The Red Sox are among the teams with some level of early interest in free-agent infielder Javier Baez, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported this week. Boston already has a high-end shortstop in place, but Xander Bogaerts can opt out of the remaining three years and $60MM of guaranteed money on his contract at the end of the 2022 season. Baez, 29 next month, is also a markedly better defender at shortstop, which could open the possibility of the Sox realigning their infield in some capacity.
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has made it clear that his front office values defensive versatility since taking the reins in Boston — evidenced by the signings of Enrique Hernandez, Marwin Gonzalez and Danny Santana. Of course, Baez figures to be in an entirely different stratosphere from a salary standpoint, and the Sox also now have some additional needs on the pitching staff with Eduardo Rodriguez officially joining the Tigers on a five-year contract. The Red Sox already have about $173MM in projected 2022 payroll at this point, plus about $184MM of luxury-tax obligations, per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez.
Bloom spoke this week about the difficulty of losing Rodriguez, candidly acknowledging that the left-hander’s market simply reached a point where the Sox were no longer certain that making the top offer “was the best use of our resources” (link via MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). That said, the decision did not come lightly for Bloom and his colleagues — some of whom have been with Rodriguez since he debuted in 2015.
“We were certainly fighting our emotions on that the whole way because of how highly we think of him and how much we enjoyed having him here,” said Bloom, who went on to add that the club was happy to see the market reward Rodriguez after a trying 2020 season lost to Covid-19 and myocarditis:
“There were points in time where we weren’t even sure if he was going to be able to play again, so to see him come back this year, do what he did, and now to have the market reward him for it, it’s a really great story.”
Nevertheless, with Rodriguez out the door, the Sox figure to explore other avenues to address a rotation that currently projects to include Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock. It’s an undeniably talented mix, but neither Houck nor Whitlock has actually produced for a full big league season while shouldering a starter’s workload. Sale, meanwhile, will be in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, while Eovaldi has a lengthy injury history of his own. The 28-year-old Pivetta (29 in February) was solid in 30 starts last year, but his career has been punctuated by inconsistency thus far.
With those questions in mind, southpaw Steven Matz is among the free agents with whom the Red Sox are in contact, tweets Cotillo. The 30-year-old Matz just wrapped up a strong season with the division-rival Jays, for whom he pitched to a 3.82 ERA with a 22.3% strikeout rate and 6.6% walk rate through 150 2/3 frames. Toronto declined to issue a qualifying offer to Matz, meaning he won’t come with any draft compensation for the Red Sox or any other interested parties. It’s been a robust market for starters so far, which bodes well for Matz and other arms remaining on the market — particularly with quite a few big-market clubs like Boston still on the hunt for arms.
I agree Baez is a better shortstop, but markedly better? I don’t think so
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
Bogaerts DRS since 2016: -47
Baez DRS since 2016: 49
Even if you take out Baez’s crazy 2019 season, he is still 65 DRS higher in that span.
Bogaerts OOA since 2016: -37
Baez OOA since 2016: 80
Even if you take out Baez’s crazy 2019 season, he is still 95 OOA higher in that span.
Yeah the metrics have never liked Bogaerts’ defense, at least not nearly as much as Boston fans and casual observers do. I mean I’ll take him as my SS every day of the week and twice on Sundays, but he’s definitely not a Baez with the glove. Bogaerts is gonna opt out most likely, barring an extension. Probably last thing the Sox want to do is piss him off by making him move off his position.
Not true. He’s a team first guy which is part of the love the fans have for him. He’s offered to move if it makes the team better. If the Sox don’t extend or trade JDM and Devers becomes the DH, he’ll go to third where he played when the team won in 13. If they sign a shortstop and keep JDM, barring injuries he’ll play second. Regardless of the metrics, he deserves to get paid more.
If we are being fair Bogaerts has played 443 more games at SS in that time frame so his numbers would be skewed next to Baez.
Signing Baez to play 2B is one thing, signing Baez to play SS and asking Bogaerts to move to another position is another. The latter all but guarantees Bogaerts opts out next winter
There was a report that Bogaerts is willing to move off SS to 3B or 2B “down the road”. Which to me he likely means after he signs his next contract as a SS. I would prefer 3rd as 2nd is wasting his arm strength. Also, the move on the defensive ladder for fWAR is 5 runs to either of the other two positions. For bWAR it’s 4 runs at 2B and 5 runs at 3B. Meaning He’s still a 4-5 WAR player.
