Red Sox’ Alex Cora returning home to Puerto Rico for daughter’s high school graduation during this weekend’s series against Marlins; Will Venable will manage in his place

While the Red Sox are surely looking forward to welcoming in a full crowd to Fenway Park for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday as part of this weekend’s series against the Marlins, they will be doing so without manager Alex Cora.

The reason being: Cora is heading back home to Puerto Rico on Friday night for his daughter Camila’s graduation from high school, which will take place on Saturday.

“It’s our time to root for her,” Cora said of his only daughter when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s game against the Braves. “I cannot wait for Saturday. It’s probably the biggest day of my life, to be able to see Camila graduate from high school. It’s amazing. She’s actually the life of our family, the vibe of our family and she’s the leader of our family. I cannot wait for that. It will be a special day.”

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Camila Cora is the daughter of Alex and his ex-wife, Nilda, and is the second of Cora’s four children. Considering the fact that Camila is his only daughter, it would appear that the two have a tight relationship.

“This girl, she means the world to us,” said Cora. “She has been through a lot in her life. A child of divorced parents — that’s not easy — but the fact we’ve been able to work together and put her in the situation where she’s at right now. She’s going to college, she has been great to us throughout the process. She has suffered a lot the last 16 months with everything that happened with me, but at the same time, our relationship has grown. I explained her a lot of stuff. She had a lot of questions and I answered all of them.”

In Cora’s place, Red Sox bench coach Will Venable will handle managerial duties on Saturday. Cora does plan on being back in Boston for Sunday’s series finale against Miami, though.

For Venable, Saturday’s contest against the Marlins will mark his big-league managerial debut. The 38-year-old was one of several candidates who originally interviewed for the Sox’ managerial opening last fall before Cora ultimately won the job again.

“For Will, no pressure at all,” Cora said. “Just go out there and try to win a ballgame. I told him, ‘No texting. No calling. Just get ready for that.’ He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. So looking forward for Saturday on a personal note, and also to see Will go out there and do his thing.”

As for when Cora will get to see more of Camila once he returns to Boston from Puerto Rico on Sunday, that time will come later this year since she will be attending Boston College beginning in the fall.

“It has been a sprint, but now it starts, actually,” Cora said. “The fact she’s going to go to college and we’re going to enjoy that, too, it’s going to be amazing.”

(Picture of Alex and Camila Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández on playing for Alex Cora: ‘It’s an honor and I feel extremely proud to be playing for a Puerto Rican manager’

Since making his major-league debut with the Astros in 2014, Kiké Hernández has played for four different managers in his time with the ‘Stros, the Marlins, and Dodgers.

Never before has Hernandez played under a manager who hails from his home island of Puerto Rico. That will all change on Thursday afternoon when the 29-year-old takes the field for a Red Sox team led by the Puerto Rican-born Alex Cora.

“It’s an honor and I feel extremely proud to be playing for a Puerto Rican manager,” Hernandez explained Wednesday. “Growing up, almost every manager — if not every manager — was an American. So for me to be playing for a Puerto Rican manager, it means a lot. It’s something that the island is very proud of — I’m very proud of.”

The relationship between Hernandez and Cora goes back well before the former inked a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston back in February.

While growing up in Puerto Rico in the late 90s/early 2000s, Hernandez served as batboy for the same winter ball team Cora was playing for at that time, so the two got to know one another through that and their bond has only evolved since then.

“To play for Alex, the guy that I’ve known for 20 years, I’m just really happy,” the right-handed hitting Hernandez said. “I feel really comfortable because I feel like we’ve had this relationship for so long. I feel like we were friends before that. To have that relationship with your manager, it means a lot.

“Even when he wasn’t saying anything, when I was just watching him as a kid, I was learning a lot from him,” added Hernandez. “Once I grew up and I started playing winter ball and he was managing against me, every once in a while he would hit me up and give me little hints or help me out on defense, on double plays or whatever. So he’s had a huge impact on my career and I’m really proud and really happy to be playing for him.”

While he is happy and proud to play for Cora, Hernandez is also looking forward to soaking in his first official regular season game as a member of the Red Sox.

