Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have a fascinating offseason coming up. Here are 5 ways to get the 2020 Red Sox back in the Championship mix. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2018. They then proceeded to miss the playoffs in 2019. Many didn’t understand why the Red Sox fell off, but those reasons were obvious. In order for the Red Sox to get back on top, there are some things that need to be addressed. Here are 5 ways to fix the Boston Red Sox in 2020 so this team can get back to being a championship contender.

1: Hire a General Manager:

According to that clown, Buster Olney, nobody wants the job. Olney lives in la la land and can’t really be taken seriously. Let’s move into reality. Finding the right General Manager has to be priority number one. I’m probably the best candidate for the job but for whatever reason, hasn’t been contacted for an interview yet.

I don’t even have a name that sticks out. The Sox need someone that can develop pitching in the minors. Rebuild the farm system a little. Find someone that will prioritize keeping Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and Andrew Benintendi long term. Find someone that gets IT. It’s hard to say without being in the interview room but hiring a GM has to be step number one. The offseason can’t begin without one.

2: Fix The Bullpen:

The Boston Red Sox led MLB in blown saves in 2019. I don’t care who you are. You cannot win if you blow more saves than every single team in the sport. Can’t win. The offense was still electric. The bullpen killed the 2019 Sox. FIX IT!

We know the Sox will have some payroll limitations. Ownership wants to cut some costs after missing the playoffs with the highest payroll in baseball. The one thing the Sox need to invest in is a closer. No more giving away wins. Trade for Felipe Vazquez. Trade for Rasiel Iglesias. Trade for Alex Colome. Sign Will Harris. Sign Will Smith. I don’t care what they do. All I know is they need to invest in a real closer.

The rest will fall in line. Brandon Workman can slide in the 8th. Darwinzon Hernandez can be a lightning rod in the pen. Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree are fine in the 7th. You get a closer and the rest just suddenly fixes itself. That’s how the 2018 Sox won. Get another Craig Kimbrel. It’s time to get one.

3: Figure Out The Payroll

Ok, let’s go through this. The Red Sox want to get below the $208 million luxury tax line. It’s not a mandate but it’s their preference to reset the tax. There’s no reason why they can’t do that and still put out a team that can win the World Series. Let’s walk through this. The numbers below is the luxury tax number. Not the salary for that season.

  • David Price – $31 million
  • Chris Sale – $25.66 million
  • Xander Bogaerts – $20 million
  • Nathan Eovaldi – $17 million
  • Dustin Pedroia – $13.75 million
  • Christian Vazquez – $4.52 million

That brings the total to 116.93 if you also include the Pablo Sandoval $5 million final buyout salary. Add in projected arbitration numbers for Mookie Betts, Brandon Workman, Sandy Leon, Andrew Benintendi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, and Heath Hembree that adds the entire payroll to $169 million. Add in the pre-arb guys like Michael Chavis, Sam Travis, ect. and the other miscellaneous costs that go in and the Red Sox still will have a good $20 million to play with below the tax line. Notice, I didn’t even include some big names that we will get to later. There is no reason why the Red Sox can’t take $20 million salary for strictly this year and improve the roster. I don’t see why they couldn’t attach a middling prospect to move $5 million in Sandoval money, either.

4: Get Rid Of JD Martinez

The Sox want to cut costs. JD Martinez is the guy that needs to go. If Martinez opts out of his contract, put the Qualifying offer and him and let him walk. Collect the draft pick and be done with it. If Martinez opts in, trade his ass. I’m so sick and tired of hearing him talk about how he may or may not opt out. SHUT UP, JD!

For the sake of the article, let’s say he opts in. If he opts out, the formula is easy. The Red Sox offense is elite. Martinez is an important piece to that. However, there is a way to replace him. I’m going to show you how. Martinez makes $24 million a year next year IF he opts in. Jackie Bradley Jr is scheduled to make $11 million in arbitration this year. I love JBJ but if the Sox have to cut costs, Bradley has to go too. Combine JBJ and JD and that gives you $35 million for .265/.350/.489 with 28.5 home runs. That also gives you an OPS of 838. That’s if you average both of Jackie Bradley and JD Martinez’s offensive production. JBJ is a terrific defender. JD is one of the worst defender’s I’ve ever seen. That averages out to, well, average.

What we can do is recreate that in the aggregate. Let’s say we trade both of them for mainly pitching help. Let’s not even worry about the return for a second. Let’s plug in Avisail Garcia and Adam Jones just for arguments sake. That gives you .272/.323/.439 with 18 homers. That also gives you an OPS of 762. We get somewhat close and those two guys will cost maybe $10 million total for next year. Those are not even the guys I would want but I’m trying to make a point. Maybe we pick up Roman Quinn in a trade and spend some money on a bat like Nick Castellanos. Trey Mancini or Hunter Renfroe are two other bats that could be on the block. Maybe Jose Abreu is a bat you can acquire via free agency for a reasonable cost. Albert Almora could be a trade option. Maybe the Sox feel good about Marcus Wilson in the minors? I’m spitballing.

Either way, there’s a way to recreate JD Martinez if you also move Jackie Bradley. The Red Sox offense is great. It can stay that way. The Sox need to prioritize Mookie Betts over JD Martinez. You can find a two bats to stabilize the lineup. You can’t find someone that does what Mookie Betts does at the top of the lineup and defensively in right field. He’s probably the best leadoff man and defensive right fielder in the sport. If the Red Sox found a way to replace David Ortiz with JD Martinez, then they can find a way to replace JD Martinez with the next version of him.

5: Find A Starter To Replace Rick Porcello:

Rick Porcello was dog shit in 2019. Every time he took the mound, the Red Sox basically lost. I should say felt like it. Tough to win a division when you can book a loss every 5th day. Porcello went 14-12 on the season but threw a 5.52 ERA on the year. That was in 32 starts. The only reason why he didn’t lose 25 games is because the offense is deadly. Porcello earned $21 million in 2019 and that salary comes off the books this year. Thank the lord.

The Red Sox can take a flier on some lower cost rotation options and still upgrade what they got out of Porcello. Higher priced guys like Zack Wheeler are available. Still, there a number of fliers that feel like great risks to take. Julio Teheran, Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson, Wade Miley, Tanner Roark, Ivan Nova, Martin Perez, Rich Hill, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Keuchel are just a few. There are more names on the list but there’s a ton of guys out there who likely won’t cost much. It’s hard to do worse than the 2018 version of Rick Porcello. Snag a smart vet and plug him in that spot and the Boston Red Sox are already infinitely better.

Again, I took an incredibly conservative approach here. There are ways to get more creative than this. I was being overly mindful of getting below the tax line. I’m going to show you an example of what the team could look like. There’s no reason why this team couldn’t compete and I barely messed with the roster. Imagine what could happen with a few impactful moves. The trade package for Jackie Bradley is to be determined. Same for JD Martinez who should command a really nice package. World Series back on.

Boston Red Sox
(Spotrac)
Boston Red Sox
(Spotrac)
Boston Red Sox
(Spotrac)

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