I think it’s all but certain he’ll opt out after next season. What should be interesting is the fact that the Sox are looking at alternative resources as opposed to discussing a restructure to lock up Xavier beyond next year. Guess the CBA is placing a hold on many alternative strategies.
Agreed. Javy makes some of he most amazing plays you will ever see but will also boot many a routine groundball and overthrow his firstbasemen far too frequently. He also has a tendency to turn doubles into singles, swing at pitches that even Vlad Guerrero couldn’t touch and completely forget the number of outs at any given time of a game.
Totally agree. I’m a Cub fan, and I shed no tears when he was dealt to NYM. His talent is undeniable, but he is a deeply flawed star who sometimes flirts with but never embraces solid fundamentals. Imo his cons outweigh his pros.
Curious to see how long the Red Sox stay interested in Javy once they see his price
Doesn’t hurt to squeeze the pineapple. My guess is they will not make a big play unless they believe they can lock in a deal. Just remember, the more the current crop gets, the more Bogaerts will deserve. Yes he doesn’t have the range of others but outside of Correa, he’s the best at the plate. Even Correa it’s debatable.’
By career WRC+ Seager is the best at the plate out of Xander (116 career – but 130-140 the last 4 years), Correa (130), and Seager (132).
Seager also had the best recent seasons at the plate (150 and 147). I think Xander is near both Correa and Seager as hitters but both those guys have proven to have greater upside with the bat.
Neither Seager nor Bogey are great with the glove which is where Correa separates himself talent-wise. But Bogey is less error-prone than Seager.
That said, out of the 3, I prefer Xander since he laps the other 2 in one major skill: health.
Baez is 100% markedly better defensively at shortstop than Bogaerts plus he’s much more versatile where he has played second and third. That being said, Bogaerts should be a Red Sox for life
Everyone is interested in everybody. Drives up the price for the other teams.
They should keep bogaerts for life
They should keep Bogaerts for as long as it makes sense financially, then move on to someone else when the cost becomes an impediment to keeping the team a viable contender.
Idk how I’ll feel about that when they’re paying a 65 year old SS.
65 is the new 35.
If I’m Bloom, I’m targeting Matz, Cobb, Joc, Knebel, and resigning Iglesias. That would be a more solid than flashy off-season without giving up draft capitol or breaking the bank.
Matz has a QO. Would cost a pick
No, Jays didn’t end up offering him a QO.
Did you read the article? Matz didn’t get the QO
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
Reading is for nerds
He’s a Met fan, they don’t read.
Don’t read or can’t read?
Lee Mazzilli for HOF
No he doesnt
No QO for Matzs
Knebel and Iglesias are ok. Matz if its not a crazy long term deal. Cobb would be a pass. Joc would basically be a lower cost replacement for Schwarber (though he doesn’t walk anywhere close to the same amount as Kyle) and could work if they really think they can’t sign Schwarber
I wouldn’t pass on Cobb so quickly. There’s very little harm on a 1-year deal and he has more upside than the Perez and Richards experiments from last year considering his 2.92 FIP in almost 100 innings with the Angels last year.
I would be ok with Jon Gray
I’d rather they went Semien and Rodon, someone below mentioned Knebel I like that one, and then maybe a couple under-the-radar bench filling moves like a possible bench OF or a possible backend starter.
Rondon didn’t get a QO. That’s concerning. Wondering if there’s something they know or witnessed that someone else will discover later.
100% agree. With his numbers if he was healthy, it’s a no-brainer to get a QO. They know something and id bet a team would want to look at his medicals or get a physical before any solid offer. I’d also guarantee he would’ve accepted the QO. The Chisox are going for it so there’s no other reason besides health that they aren’t doing all they can to keep him.
Can someone tell me the appeal of Steve Matz? To me, he seems like an overhyped Danny Duffy.
He’s coming off a decent year. He could turn out to be a solid mid rotation guy for just about any team looking for that
Key word “could”!
Do you really want to pay “is” prices for “could”?
