After falling in the 2021 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox are entering a pivotal offseason.
The club is clearly on the verge of becoming a perennial contender again, but if Boston wants to ensure that 2022 is another step in the right direction, then the organization is going to have to get busy this winter.
There are several upcoming free agents that would make sense for the team to target, ranging from pitchers to hitters.
Here are a few of them.
3. Marcus Stroman
The upcoming free agent class is loaded with elite starting pitchers, and Marcus Stroman is just one guy the Red Sox could go after.
Boston lacked a true ace in 2021.
Nathan Eovaldi was the closest thing the team had, but he’s a better fit as a second option.
Chris Sale, of course, is capable of being any rotation’s No. 1 arm, but it remains to be seen how he will perform in 2022 as he continues to find his post-Tommy John self.
For all of those reasons, Boston would be wise to add a quality starting pitcher this winter.
As mentioned, there are plenty of options, but Stroman is one of the most intriguing guys out there.
He’s coming off of an outstanding 2021 season in which he pitched like a Cy Young candidate.
He posted a 3.02 ERA, 133 ERA+, 3.49 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP over 33 outings.
Marcus Stroman, Pretty 90mph Back Door Cutter. ✂️
And, K Hop. 🦘 pic.twitter.com/3jAbvqnhnx
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 22, 2021
Over 65 starts since the beginning of the 2019 season, he has a 3.12 ERA.
Stroman is the real deal, and at 30 years old, he seemingly has several good years left in the tank.
2. Kyle Schwarber (Re-Sign)
Kyle Schwarber isn’t technically guaranteed to hit free agency, but it certainly seems like a forgone conclusion that he will.
The 28-year-old has a mutual option on his contract for the 2022 season that he is likely going to decline.
When he does, he’ll hit the open market.
He spent 41 games with the Red Sox in 2021 after being traded to the team at the deadline, and it became clear that he’s a great fit in Boston.
As a left-handed bat, he fills a need for the Red Sox.
Moreover, his offensive production simply makes any lineup better.
Over 113 total games in the 2021 regular season, he posted a .928 OPS and 148 OPS+.
He homered 32 times and doubled 19 times, earning an All-Star selection in the process.
Then, in the postseason, he showcased his ability to deliver in big games.
His best moment came in Game 3 of the ALCS, as he smacked a grand slam to send Fenway Park into a frenzy.
Come for Schwarber's grand slam. Stay for the dugout's reaction. pic.twitter.com/GLXQYVwEZl
— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
The bottom line is that Schwarber’s time with the Red Sox was a massive success in 2021, and it would make a lot of sense for the two sides to link up again for the 2022 campaign (and possibly beyond).
1. Aaron Loup
The Red Sox need relief help.
The team had a fine bullpen throughout the 2021 regular season, but it collapsed in the playoffs.
Moreover, Matt Barnes, who the club signed to a two-year extension in July after his season got off to a fantastic start, collapsed before the playoffs even came around.
The righty’s implosion was so severe that he was left off the ALCS roster.
Clearly, the team needs some reinforcements in this department.
Aaron Loup would be a very valuable addition.
The lefty had an incredible 2021 campaign, posting a tiny 0.95 ERA over a whopping 65 appearances with the New York Mets.
Aaron Loup, Wicked 86mph Cutter…and Sword. 🤢⚔️ pic.twitter.com/CAnahIYZ9N
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 15, 2021
He was one of the top relievers in baseball all year long.
For that reason, the market for him this offseason will likely be wild.
But if the Red Sox want to return in 2022 as title contenders, they’re going to have to address their relief situation.