The Boston Red Sox have surprised many MLB fans with their stellar start to the 2021 season.
Through nearly three months, Boston’s 44-30 record has the team atop a very competitive American League East.
Every team has a window to win, but what does this Red Sox team’s window look like?
Is this season make or break for Boston?
Well, in a certain sense, it’s World Series or bust every season for every team.
If you don’t achieve the ultimate goal, then you can’t call your season a total success.
Having said that, this 2021 campaign will not be Boston’s last chance to win with its current core.
In fact, the Red Sox are in great shape moving forward.
The Majority Of The Young Core Will Stay Put Beyond This Season
While the Red Sox are likely to lose a few key players to free agency this offseason, the team’s young core will stay put.
Let’s first talk about the players who may leave.
Slugger J.D. Martinez has a $19.5 million player option, and with the way his 2021 campaign is going, it seems likely that he will decline the option and seek a new deal.
HAVE A DAY!
JD Martinez: 3 HRs in the game and the Red Sox bats have absolutely come alive.pic.twitter.com/9FpbDzcxoH
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 11, 2021
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s leaving, though.
Martinez has enjoyed some of the best seasons of his career in Boston and he seems to be happy there.
It would be no surprise if the Red Sox meet his demands in free agency.
Beyond Martinez, closer Matt Barnes’ contract is up after the season.
He has been phenomenal this year, posting a 2.97 ERA, 1.74 FIP, 0.70 WHIP, while fanning 53 batters in 30.1 innings.
The market for Barnes will likely be a competitive one after this strong campaign.
He may very well leave for a new team.
Other key potential departures include starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (who is having one of the worst seasons of his career), Martin Perez (who has a $6 million club option that the Red Sox would be wise to pick up), and Christian Vazquez (who also has a club option at $7 million that the Red Sox figure to exercise).
Adam Ottavino, Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Andriese, and Danny Santana are some of the less notable names who could hit free agency, though Ottavino has actually played a big role as Boston’s setup man this season.
This may sound like a lot of potential lost production, but the team’s young foundation will remain intact.
Let’s not forget about Garrett Whitlock, either, who looks like he is ready to anchor the Boston bullpen for years to come.
Whitlock currently has a 1.57 ERA over 20 appearances in his rookie campaign.
— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) June 19, 2021
Again, there is an excellent foundation here.
While some key players may leave after the season, team president Chaim Bloom is more than capable of filling holes and addressing roster needs as they pop up.
The Red Sox are built to be contenders for a very long time, and this 2021 season is just the beginning of the team’s new window to win after the club missed the playoffs in 2019 and 2020.