Yes to Matz, no thanks on the other 3.
I’ve forever been a believer that anyone that watches SportsCenter, QuickPitch, etc will think Javy Baez is a stud..
Anyone that watches him on a regular basis will know that he’s flashy, but overrated. His hot streaks are fun, but any player that can’t take a walk is frustrating to watch – especially when they swing at pitches 2-3 feet outside the zone routinely. When he eventually loses a step as he ages, he will become Dan Uggla 2.0… which he kind of already is, just with more speed and better defense.
I’ve seen him play and you’re wrong. Javy is a game changer
Your comparing Baez to Dan Uggla? The same Dan Uggla that would consistently bat under .230? Baez had a bad 2020 but from what Iv seen, hes a great clutch hitter and has shown the ability to lay off bad pitches. Im not a fan of him blaming the other team when he does poorly (see Richard Blier), but he is a great player that shouldnt be compared to Dan Uggla
Clutch hitter? Are you going based off his .221 BA and .250 OBP in his career playoff at-bats?
Or his .234 AVG and .271 OBP in regular season high leverage situations?
When the Mets needed a homerun this year, he got a homerun. Your using lifetime stats that don’t include his homeruns
@Metsin7 He obviously did not hit a home run every time they needed one as the Mets finished 11.5 games back in the division and were much worse with him than without. You’re going on the emotions of one of his hot streaks. Dan Uggla is a very good comparison offensively. Remember when Dan Uggla had a 33 game hit streak with the Braves? He was streaky just like Baez. What you are doing would be the same as a Braves fan defending Uggla as “clutch” because of what he did during his streak and totally discounting the larger sample size. As a Braves fan I truly hope the Mets give Baez 200M+.
Compare their entire careers, compare just their 26-28 age seasons – they are actually very comparable offensively. Uggla is actually superior to Baez with a much better OBP and better OPS. Here are their age 26-28 seasons compared – and that doesn’t even include Uggla’s best years.
I agree. I haven’t compared stats but off the top of my head a current Brave that might even be more comparable is Adam Duval. Streaky, swings and misses, low OBP, good defensively at his position. I don’t mind Duval for under 10M as a Braves fan but he wouldn’t be worth the AAV Baez will get.
Dan Uggla. Forgot about him…
The Sox need to focus on the pitching, especially if they do give Houck and Whitlock a shot in the rotation. There are a lot of quality SS out on the market with Story, Correa, Baez and Seager. They would be better off letting the first two to go off the board and then see who is left and the price.
My wish list is:
A front end starter
A solid veteran starter. Someone who gets innings and keep their ERA in the 4’s.
At least 3 live arms for the pen. The more the better.
A CF who has range, defense and can at least hit a little.
A 2B or middle infielder that is good glove and average hitter.
Front end starter is the one that is more a long shot. They finally picked up some payroll flexibility so I hope they spend wisely. All that is left is the Price contract at $16 million.
They aren’t getting a front line starter and probably won’t even make a serious inquiry. They paid sale to be that guy and Eovaldi seems to have figured out the pitch mix to sustain success. They really only need one starter. The guy that can eat innings and keep his ERA from completely imploding is Matz. Did you forget about how great Kiki was in center this year by the eye test and by the analytics? And basically, you are saying you want Iggy back. So do I. But I think they’ll rock with arroyo and when he gets hurt, we will see Jeter Downs’ debut and he will get a real opportunity despite stinking it up this past season in AAA
Hernandez checks the boxes in both CF and 2B. Duran could still factor in CF and Arroyo isn’t bad at 2B.
The focus needs to be pitching. A pair of starters and a couple of bullpen arms
Yea Hernandez is just fine in CF. Not sure what he’s thinking, especially since he also wants a 2B. Personally I would like to see them trade Durran, I’m not a believer that he’ll be anything more than an average OF. Heard a rumor Miami was looking to trade one of Alcantara, Elieser Hernández and Pablo Lopez, maybe a deal there.
Alcantara and Lopez will come with steep asking prices, Hernandez has had some injury issues and could probably be had for less.
I can’t see giving up on Duran without at least giving him a decent look. Lots of players struggled last year with no minor league season in 2020. Maybe its just me but I’m not ready to write him off yet
Benching Enrique Hernandez?
