Red Sox were among teams ‘believed to have considered’ Noah Syndergaard before right-hander reached agreement with Angels, per report

The Red Sox were among several teams believed to have been interested in free agent Noah Syndergaard before the right-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels on Tuesday, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds on to this, writing that both the Red Sox and Blue Jays “made aggressive offers for Syndergaard” while the Yankees also had interest.

Per Heyman, Syndergaard was set to take his physical with the Angels on Tuesday, meaning his agreement with Los Angeles could become official relatively soon if he passes.

Prior to setting himself up to join the Halos’ starting rotation next season, the 29-year-old had been extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022 by his former club in the Mets.

Assuming Syndergaard passes his physical, the Angels would then be forced to forfeit $500,000 in international signing bonus money as well as their second-highest selection in next year’s draft, while the Mets would receive a compensatory draft pick after losing a qualified free agent in free agency.

The fact that the Red Sox were reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher such as Syndergaard is telling. Not only did he have a qualifying offer attached to him, but the Texas-born righty has pitched a total of two major-league innings since the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, Syndergaard suffered a series of setbacks in his road to recovery this season, including right elbow inflammation in late May and a positive COVID-19 test in late August.

It took until late September for Syndergaard to make his highly-anticipated 2021 debut, and he did so as an opener for the Mets, allowing two runs over two innings in his only two big-league appearances of the year.

Still, even after being that limited in 2021, Syndergaard received a qualifying offer from the Mets, thus putting somewhat of a strain on another team if they were to sign him away from New York.

As highlighted by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Angels bit the bullet in this case. Rosenthal explained that Los Angeles is essentially paying a premium of $21 million for a pitcher who will likely be operating on an inning limit in 2022 given their lack of work the last two seasons.

That the Red Sox were interested in Syndergaard is certainly fascinating to say the least. Between the salary, draft-related penalties, and injury history/concerns, there are plenty of risks to factor in here despite the hard-throwing, 6-foot-6, 242 pound hurler having some major upside.

Though the depth of conversation between the Sox and Syndergaard — represented by CAA Sports — is presently unclear, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hinted that Boston would inquire on qualified free agents this off-season.

“I think we’re in better position than we were a year ago,” Bloom said recently. “Even a year ago, I remember we talked about it and I said it’s certainly not something that’s off the table for us. Now at the time I said that knowing that most likely with [last year’s qualified free agents], it wouldn’t line up. I don’t know how this off-season is going to play out. But I think just where we’re positioned now with the depth that we have internally — although we’re nowhere close to where we want to be — we are in a better position than where we were.

“So I think it’s likelier there could be a fit there,” he added. “But we’re just going to do as we would with any move, just access all the implications. And if it is something that makes sense for us, we’ve got to be ready to bounce.”

With Syndergaard now off the table and heading to the West Coast, the only other qualified free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could pursue are Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander.

An evaluator representing Boston was on hand when Verlander, who is expected to decline the Astros’ qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline, threw for teams in Florida last week.

(Picture of Noah Syndergaard: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘among many teams showing interest’ in free agent infielder Javier Báez, per report

The Red Sox are among the many teams showing interest in free agent infielder Javier Baez, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Baez, who turns 29 next month, became a free agent in early November after spending the 2021 season with both the Cubs and Mets. He began the year in Chicago, batting .248/.292/.484 with nine doubles, two triples, 22 home runs, 65 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 131 strikeouts over 91 games spanning 361 plate appearances.

On July 30, the Cubs traded Baez — as well as right-hander Trevor Williams and cash considerations — to the Mets for outfield prospect and 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Remaining in the National League with New York, the right-handed hitting Baez slashed a much-improved .299/.371/.515 to go along with nine doubles, nine homers, 22 RBIs, 32 runs scored, five stolen bases, 13 walks, and 53 strikeouts in 47 games (186 plate appearances) as a Met.

Upon arriving in New York, Baez had primarily served as the Cubs’ everyday shortstop. The Mets, however, moved the 28-year-old over to second base to accommodate their own star infielder in Francisco Lindor.

In total, Baez appeared in 100 games as a shortstop and in 35 games games as a second baseman in his time with the Cubs and Mets in 2021. He posted three defensive runs saved while logging 285 2/3 innings at second and another three defensive runs saved while logging 834 2/3 innings at short.