Fenway Park is a venue the 5-foot-11, 198 pounder has played inside plenty of times as a visitor, but Wednesday marked the first time he could experience the ballpark from the other side of the field.

“One of the first things I did was go into the dugout,” Hernandez recounted. “And the view from the first base dugout is a lot more special in this stadium than the view from the third base dugout. I can tell you that. It felt special. The magic of Fenway, you can actually feel it from the first base dugout.

“Like I’ve said, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to, a lot that I’m excited about, and it’s nothing that I take for granted,” he said. “There’s been times and there will be times [Thursday] where I’m going to sit back and think about everything. Just really happy to be here.”

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran, top Red Sox outfield prospect, homers in second start of spring: ‘He lifts, he sleeps, he eats, and he plays baseball’

Outfield prospect Jarren Duran started his second game of the spring in center field for the Red Sox on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old, hitting out of the two-hole, went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk before being lifted at the start of the seventh inning.

That homer, which came on a 1-0 breaking ball from Rays right-hander David Hess, was belted deep to right field — well over the Boston bullpen, for Duran’s first big fly of the spring.

Even without a minor-league season last year, Duran still got plenty of time to develop between spending time at the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket and playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Over 16 regular season games for Criollos de Caguas, a team managed by Red Sox quality control coach Ramon Vazquez, the California native slashed a modest .236/.386/.273 to go along with two doubles, six stolen bases, and 10 RBI.

Duran did turn things around in the Puerto Rican postseason by posting a 1.046 OPS en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the league’s championship series.

The fact that Caguas won its respective league allowed the club to represent Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series, which led to Duran becoming a Caribbean League All-Star after going 10-for-25 (.400) at the plate with one double, one triple, one home run, and three RBI over seven games played.

While continuing to develop at the alternate site and in winter ball these past few months, it’s clear that Duran has grown stronger, as evidenced by his uptick in power as well as physique.

“He’s strong,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday. “That’s the Puerto Rican diet: rice and beans and chicken the whole offseason. And two brunches with the manager. I took care of that.

“Like I said earlier, he lifts, he sleeps, he eats, and he plays baseball,” continued Cora. “That’s what he does. And he enjoys it.”

It wasn’t too long ago when it seemed like Duran — who Boston took in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State — was going to be someone who relied on his speed more than anything. He did after all steal 46 bases between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in 2019.

Taking his speed into account, Cora told Duran that as a left-handed hitter, he should consider dropping down a couple of bunts because of where the Rays were positioning their third baseman.

“It’s funny, because we were talking about certain situations,” the Sox skipper said. “With the third baseman back early in the count, with his speed, it would be good for him to drop a few bunts down just to get on base. And then he hits a home run.”

Cora’s first exposure to Duran as Red Sox manager came during spring training in 2019. The speedy outfielder appeared in seven games back then, but it’s safe to say he has grown a lot in the last two years.

“He’s a lot stronger than what he was two years ago,” stated Cora. “He’s in-tune with the game, and he’s going to keep developing and he’s going to be a good one.”

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Duran has one of the best speed tools among Red Sox minor-leaguers, according to FanGraphs.

The second baseman-turned-outfielder is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

If all goes according to plan, Duran — who last played at Double-A Portland in 2019 — could make his major-league debut at some point this summer, if not sooner.

For now, he will have the chance to continue to dazzle the masses in Grapefruit League play in southwest Florida.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Christian Vázquez, 15 pounds lighter than he was last year, aspiring to win first Gold Glove in 2021

Earlier this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora poked fun at a typical spring training cliché you hear every year in that a certain player showed up to camp in the best shape of his life. The player Cora was talking about in this case was Christian Vazquez.

“Christian put work in in the offseason,” Cora said Monday. “I know [WEEI’s Rob Bradford] always makes fun of me when I say ‘He’s in the best shape of his life,’ because everybody is. Well, you’ll see him. You’ll see the pictures. He is in the best shape of his life.”

While Vazquez has been at camp for the past week-plus, he talked to reporters for the first time this spring on Friday and went into more detail about what exactly he accomplished over the winter.

“I went out and improved everything,” the veteran backstop said via a Zoom call. “I improved my hitting, my body. [I wanted to] get in the best shape, the best I can do with my body. I want to catch all the games I can and help the team.