I see the Sox signing one SP, maybe one RP, and maybe one 2B.
With the latest news that Bloom is considering Baez, if in fact that is not fake news distributed by Bloom because he’s focused on someone else, does versatility seem like a good reason to pick him over the other far better shortstops? Is this the ugly Latin bias rearing it ugly head yet again? Hard to say since misdirection is a standard practice during the off season to help keep the deals newsworthy when the deals break.
Does Baez make sense? About as much sense as Schwarber!!
Do any of the bogus defensive metrics mean ANYTHING? NOPE. Why? Because Baez has never played next to the buffoon ball hog named Devers. He’s never had a guy reduce his range by cutting off routine balls to him at SS just to throw them away or mishandle them and turn them into infield hits. There is no completely fair way to compare Bogaerts and Baez defensively. Move Devers to DH where he SHOULD HAVE been since he made the majors and Bogaerts ridiculously constructed modern defensive metrics would soar!! You can’t blame Bogaerts for the illogical defensive calculations that are currently being used in baseball.
Face it, fielding percentage is still the best way to judge the binary success rate of a fielder and Bogaerts’ fielding percentage at SS is .978 while league average is .973 during those same years and Baez has a career fielding percentage at SS of .965 with league average being .972 during his 8 seasons at SS. Yes Baez is below league average!!!
So ANYONE suggesting Baez is the better fielder is WRONG. He may have more plays that he turns into highlight moments but his daily play is less than that of Bogaerts. I’ll take non-flashy and more consistent over show-off and inconsistent any day!!! Modern metrics promote selfish play on defense.
Why would ANYONE in their right mind think that the way to improve Boston’s defense is to fix any other position than 3B? Devers is beyond low handing fruit, he’s a fix fans have been screaming for since he first showed up. He continues to solidify his position as the worst fielding 3B in the history of the Red Sox. Don’t argue that fact since I’ve researched it back as far as defensive metrics go!!! He may also end up the worst fielding 3B in the history of baseball!!!
24 errors a years is just the tip of the iceberg. His other 12 to 24 mishandles that don’t get counted for errors makes him the primary reason Red Sox pitchers have to throw more pitches than pitchers on other teams, Red Sox pitchers have higher ERAs and WHIPS that pitchers on other teams and most importantly why Red Sox pitchers have more high stress innings than they would on other teams.
YES, ONE GUY destroys that much for the pitching staff and has for five years!!
FYI… if you think Bogaerts is a bad SS because he has made 87 errors in 3971 total chances what do you call Devers who has made 96 errors in 1472 total chances? I call him the Butcher of Boston.
The Red Sox need to focus on an impact SP. With Verlander gone, Scherzer or Gausman could both step in and significantly upgrade the rotation at slightly more than E-Rod’s QO. If the goal is bang for the buck then I say sign Kim from St. Louis . Much better numbers than E-Rod and a fraction of the cost. Another lefty to go with Sale would help balance the starting staff.
Truthfully, FIXING 3B should be the #1 priority. Either trading for a stud at 3B to replace JD in the middle of the line-up or picking up a guy like Story who could play 3B makes the most sense. If I were Bloom I would target either Jose Ramirez in a trade or sign either Freeman or Rizzo to play 1B and move Dalbec to 3B. A big lefty bat like Freeman or RIzzo along with the gold glove defense will significantly improve both the hitting and the defense. Neither is Latin but maybe Bloom could make an exception.
Otherwise, Ramirez is the ultimate answer and Cleveland will ask for a lot and Boston can give them all the crap Bloom has acquired during his two years so all those acquisitions don’t end up in the farm system for life. Lets start with offering Verdugo, Downs and Wong, then add Potts, Seabold and Winchowski. That should be enough to get Jose Ramirez and it’s not like any of those players will be all-stars let alone top 5 players in baseball. Volume trade and some redemption for moving Mookie for nothing by using the three amigos we got for Mookie!!
Literally outs above average take into account all sorts of defensive positioning of other similar factors (like Devers playing further off third base to gobble up balls he probably shouldn’t). Per fielding percentage, Bogartes is a better career defender than Brooks Robinson, on par with Ozzie Smith, and Freddy Galvis isn’t only the third best defensive shortstop of all time in terms of fielding %, but the third best defender of all time, regardless of position.
