It’s time for Craig Breslow, Red Sox to get uncomfortable originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Red Sox lead the world in reasons to say no.
They couldn’t keep Mookie Betts because he didn’t fit their contention window. They didn’t sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto because he was too pricey. They can’t trade for Brewers Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes because he’s too close to free agency.
The only players they generally acquired during the Chaim Bloom era and so far under successor Craig Breslow fit a similar profile — cheap, signed short-term, available for a reason.
At some point, however, the Red Sox will need to get uncomfortable. The Yankees, for instance, pounced on superstar outfielder Juan Soto, even though the Scott Boras client has already turned down a $440 million extension offer and will hit free agency next fall. The Red Sox could never justify such a move, because it doesn’t fit their long-term vision. But it also means they miss out on a generational talent who could make them relevant as an entertainment product today, which might give him a reason to stick around tomorrow.
Discomfort doesn’t seem to be a feature of Operation Full Throttle. So far this winter, the Red Sox have made a couple of minor moves to save salary, signed bounceback candidate Lucas Giolito as a first step towards remaking their rotation, and traded Chris Sale and some of his remaining salary to the Braves for promising infielder Vaughn Grissom.
Now comes the hard part that will define their offseason. Breslow has made it clear he’ll move prospects to acquire a starting pitcher. He could also stand to thin his outfield ranks. There’s space to make a deal.
The Red Sox are prioritizing players with multiple years of team control in a tacit admission that their contention window, such as it is, won’t open until at least 2025. In a perfect world, that would mean a trade for young Marlins lefty Jesus Luzardo or maybe Mariners righty Logan Gilbert. But Breslow is already learning that market conditions are rarely perfect, such as the pursuit of Yamamoto, their No. 1 target, who found himself more entranced by the glitz (and $325 million) of Los Angeles and New York than whatever Boston had to offer.
Breslow has signaled a willingness to challenge the organization’s comfort zone, which will be a welcome development if it actually happens. Until then, we’ll be left to wonder how much of this talk will lead to actual, impactful action.
A good example of cautious thinking closing…