Because he was acquired mid-season, the Mets were unable to extend Baez — a client of Wasserman — an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022, meaning the 6-foot, 190 pounder does not come with any draft pick compensation attached to him.

A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Baez is close with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who hails from nearby Caguas. Together, the two helped Team Puerto Rico win silver in 2017 World Baseball Classic, with the former playing for his island and the latter serving as general manager.

If Boston were to bring in Baez, they would acquire a very smooth defender who is capable of playing all around the infield if needed. He also represents another option at shortstop if Xander Bogaerts were to shift over to second base or exercise his opt-out after the 2022 campaign.

That said, MLB Trade Rumors predicted earlier this month that Baez would land himself a five-year, $100 million deal in free agency. FanGraphs, on the other hand, projects him to get a four-year pact worth north of $80 million.

(Picture of Javier Baez: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Just how interested are Red Sox in free agent left-hander Steven Matz?

Earlier this week, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Red Sox were one of multiple teams interested in free agent left-hander Steven Matz. On Friday, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden added more fuel to that fire.

While answering questions from readers, Bowden hypothesized that if the Red Sox are unable to re-sign fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, they will “pivot to another similar starter,” such as Matz.

Matz, 30, became a free agent earlier this month after spending the entirety of the 2021 season with the Blue Jays. The former second-round draft pick out of Stony Brook, N.Y. spent the first 12 years of his professional career with the Mets, but was dealt to Toronto this past January.

In return for Matz, the Mets acquired three right-handed pitchers including prospect Josh Winckowski, who they later traded to the Red Sox as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February.

Regardless of that, Matz made 29 starts for the Jays this season, posting a respectable 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 150 2/3 innings of work. He missed time in the month of June due to a bout with COVID-19.

Among 17 left-handed starters who accrued at least 150 innings in 2021, Matz ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (8.6), ninth in walks per nine innings (2.6), 10th in strikeout rate (22.3%), eighth and walk rate (6.6%), seventh in FIP, and eighth in xFIP (3.94), per FanGraphs.

According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 201 pound southpaw operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, his fastest and most-used pitch, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider.

The Blue Jays had the chance to extend Matz an $18.4 million qualifying offer, but elected not to do so even after making a multi-year extension offer that the veteran hurler reportedly rejected, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Because he was not extended a qualifying offer, Matz does not have any draft pick compensation attached to him.

For this reason, Matz — a client of Icon Sports Management — should be more appealing to interested clubs such as the Red Sox since they would not have to forfeit a draft pick to the Blue Jays in order to sign him.

On that note, Newsday’s Tim Healey reported from Carlsbad, Calif. this week that Matz, who does not turn 31 until next May, was on hand at the GM meetings to talk with teams. Healey, like Sherman, also listed the Red Sox as one of the teams that ‘are in’ on Matz.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) on his way out of the GM meetings on Thursday, Red Sox chief baseball officer would not comment on if he spoke with any players in person, but did say that he felt like progress was made in terms of getting deals done.

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘have engaged in talks’ with free-agent reliever Héctor Rondón, per report

The Red Sox are showing interest and have even “engaged in talks” with free-agent reliever Hector Rondon, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Rondon, who turned 33 last month, initially signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies in early February before opting out of said contract last week.

In eight appearances out of Philadelphia’s bullpen this spring, the Venezuelan right-hander yielded seven runs (six earned) on eight hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts over seven innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 7.71 and WHIP of 1.43.

A veteran of eight big-league seasons, Rondon spent the shortened 2020 campaign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he struggled to the tune of a 7.65 ERA and 6.59 FIP over 23 relief outings spanning 20 innings pitched.

Prior to 2020, though, Rondon had established himself as a solid bullpen arm through the first seven years of his major-league career, as he posted a 3.29 ERA and 3.49 FIP over 421 games (416 innings) as a member of the Cubs and Astros from 2013-2019.

Per Baseball Savant, Rondon — who originally signed with the Indians as an international free-agent in 2004 — primarily relies on his four-seam fastball, slider, sinker, and changeup. He averaged a velocity of 95.7 mph with his heater last year, down from 96.7 mph in 2019.