Per fielding percentage, Bogartes is a better career defender than Brooks Robinson
Fielding percentage is a bad way to measure defensive skill. I never dropped a ball in my entire life. That doesn’t make me a good fielder. I’ll catch everything hit right at me, and will throw out 30% of the hitters.
Did Devers steal your girlfriend or something?
Mookie was gone no matter what I’m glad myself. .. From wanting to test free agency to turning down 10/300 from Boston to sign an extension in Spring training .. He flat lied about his intentions. I’ll take the players we got for him anyway.
Something has me feeling like maybe a Health and wellness check on Devers might not be a bad idea.
Alex Wood , Alex Coob, Stroman and Matzs will no cost a Pick!! 2 off them and take Semien
Knowing Boston fans, they aren’t going to like the bs Baez brings and the lack of hustle etc. he sometimes does. Or him booing fans back, that will be a disaster in Boston. You
Rather they get someone else than him like Semien although last year seems like quite outlier year for him. I’m hopeful Bogaerts stays in Boston and retires there.
Thats a disaster in boston but ok where else? Only the mets could tolerate that behavior
I mean the Yankees even let some that stuff slide this past season.
Baez would be good in the Midwest where that level of scrutiny is much lower imo
” Baez would be good in the Midwest where that level of scrutiny is much lower imo”
Yeah, the hicks can’t keep up with the NE media and fans. They’re so backwards that most think ESPN commentators and others don’t know anything about pro sports.
FYI – You dump a contract like the one he wants on fans in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minnesota, or St. Louis and watch the howls.
It’s pretty well known what I said about scrutiny in baseball. I never said anything about Hicks lol
Where is it “pretty well known”?
By the NE sports media, that thinks everyone in the corridor knows everything about everything, and the rest of the country is stupid?
I was raised in the Midwest. Lived most of my adult life on the West Coast. I saw little difference in fans knowledge of the game. A lot more ball is played on the West Coast – year ’round – due to the weather. A lot more is played in Florida, and the south as well. The fans I’ve met are pretty much the same everywhere. Here’s one for you……
I saw 3 experts on MLB TV the other day picking where 4 free agents would sign. They got to Nick Castellanos. The 3rd guy said – “The Mets”. His reasoning – they were losing Conforto, the Mets could get another RH bat and put him in RF…at times he could DH. The other 2 commentators (including an ex-ML player) and the moderator all said that was great out-of-the-box thinking and it would be wonderful….they’d never thought of it.
The Mets play in a large yard. Their primary shortcoming for years has been a spotty D. They boot balls, force their pitchers to hit their pitch counts early. Currently they’re playing a 1B (who plays better 1B then their current 1B) in LF – he’s too slow and doesn’t have an OF arm. So if the DH comes to the NL, the theory was that Alonso would share the DH with Dom Smith. But wait….there’s more…..They have to take back Cano for 2/$48m, and he should be playing 1B. Maybe they’ll put him at 2B……which he can’t play anymore…..so he should be DH’ing. And then there’s JD Davis @ 3B. He’s one of the two worst defenders in MLB today. He should be DH’ing.
So the NE “experts” smarter than the dumb hicks in the Midwest figure that what the Mets need to do is shell out over $20m a year for a guy to play RF (to replace Conforto who was ML average) that’s the only player in MLB that plays D as badly as JD Davis does.
Tell me about how smart people in Boston, NYC and the corridor are about baseball (around 2002-03 I read a veteran Boston sports-writer – now an expert on ESPN – that in referring to a 2B after the season, stated that “I never knew how important making a DP was until we had a guy that couldn’t”…..no stat for that BTW). I grew up in the Midwest and me an my friends understood that when we were 12 years-old.
P.S. Where did Joe Castiglone broadcast before Boston?
So you’re a Boston fan?
I saw Dick Stuart play (Dr. Strangeglove). Did you? He had nothing over Davis and Castellanos.
Jesus did someone not love you growing up?