Vazquez, 30, is coming off a 2020 season in which he slashed a solid .283/.344/.457 to go along with seven home runs and 23 RBI over 47 games played, 42 of which came behind the plate.

As he alluded to, the Puerto Rico native is coming into spring training in better shape thanks in part to dropping a significant amount of weight during the offseason, which he feels will aid him throughout the upcoming 2021 campaign.

“I’ve lost like 15 pounds,” Vazquez said while giving credit to one of the Red Sox’ nutritionists for helping with his diet. “I’m lighter, I feel better, moving better behind the plate. I feel 10 years younger, so it feels good. It feels good.”

Given the fact that he feels as good as he has in quite a while, Vazquez would like to start as many games at catcher for the Sox as possible in 2021. And while playing a full 162 may be out of the question, the right-handed hitter would still prefer to contribute as much as possible.

“Like I said before, I don’t help the team on the bench,” said Vazquez. “That’s the pride I take everyday. Go to the ballpark and be in the lineup. I want to be there. I like to be on the field. Like, I need to be dead to be on the bench, brother. I like to be in the lineup everyday. They pay me for that, so why not? Take charge everyday behind the plate, help my pitchers, block all the balls. It’s the pride inside me.”

Taking that pride into consideration, one milestone Vazquez would like to reach as a catcher from Puerto Rico is to win a Gold Glove Award, which seemed like a given at the time of his call-up in 2014 due to his reputation as a defense-first backstop back then.

“I know for a fact that he takes it personal because Martin [Maldonado] has a Gold Glove. Roberto [Pérez] has two,” Cora said of Vazquez’s aspirations earlier Friday. “Obviously Yadi [Molina], he’s the king of the Gold Gloves on the island. So, it’s a position that since 1986 when Benito [Santiago] got called up with the Padres, we’ve been so consistent behind the plate. We’ve had so many good ones. And he wants to be in the conversation.”

Over the last two seasons, Vazquez ranks second in Catcher Framing (17) and third in Defensive Runs Saved (6) among qualified big-league catchers, per FanGraphs. He has also thrown out 31 of the 88 base runners (35%) who have attempted to steal off of him in that time frame.

“He’s one of the most complete catchers in the big leagues,” Cora stated confidently in regards to Vazquez’s ability at and behind the plate. “Offensively, he puts the whole package. But sometimes those awards are hard to come… He put in a good season last year. I think framing-wise he was good. Blocking-wise, throwing people out. Hopefully, people can recognize him this year and he can get one. I know he wants one.”

In order to see that potentially come to fruition this year, the Red Sox first have to take care of Vazquez so he is not overworked and can instead be the best version of himself when he takes the field.

“We want the best version of Christian Vazquez,” said Cora. “I think we got a pretty good chance to see it this year.”

(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign utilityman Kiké Hernández to two-year deal

The Red Sox have officially signed utilityman Enrique Hernandez to a two-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Dustin Pedroia officially retiring from the game of baseball on Monday opened up a spot on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, allowing Boston to sign Hernandez nearly two weeks after he agreed to a multi-year deal with the club.

Hernandez, 29, will earn approximately $14 million with this new contract ($6 million in 2021, $8 million in 2022), though the deal does include deferrals, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

The native of Puerto Rico had spent six of the first seven years of his big-league career with the Dodgers and is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games (148 PAs) for Los Angeles.

In the postseason, Hernandez proved to be a valuable piece of the Dodgers’ puzzle by posting a .755 OPS while clubbing two homers and driving in four runs en route to Los Angeles’ first World Series title in 32 years.

Capable of playing multiple defensive positions around the infield and outfield, Hernandez’s versatility, as well as his lifetime .820 OPS against left-handed pitching, should come in handy for the Sox in 2021.

Hernandez’s new manager, Alex Cora, selected the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. right-handed hitter to play for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, when he served as the team’s general manager. But, their relationship goes back much further than that.