Rondon, as Cotillo notes, is just one of a handful of free-agent relievers the Red Sox have engaged in talks with in recent weeks.

Jesse Biddle, a left-hander with three years of major-league experience under his belt with the Braves, Mariners, Rangers, and Reds, is someone Boston “has inquired about” after the 29-year-old was cut loose by Cincinnati on Friday.

Falmouth native Steve Cishek is another bullpen arm the Sox had interest in, but only on a minor-league deal. The veteran right-hander opted out of his contract with the Astros last week and it certainly looks like he will be landing with another club on a big-league deal sooner rather than later.

Boston’s pursuit of relievers on the open market comes at a time when veterans around baseball are either released or opt out of their minor-league deals to pursue major-league opportunities elsewhere.

When asked on Sunday if the Red Sox would consider adding to their bullpen in the wake of Matt Barnes testing positive for COVID-19 (he has since been cleared to return to the team), chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged that an addition could happen depending on the circumstances surrounding the team.

“It’s interesting because this is the time of year where there’s often a lot of movement as teams are setting rosters,” Bloom said via Zoom. “Players might become available that haven’t been throughout the spring. So generally speaking, it’s a time of year when you’re looking around. This adds a little bit of a twist to that. At the same time, we’ve need to make sure that we’ve got our arms around the developing situation here and to the extent that this is just a short-term bump in the road. We also need to be mindful of that.”

(Picture of Hector Rondon: Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Red Sox making progress on deal with Japanese reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, per report

The Red Sox are making progress towards a major-league deal with Japanese right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Per Cotillo, “it’s unclear if the sides have agreed to terms yet, but things certainly seem to be trending in that direction.”

Sawamura, who turns 33 in April, has since 2011 spent the entirety of his professional career in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization , most recently splitting the 2020 season between the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines.

Over 35 total relief appearances with the two clubs, Sawamura initially struggled to the tune of a 6.08 ERA with Yomiuri, but turned things around for the better after gettind dealt to Chiba Lotte midseason.

In 22 outings out of the Marines bullpen, the 6-foot, 212 lb. righty posted a 1.71 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, and a 29:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 21 innings of work. He also recorded one save and 13 holds.

As noted by Cotillo, Sawamura has not started a game in Japan since 2015, so he would likely be slated for a spot in the Red Sox’ bullpen if he were to sign with the club, which seems just about imminent at this point.

Going off another point Cotillo made, Sawamura is currently an unrestricted free agent, so he is not subject to the posting system between the NPB and Major League Baseball.

Put another way, Boston — or any other team — does not have to pay Chiba Lotte in order to acquire Sawamura’s services this offseason.

A native of Tochigi, Japan, Sawamura’s pitch arsenal consists of a high-velocity fastball, a low-90s splitter, and a slider, per MLB Trade Rumors’ Anthony Franco.

The fact that the Sox are in on someone like Sawamura does not come as much of a surprise given the club’s interest in other international free agents (Ha-Seong Kim, Kohei Arihara, Tomoyuki Sugano) this winter.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom addressed the international market for free-agent pitchers when speaking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford and Jon Meterparel back in late December.

“I think it’s more difficult in a sense than it is with a pitcher who has pitched a lot domestically, where you just have more information,” Bloom said when asked about evaluating talent overseas. “But, that doesn’t necessarily mean a pitcher from that market is an unwise investment. I think… there’s a lot more unknowns when you’re bringing someone over to compete in a different league, on a different schedule than they’re used to competing. But, baseball’s baseball. We have a number of examples, including in this organization, of guys coming from that market and having success. I think we have, as an industry, a decent ability to predict how they’ll do. So, that’s a market I think we need to involve ourselves in just like any other.”

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Sports Nippon/Getty Images)

Red Sox free agency rumors: Jackie Bradley Jr. seeking ‘significant contract, perhaps beyond four years,’ per report

Potential Red Sox free-agent target Jackie Bradley Jr. remains unsigned as major-league camps in Arizona and Florida are set to begin in just a matter of weeks.

There have not been too many recent rumblings as to where Bradley Jr. could land, but on Wednesday evening, The New York Post’s Mike Puma reported that the 30-year-old outfielder “has been seeking a significant contract, perhaps beyond four years.”

