Contrary to their fans' popular belief, the Boston Red Sox had an extremely active holiday. As the year wound down, Boston signed Lucas Giolito to a two-year deal with a nearly $20 million AAV that could become a single season if he opts out. They also dealt Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves and ate $17 million of his contract in order to obtain top infield prospect Vaughn Grissom.
Despite sitting over $30 million below the luxury tax threshold, the $10.5 million of savings on Sale's deal apparently didn't register as enough to afford another top name. Per reports, the Red Sox have told at least one free agent they're currently pursuing to hold tight while they clear more cash in order to make a competitive offer. No word yet whether this free agent is Teoscar Hernández, or whether that deal's all good as is, but Craig Breslow still needs more cash to also add Jordan Montgomery/James Paxton.
Either way, it's sad. At their current level of spending, there is no WAY the Boston Red Sox should NEED to dump any other mid-tier contracts in order to scrounge up enough cash to add a power-hitting outfielder or some rotation insurance. That should be their guiding light. That should be their baseline status. Instead, one hole has to be created in order for a different one to be filled. Given the contracts currently on Boston's books, there are the only four names that could really make a financial difference if dealt (and, spoiler alert, one departure is far more likely than the others).
The craziest part? Considering the way the Alex Verdugo trade went down, the Yankees actually could be a part of a few of these, and three potential deals could be mutually beneficial. The only other tradeable deal on Boston's books is Tyler O'Neill, the slugging outfielder they literally just acquired. If you assume he's off the table (and he doesn't fulfill a Yankees need anyway), it would theoretically be possible for Brian Cashman to chase the remaining deals.
3 trades Boston Red Sox can make to complete weird, money-saving offseason
Man, it feels like only a few weeks ago that Boston fans were hoarse in the throat arguing that their underrated setup man deserved the stray Cy Young Award votes he received -- because it was!
The Chris Martin Who Isn't in Coldplay dominated in 2023 after being signed away from the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 1.05 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 55 games/51.1 innings. The 37-year-old Martin was legitimately untouchable, and would be an excellent piece for a Boston team with designs of a reboot to retain.
Unfortunately, he's slated to make $7.5 million this season. That's a completely palatable number for a squad like the Sox, but a slight distraction if you're trying to determine the best way to rearrange deck chairs. Hernández/Montgomery would undoubtedly make the Sox better (and Paxton maybe would?), but Boston had better be careful messing with the bullpen strength they created last summer.
Of course, if they do trade Martin, they should convert Tanner Houck to a potential lockdown closer and squeeze the next player off their staff entirely...