Your Astros can have him to replace Correa … let’s face it- morality and accountability means nothing to that organization
LOL. Says the guy whose team hired fired and rehired the manager who installed the whole thing. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds
I’m a diehard Sox fan for 50 years, who despises cora and believes he should be banned from baseball but that load of crap that he installed the whole thing is an outright lie.
grnmtbaseball – You and I have a very similar fan history except I probably have you by 10 years. I have a slightly different take on what Cora did in Houston. I don’t think he’s smart enough to be the brains behind it any more than he was smart enough to design the video room cheating in Boston.
In both cases, I believe someone else figured out the system and presented it to him as a way to get an edge on the opponent and he evaluated it and determined it was worth the risk. Lifetime ban? Absolutely. Brains behind either cheating scandal? Not a chance. Willing participant and a promoter of the idea? Absolutely.
Javy baez led the majors in strikeouts this year with 184. He had 28 walks. That.is.not.good.
As a Sox fan, please do not sign Baez. He brings the exact opposite approach at the plate that the team is trying to establish. His hit tool will not age well, even if it’s a shorter deal.
Baez is heading cross town & will look great in pinstripes..
Baez has a long swing. That rarely plays well once a player enters his early 30s and bat speed slows even marginally. I’d be wary of Baez. Love his glove (fastest tag in baseball), but I suspect the bat won’t hold up.
He reminds me a lot of Puig in that it’s evident he never goes up to the plate with any kind of plan other than swing as hard as he can at what he thinks will be a strike. Baez has his moments offensively and defensively, but the stopper for me every day of the week is his 37% K rate. There are no other aspects of his game that can balance out that stat.
Agreed, Solaris, Baez lacks a “plan.” Boston should spend its money elsewhere.
I hope Matz can continue to find success elsewhere but I think he’d get destroyed in Fenway. Don’t know if that’s the best match.
whimsically, it appears that Erod is basically not replaceable.. Berrios after the first year is getting 20M for 6 years. So, this should be very interesting. Without Houck and Whitlock out of the pen, And no Schwarber. Maybe, they can get Perez and Richards Back.
Not a big fan of Baez and hope that Boston isn’t really looking in that direction.
Hopefully Bloom will target pitching, pitching and more pitching. I don’t really like signing Semien either since it sounds like he is going to get a 5 or 6 year contract. Maybe Bloom can work out a trade with Oakland and land one of their pitchers maybe a Duran and Dalbec for Montas kind of trade at least something in that vain.
I’m pretty confident the Red Sox are not going to move Devers of third defensively so it’s a moot argument. I would really like to see Bloom lock down the closer role by Raisel Iglesias this would do two things not only lock down the closer role but allow Houck and Whitlock to get stretched out and be used in the rotation. I think they would still have to add a bullpen arm or two besides Iglesias but I think that would be a real solid team with either Houck or Whitlock dropping back into the bullpen if Bloom is able to pull off a trade for Montas.
Iglesias got a QO, considering Bloom prioritizes get youth in the pipeline it’s hard to imagine he’ll be willing to give up a draft pick for a reliever
I agree, no big contracts. Downs should be trade bait. Dalbec can be too though Id like to see him stay and figure out how to split 3B/1B/DH between Devers, Dalbec and Casas after JD is gone. Bogaerts, Mayer, Yorke are the future up the middle, with Bogey maybe going to third. They have a solid top 4 in the rotation with Sale, Eovaldi, Houck, Pivetta. They may have a 5th in Whitlock. Get a mid-rotation arm and a depth piece and make the bullpen the priority.
Baez would definitely make the Sox/Yankees rivalry a bit more interesting.
Rotation & bullpen…should be sought after before anything else. Matz or Gray would be a decent signing for the middle of rotation…but neither are a front line starter.
If we were to sign a utility infielder (2b, ss, 3b) I would be ok with that. Whats Jeter going to be like time to push that button? We have some OF depth so that is not a real need at this point but Joc would be a cheaper buy then Kyle & that would be fine for this fan to see!
If the Sox are to make a splashy move I’d much rather them go for Story. Baez has a crap attitude and I think his offense is too streaky. I know story had big home splits but that should lower his cost as well.
Chris Taylor sounds like a cheaper shorter option as well if the Sox realistically think Bogaerts can be kept long term and willing to move to second, and that Meyer is the real deal in a few years.