The Braves have won their second World Series title since moving to Atlanta in 1966, as they put the finishing touches on their six-game series victory over the Astros in Houston on Tuesday night to cap off another exciting Fall Classic.
With the Braves officially putting an end to the World Series on Tuesday, the Major League Baseball offseason is truly ready to get rolling. That applies to the Red Sox, as well as the 31 other clubs they are competing with.
For the next five days, the Red Sox will have the opportunity to exclusively negotiate with their five definite free-agents to be in right-handers Adam Ottavino and Hansel Robles, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, infielder Travis Shaw, and infielder/outfielder Danny Santana.
All five of those players will file for free agency on Wednesday, but won’t officially hit the open market until Sunday, or five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
While that group of five will all become free-agents later this week, there is a chance more could be added to that list as Wednesday marks the beginning of another five-day window in which teams have to decide on club options and players have to decide on player options.
In regards to how this affects the Sox, right-hander Garrett Richards ($10 million), left-hander Martin Perez ($6 million with a $500,000 buyout), and catcher Christian Vazquez ($7 million) all have team options that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will either have picked up or declined.
On the other side of the scale, veteran slugger J.D. Martinez has the ability to opt out of the final season of the five-year, $110 deal he signed with Boston in February 2018. The 34-year-old would be leaving $19.35 million on the table for 2022 if he were to opt for free agency this winter instead.
Kyle Schwarber, meanwhile, has an $11.5 mutual option for 2022 attached to the one-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Nationals in January. This means the Red Sox and Schwarber would both have to be on the same page in order to have that mutual option picked up, which seems unlikely based off the kind of season the 28-year-old first baseman/left fielder just put together.
To go along with the five-day window to decide on options and whatnot, the Red Sox will also have the next five days to determine if they will be handing out a qualifying offer to any impending free-agent who qualifies for one.
The qualifying offer, which is calculated yearly, by averaging the salaries of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball, will be worth $18.4 million this season.
Of the handful of Red Sox players who will/could be headed towards free agency, it is worth mentioning that someone like Schwarber is ineligible to receive one since he was traded in the middle of the season. Martinez, on the other hand, could be offered one if he were to opt out of the final year of his deal.
Rodriguez, who turns 29 in April, is a more interesting case when considering the rollercoaster of a 2021 season he had. Still, any player who does receive a qualifying offer has the choice to accept, and thus return to their club on a one-year deal, or reject, and therefore become a free-agent.
That being said, the Red Sox would receive draft compensation from whatever team signed a player they had previously and unsuccessfully extended a qualifying offer towards.
If the Red Sox were to extend a qualifying offer towards any eligible player, said player would have 10 days from the time they received the qualifying offer to decide if they want to accept or reject it.
With that, the offseason is here, and while there is plenty more to come for Bloom and the Red Sox, this means it is yet again time to make some key decisions.
(Picture of Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)