With the Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series last night, people might not think the Sox have to do anything to improve the team. However, those people are wrong. The Sox have room to improve and right now is probably the most critical time of the year to do so. With that being said, let’s take a look at what the reigning champs need to do this offseason.
Re-Sign Nate Eovaldi
Nathan Eovaldi proved this year, after years of only being a high-velocity guy, that he is a true pitcher. Eovaldi was great the minute he put on a Red Sox uniform, and remained great through the World Series. He had a 3.33 ERA after arriving in Boston and held a 1.61 ERA in the postseason. No, he’s not an ace, but he’s electric and he wants the ball every day. I believe his arm troubles are a thing of the past, and I think that Eovaldi can be a reliable number three starter going into next year.
Re-Sign Joe Kelly
The Red Sox need to re-sign Kelly for one reason and one reason only: It’s Joe Fucking Kelly. In all seriousness, Kelly was critical to the 2018 team’s success. Sure, he didn’t have a great ERA, and he may have walked a lot of people, but when it matters most, Kelly is nails. In his three trips to the playoffs with Boston, over 17.2 innings, he has given up one earned run. Across three years, Kelly has a postseason ERA of 0.52. He’s money when it counts.
I’m not saying give him big money to hang around for a year or two, but just convince the man to stay and the team will end up better because of it.
Re-Sign Steve Pearce
You know why.
Sign D.J. Lemahieu
Now, I may upset some people with this, and some people may shout in agreeance with me, but I believe Dustin Pedroia’s time is done with the Red Sox. I’m not suggesting that the team trade him away, but if somehow, both sides could agree that it’s time for the veteran second baseman to retire, then this signing will make sense.
Lemahieu is one of the most underrated second basemen in all of baseball. Back in 2016, he led all of baseball with a whopping .348 batting average. In addition, he’s a .298 career hitter. He’s also a plus defender, with two Gold Gloves to his name. The only concerns that come with Lemahieu are his age and health. He turned 30 in July and missed almost thirty games due to recurring issues with his wrist and thumb. I know by saying this, every Red Sox fan is screaming, “HE’S JUST ANOTHER PEDROIA,” and I understand. What I’m suggesting is get him on a two-year deal for $12 million a year, find a younger alternative, and then dump and change.
Let Craig Kimbrel Walk
I know it seems stupid, but hear me out. Craig Kimbrel, on paper, is one of the best closers in baseball. However, as Sox fans, we know that this is not always the case. Kimbrel looked worse than dogshit in the postseason and had repeated ups and downs over the course of the season. Still, he will demand a boatload of money this offseason.
Dave Dombrowski would be foolish to give in and give him a deal similar to that of Kenley Jansen or Wade Davis, who are both making over $16 mil a year for at least three years. The Red Sox drafted Durbin Feltman for a reason. Now, you don’t have to make him the major league closer to start the season, but you have him coming down the pipeline at some point, and will likely be the teams closer of the future. In the meantime, you can call up Travis Lakins from AAA, who looked electric out of the pen for the Paw Sox last year, or you can just promote someone like Barnes or Brasier to the closer spot for a few months to get Feltman ready.
Extend Betts and Sale NOW
This is critical. Even though Betts is arbitration eligible for the next two years, pay him now and pay him HANDSOMELY. You cannot let this guy, the soon-to-be AL MVP, hit the open market. Give him 10 years, $250 million+, it doesn’t matter how much it costs. People are saying that Machado and Harper deserve $300 million dollar contracts this offseason. If that’s the case than Betts deserves half a billion. He is, without a doubt, the best player in the game at this moment, and you cannot afford to lose him.
The same goes for Sale. He is set to make $15 million dollars next season and will become a UFA after the 2019 season. He will likely demand an AAV (average annual value) of $30 million per year. Curve the market while you can and get that deal done before the season starts. Sale seems like he’s happy right now, especially after winning a ring, and it’s time to capitalize on that. Issues of wearing down towards the end of the year be damned, you need this guy as the horse of the team going forward.
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