The MLB lockout is over, and free agency is now open.
For the Boston Red Sox, that means it’s time to get busy.
The organization had an exciting 2021 season, but the year ended with a series loss to the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
If Boston wants to take another step forward in 2022, the team would be wise to add some talent in key areas before the season begins.
Here are a couple of players that the Red Sox should try to sign in free agency.
2. Kyle Schwarber
The universal DH is upon us, which is going to have a major impact on the amount of interest some players receive in free agency.
Kyle Schwarber is certainly one of those players.
The introduction of the universal DH opens up plenty of possibilities for him when it comes to potential landing spots.
Biggest beneficiaries of new rules (universal DH): Star free agents Nelson Cruz, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. Schwarber and Castellanos obviously can play the OF but should get longer deals now. Could help superstar Freddie Freeman, too. DH in NL is big plus for players.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 11, 2022
Schwarber established himself as a great fit with the Red Sox in 2021, and it didn’t take him long to become a fan favorite.
The new universal DH rule is likely going to give the Red Sox some extra competition when it comes to the Schwarber sweepstakes, but Boston should still try to retain him.
Before the lockout happened, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom made it clear that the team wants Schwarber back.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said they will try to re-sign Kyle Schwarber. “He fits us.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 9, 2021
Across 41 games with the Red Sox in the 2021 regular season, Schwarber batted .291 with a .957 OPS and 154 OPS+.
He racked up a bWAR of 1.3 during that span, putting him on pace for a bWAR of 5.1 over a full 162-game season with Boston.
He also had provided the team with some extremely memorable moments in the postseason.
ANOTHER Red Sox grand slam. pic.twitter.com/qWU0dEgIEr
— Mike Monaco (@MikeMonaco_) October 19, 2021
Ultimately, only time will tell where Schwarber lands, but it’s clear that Boston would love to have him back for 2022 and beyond.
1. Ryan Tepera
It’s no secret that Boston’s bullpen needs some help.
Sure, the team posted a fine 3.99 bullpen ERA in the 2021 regular season, but in the playoffs, the unit registered an ugly 5.23 mark.
The Red Sox simply lack reliable relief options, and veteran Matt Barnes‘ collapse in the 2021 season made it clear that the club was going to have to seriously address its bullpen this offseason.
Adding Ryan Tepera would be a huge step in the right direction.
Tepera isn’t the biggest name still available on the free-agent market, but he produces results.
At the end of the day, that’s what counts.
Ryan Tepera, Wicked 87mph Slider. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/DvQ0cBLMLe
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 26, 2021
In the 2021 season, he appeared in 65 games and maintained a 2.79 ERA, 2.73 FIP, and 0.88 WHIP.
He also had a 155 ERA+ and averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
For his career, the 34-year-old holds a 3.48 ERA, 3.99 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP.
Obviously, Boston could use a reliever who’s capable of producing numbers like those.
Like any player, the righty would surely love to join a team with title aspirations, so if the Red Sox were to give him a call, maybe the two sides could work something out.
Tepera has seven seasons of MLB experience under his belt and has been to the playoffs several times, but he’s never pitched in the World Series.