Bradley Jr., who turns 31 in April, is a client of super-agent Scott Boras.

The one-time All-Star and one-time Gold Glove award winner is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .283/.364/.450 with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 55 games played (217 plate appearances) for the Sox.

Boston has expressed interest in a reunion with Bradley Jr. since the closing stages of last season, but the two sides do not appear to be anywhere close to an agreement on a new contract at the moment.

“As far as Jackie, as it’s been all offseason, we continue to stay in touch with him,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters late last month. “We have been this entire time. And I expect we’ll continue to until his free agency resolves.”

Although it’s out there that Bradley Jr. may be seeking a four-plus year deal from interested clubs, it would be interested to see how much he is looking for in terms of average annual value.

The former first-round draft selection may be the top centerfielder on the open market now that George Springer has signed with the Blue Jays, but the fact of the matter is that Bradley Jr., while superb in the outfield, has proven to be inconsistent at the plate over the course of eight-year major-league career.

With that in mind, it seems unlikely that a team such as the Mets would be willing to invest that much in a practically defense-first outfielder who is now on the other side of 30, as noted by MLB Trade Rumors’ Jeff Todd.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are inching towards towards the $210 million luxury tax threshold with their 2021 payroll following the signings of Enrique Hernandez and Garrett Richards being made official, so they would probably prefer to avoid that much of an investment as well.

Given those circumstances, Boston could stand put and roll with an everyday outfield of Andrew Benintendi in left, Alex Verdugo in center, and Hunter Renfroe in right to open the 2021 season if they so choose.

Jarren Duran, one of the club’s top outfield prospects, also appears to be on the cusp of getting big-league consideration sometime this summer.

The 24-year-old, who played winter ball for Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League, is currently representing Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series.

If not Verdugo or Duran, the Red Sox could look at other free-agents still available who have experience playing center field, such as Jake Marisnick and old friend Kevin Pillar.

(Picture of Jackie Bradley Jr.: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have expressed interest in free-agent infielder Travis Shaw, per report

The Red Sox have reportedly expressed interest in free-agent infielder Travis Shaw, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Shaw, who turns 31 in April, is coming off a 2020 season with the Blue Jays in which he slashed .239/.306/.411 to go along with six home runs and 17 RBI over 50 games played and 180 plate appearances.

Over the course of those 50 games with Toronto, the Ohio native saw the majority of his playing time come at third base with a little bit of first base, designated hitter, and pinch-hitting duties mixed in there as well.

Earlier this week, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that the Sox are “hoping to sign a left-handed hitter who can complement Bobby Dalbec at first base.” And although Cotillo did not specifically mention Shaw in this report, the left-handed hitting infielder certainly fits that mold.

Against right-handed pitching last year, Shaw posted a .710 OPS while clubbing all six of his homers off righties.

For his career, the Kent State product owns a lifetime .247/.338/.465 slash line to go along with 88 home runs and 253 RBI in 1,836 total plate appearances against right-handed pitching.

Shaw, a former 32nd and ninth-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2008 and 2011, spent the first two seasons of his major-league career in Boston before getting dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2016.

In addition to Shaw, the Sox have also expressed interest in a reunion with another familiar face in free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland, per Cotillo.

More versatile free-agent options, such as the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez and left-handed hitting Brad Miller, may be in the mix as well as Boston looks to solidify its bench in the weeks leading up to the start of spring training.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘have had some talks’ with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland about potential reunion, per report

The Red Sox have ‘had some talks’ with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland about a potential reunion, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Cotillo reported over the weekend that the Sox would like to add ‘a left-handed hitting bench bat’ to complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base.

Moreland, a left-handed hitter, obviously fits that mold.

The 35-year-old spent 3 1/2 seasons with Boston — signing three separate contracts with the club — from 2017 until August 2020, at which point he was dealt to the San Diego Padres.

Moreland was having a superb year up until that trade, posting a .328/.430/.746 slash line to go along with eight home runs and 21 RBI over 20 games and 73 plate appearances.

That level of production decreased significantly upon Moreland’s arrival in San Diego, but you can make the argument that the Red Sox benefitted immensely from jettisoning one of their hottest players at the plate.

