BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox didn’t win the World Series in 2021, but they feel like they’re on to something.
As the team reflected on its run to the American League Championship Series, losing to the Houston Astros in six games, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, baseball director Chaim Bloom, president Sam Kennedy and general manager Brian O’Halloran discussed Boston’s future heading into the offseason.
While the Red Sox face many decisions and hurdles heading into the offseason, including designated hitter JD Martinez’s impending decision on his player option and the pending free agency of starter Eduardo Rodriguez, the future of the team’s left side. became a predominant theme.
Boston views both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers as “pillar players” for the future of the team, according to Bloom, but when asked if they saw both players in their respective positions, Cora did not compromise.
“There are a lot of teams out there that, yes, Raffy Devers ‘fights defensively’ but on a daily basis, you want Raffy Devers. Same with Xander Bogaerts. Same with [el segunda base] Christian Arroyo, “said Cora.” We will address everything we talked about. I mean, it’s too early, it’s too early to start getting that deep into all of these things, but I do believe in the way we ended up playing and the things that we discovered as a group on defense will make us better not just in the offseason, but also next year. “
This possible reassessment of the position of Bogaerts and Devers comes at a time when the front office will have to make decisions about the future of both players with the team. Devers is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and Boston headquarters will prioritize contract extension talks with the 25-year-old slugger, team sources told ESPN.
Devers experienced a swollen elbow at the end of the 2021 season and will heal with the break.
The Red Sox also face an imminent crossroads with Bogaerts, who may choose to exit the final three years of his six-year, $ 120 million contract by the end of 2022. According to sources close to Bogaerts, the shortstop currently plans to exercise the exit option. of the contract after 2022, but he hopes to stay in Boston and finish his career with the Red Sox. The three-time All-Star shortstop is also open to moving to second or third base in the future.
Among the main focuses in the offseason is the rotation and specifically Rodriguez’s future in Boston. Bloom said the team has not made a decision on whether to extend a qualifying offer to the 28-year-old southpaw. In addition, the team will evaluate its approach to the future of Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck, whom Boston considers capable of being starters in the rotation.
“One of the reasons we ended up winning the wild card and got to where we ended up is because of those guys, Chris Sale is healthy and in the way the season ended,” Cora said. “I think everyone here and everyone in the organization feels very positive about their offseason schedule and what will happen next year.”
Boston will face a decision over Kyle Schwarber, who has expressed interest in returning to Boston. Bloom said the sentiment was mutual and the team isn’t concerned about his ability to adjust to a potentially bigger role at first base.
“We played some of our best baseball with Kyle learning that position on the fly,” said Bloom. “I think we saw him improve over time.”
Bloom and company will also have to decide the future of Christian Vázquez, to whom the team has a club option.
“He’s a really important guy to us and we know how much the organization means to him,” said Bloom. “It’s a tough position to check all the boxes and it’s not taken for granted when you have someone who has shown they can do it.”
Boston also fired first base coach Tom Goodwin, who was in charge of outfield defense and base running. Goodwin did not end the season with the team due to his unvaccinated status and MLB guidelines, but Bloom said that did not influence the team’s decision to fire the coach, who has worked in Boston since the 2018 season.
Goodwin spent two seasons on the COVID-19 disabled list because he was an unvaccinated close contact of coaches or players who tested positive. The rest of the coaching staff will return.
Players signed for next year include Devers, Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale and Kike Hernandez. Bloom hoped to build a core for sustainable success during the 2021 season, putting Boston in position to be a contender year after year. He hopes that the 2021 season will only represent the beginning of a long period of victories at Fenway Park.
“I talked about how even if we had gone all the way and won everything, we wanted to come out feeling like this could be the start of something, like we had our next core,” Bloom said. “I think we are there.”