with injury issues over the last few seasons, leading to extensive time away off the mound. With Hill, Wacha, and Eovaldi having all left the team, the Red Sox will need them to stay healthy.
One player I’m excited to watch this year is starter Brayan Bello, who made his debut with the Red Sox in July 2022. His first three starts were less than inspiring, but he found his feet in his next seven, allowing just 14 earned runs on 47 hits. I think he’ll be one to watch in 2023, especially among an older pitching rotation.
Overall, the Red Sox needed to do a lot more in the offseason than they did. A lot of key players became free agents, and even with the new acquisitions to fill the holes, it feels like the team suffered an overall loss. While I hope they come through and surprise the AL East, I don’t think 2023 will be a year of anything too impressive in Boston.
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