For one, trading Moreland opened up a spot for Dalbec to get called up regularly play first base for the remainder of the 2020 campaign. The 25-year-old rookie went on to crush eight homers himself while collecting 16 RBI in just 23 games (92 PAs) in his first go-around in the majors.

Second, in return for Moreland, Boston received infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario from San Diego. The two minor-leaguers are currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as top-20 prospects within the Sox’ farm system after both were added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.

Moreland, meanwhile, struggled in his new role with the Padres, as previously mentioned. And even though he did not perform at the highest of levels, it still came as somewhat of a surprise to see the Friars decline the former All-Star’s $3 million club option for the 2021 season this past fall.

So, the Red Sox got two of their better prospects in exchange for a few weeks of Moreland’s services. Not too shabby.

Now that Moreland is once again a free-agent and still remains unsigned, though, a reunion between the two sides certainly seems palpable.

The Gold Glove-caliber first baseman was revered as a clubhouse leader in his time with Boston who was more than capable of coming up in clutch spots when needed.

At this stage of his career, Moreland likely is not looking to be an everyday player, and could even be willing to take a backseat to someone like Dalbec while also DH’ing and coming off the bench in pinch-hitting situations.

If the two were to form some sort of platoon, Moreland does own a lifetime .256/.325/.469 slash line against right-handed pitching.

It also doesn’t hurt that, even before these rumors emerged, the Mississippi State product talked to fellow former Bulldog Hunter Renfroe about what it was like to play in Boston before the newest Red Sox outfielder signed with the club in December.

At the end of the day, whether Moreland returns to the Sox is presumably dependent on A. what his market looks like and B. how the Red Sox front office views him.

Moreland was one of the first free-agents Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom signed to a major-league contract, so there is a connection there.

Moreland’s bond with Red Sox manager Alex Cora cannot be forgotten about, either.

Then again, as Cotillo tweeted, other options — such as Brad Miller and Marwin Gonzalez — are in the mix as well.

(Picture of Mitch Moreland: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox would like to address bench depth by adding left-handed hitter, per report

While the Red Sox continue to fill out their major-league roster, one area of concern they would like to address between now and Opening Day is bench depth, or more specifically, adding a left-handed hitter who could come off the bench, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Per Cotillo, it would be ideal if this left-handed bat could complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base. Among the free-agents who could do this, Cotillo notes that Marwin Gonzalez, Brad Miller, and old friend Mitch Moreland stand out above the rest.

Gonzalez, a switch-hitter, spent the 2020 season with the Twins and played 23 games at third base, 21 games at second base, nine games at first base, and eight games in right field.

When facing right-handed pitching as a left-handed hitter last year, the 31-year-old slashed .209/.295/.357 to go along with five home runs and 16 RBI over 132 plate appearances.

For his career, which spans nine seasons, Gonzalez is a lifetime .261/.321/.411 hitter off of right-handers when hitting from the left side of the batter’s box.

Cotillo linked the Venezuelan-born utilityman to the Sox earlier this month, citing that Boston ‘was in’ on Gonzalez. One reason for this is likely because of the relationship Gonzalez has with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the versatile veteran’s bench coach for the Houston Astros in 2017.

Miller, meanwhile, hits strictly from the left side of the plate and is also capable of playing several defensive positions.

Last year with the Cardinals, the 31-year-old played every infield position besides first base, which he has done in the past.

In 48 games (171 plate appearances) with St. Louis, Miller posted a solid .807 OPS while clubbing seven homers and 25 RBI.

Narrowing that down to what he did against right-handed pitching — when he got most of his playing time — in 2020, the Orlando native proved to be quite effective by posting a .240/.364/.464 slash line. Six of his seven home runs on the year came against righties.

Over the course of his eight-year big-league career, Miller owns a lifetime wRC+ of 111 off of right-handed pitching, which pales in comparison to his lifetime wRC+ of 84 off of left-handed pitching.

Unlike Gonzalez, Miller does not have a connection to Cora, but he does have one to Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

That being the case because the former Clemson Tiger spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Rays from 2016 until June 2018, so it’s likely he and Bloom got to know each other a little bit during their time together in Tampa.

On Friday night, Cotillo tweeted that Miller was a guy the Red Sox “are looking at,” so there’s that.

Finally, we arrive at someone who has a connection to both Bloom and Cora in Moreland, who spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Sox on three separate contracts before being dealt to the Padres in late August.

That trade turned out to be a win for Bloom and Co., as they received prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario in exchange for Moreland while San Diego declined the 35-year-old’s club option for 2021 in early November.

The move also cleared up a spot for Dalbec to get the call up from the alternate training site and make his major-league debut. It’s safe to say the 25-year-old made the most of that opportunity.

Before said three-player trade went down, Moreland was on an absolute tear to kick off his 2020 campaign in Boston after re-signing with the club in January.

Over the course of 22 games, the Mississippi native slashed a robust .328/.430/.746 in addition to clobbering eight homers and driving in 21 RBI in just 79 plate appearances.

Moreland’s playing time decreased when he arrived in San Diego, as did his on-field performance, but the former All-Star could still prove to be a valuable, veteran addition to the Red Sox if he were willing to embrace a bench role and maybe even mentor Dalbec.

While being limited to just first base, designated hitter, and pinch-hit duties, the left-handed hitting Moreland does carry with him a career OPS of .794 against right-handed pitching.

He was also one of Bloom’s first free-agent signings as Boston’s CBO last January and is lauded as an impact leader and veteran presence by Red Sox players and coaches — Cora included — alike.

Last week, Cotillo wrote that a reunion between Moreland and the Sox cannot be ruled out at this point, so that is also something to monitor.

At the end of the day, it would appear that while the Red Sox may be ready to make Dalbec their everyday first baseman, they do not want to put too much on his plate to at least start off the 2021 campaign.

The power-hitting prospect did well against both lefties and righties in his first go-around in the majors last September, but there remains a a possibility that Boston would like to see him play some third base (his natural position) in addition to first base as well.

In that scenario, if there was a game where the Red Sox wanted to sit Rafael Devers for whatever reason, they could slide Dalbec over to third while Moreland, Miller, Gonzalez, or another free-agent/in-house candidate could man first base in his place.

That is all just speculation, though. We will just have to wait and see what Bloom and Co. actually have in mind for Boston’s infield plans moving forward.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox in ‘active discussions’ with free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards, per report

In the wake of reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal with utilityman Enrique Hernandez, the Red Sox are also in active discussions with free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Per Morosi, multiple clubs were talking with Richards as recently as Friday.

Richards, 32, is coming off a 2020 season with the Padres in which he posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 14 outings (10 starts) and 51 1/3 innings of work.

The 2020 campaign marked Richards’ first ‘full’ season in quite a while, as the California native was limited to just three starts with the Pads in September 2019.

That was the case because the righty had been recovering from Tommy John Surgery, which he underwent as a member of the Angels in July 2018.

At one point in time, Richards — a former first-round pick of Los Angeles in 2009 — was viewed as the Halos’ future ace who would take over for longtime stalwart Jered Weaver.

That vision never came to fruition, though, as the one-time Oklahoma Sooner dealt with his fair share of injuries in his time with the Angels that was capped off by undergoing TJS in ’18.

With the Padres, however, Richards showed some flashes of what made him a special prospect in the first place, especially this past season.

Despite putting up a so-s0 4.03 ERA, the 6-foot-2, 210 lb. hurler placed in the 82nd percentile in fastball velocity, the 97th percentile in fastball spin, and the 99th percentile in curveball spin among major-league pitchers, per Baseball Savant. His pitch mix also includes a ‘wipeout’ slider.

To put it in simpler terms, Richards is somewhat of a ‘Statcast darling,’ as @RedSoxStats put it.

With that high upside potential in mind, it’s possible that Richards, who does not turn 33 until May, is currently in search of a multi-year contract.

MLB Trade Rumors predicted back in November that the ISE Baseball client would net himself a two-year, $16 million deal this winter.

Even after signing the likes of Martin Perez and Matt Andriese to one-year deals and adding swingman candidate Garrett Whitlock via the Rule 5 Draft, Boston still finds themselves in need of starting pitching help as spring training draws closer.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on the SoxProspects.com podcast earlier this week that he is hopeful the club will be able to make more moves between now and Opening Day.

“I think we have a chance to surprise some people in 2021,” he said. “And I’m hopeful and believe very much we’re going to do a few more things before Opening Day that will supplement this club.”

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)