“I know a lot of people are talking about Enrique,” Cora said on the TC & Jerry Podcast last week, before the signing was made official. “I call him Enrique because he was my batboy when I played winter ball when he was eight years old. He’s a good player, he’s a solid player… Looking from afar, he’s a guy that is versatile. I think he’s a better hitter than what people think, he has a lot of pop. But at the same time, what he brings to the equation outside the clubhouse is amazing. He’s a very humble kid from a great family. His dad actually is a cancer survivor. They’ve been amazing. A family that we really respect here in Puerto Rico.”

Hernandez will speak to reporters via Zoom at 5 p.m. eastern time Tuesday evening. He will also wear the No. 5 for the Red Sox, becoming the 38th player in team history to do so.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Red Sox re-sign infielder Jeremy Rivera to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have re-signed minor-league infielder Jeremy Rivera to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire.

Rivera, who turns 26 later this month, was originally selected by Boston in the 17th round (524th overall pick) out of El Paso Community College.

Signed by the club in early July that year, the switch-hitting Puerto Rican has since played all over the infield across five different minor-league levels, most recently spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons in Double-A Portland.

SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall wrote last May that Rivera “can really pick it at shortstop, but his bat lags behind, capping his ceiling and leading to his stalling out in Portland for the past couple seasons.”

This winter, Rivera has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League for a seventh consecutive offseason.

Through 14 games with Indios de Mayaguez, the infielder is slashing .238/.353/.310 with six RBI and seven runs scored over 52 plate appearances.

So far this offseason, the Red Sox have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett

(Top picture of Rivera: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox outfield prospect Jarren Duran heating up in Puerto Rico

This offseason, Red Sox outfield prospect Jarren Duran has been playing for Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League.

The 24-year-old got off to a slow start with his new team, accruing just three hits through his first 37 plate appearances, but has since picked things up.

Over the course of a three-game series against RA12 over the weekend, Duran went 7-for-13 (.538) at the plate with four RBI and five runs scored, raising his line on the season to a modest .250/.429/.278 through 11 games played. He also leads Caguas in stolen bases with six on the year thus far getting without getting caught.

Regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 1 outfield prospect and No. 8 overall prospect, Duran is one of the fastest players in the Sox’ system.

FanGraphs grades the California native’s speed tool at a 70 out of 80, which trails only fellow outfielder Gilberto Jimenez for the best mark among Red Sox prospects.

In addition to his speed, Duran, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 187 lbs., made some adjustment to his swing last offseason and hit the ball further at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket over the summer as a result of said adjustments.

Portland Sea Dogs hitting coach Lance Zawadzki, among others, contributed to Duran’s swing evolution.

(For more on Zawadzki, check out this story from The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey)

“Working on my swing with Lance everyday here, Lance Zawadzki, and I worked with Doug Latta a little bit,” the Long Beach State product said back in August. “Just my swing path and cleaning things up, making things much simpler than they used to be, and just having a simple approach. I kind of owe it to those guys because I come here everyday and I grind it out with Lance everyday. Every day’s a struggle to find your swing. You can go home, not play baseball for a day, and it feels like you haven’t swung in two weeks.”

Though he is not yet on Boston’s 40-man roster, Duran very well could make his major-league debut at some point in 2021 given how close he already is.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom seemed impressed with what the former seventh-round draft pick did in 2020 when speaking with reporters last month.

“He had a tremendous 2020,” Bloom said of Duran. “He made strides hitting-wise and physically, didn’t lose any of his speed. He just had a really good year. I think for all players who didn’t play at the major league level, and even for some of those who did — because we had a shorter season — it’s tougher to feel confident in exactly what you know about them. He came into the year as someone who had spent some time in Double-A, but not with particularly distinguished performance, and then you see him put the year together that he had, and we have to try to figure out what that all means.”

For now, expect Duran to begin the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Worcester, though he will likely get plenty of time to shine once spring training begins in February.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora hints at team’s interest in free-agent outfielder Eddie Rosario

The Minnesota Twins non-tendered Eddie Rosario last Wednesday. It took all of a day for the free-agent outfielder to be linked to the Red Sox.

Rosario, 29, hails from Puerto Rico and is close with Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as Rosario’s general manager for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Because he was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $9.6 million in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility in 2021, Rosario was ultimately let go by Minnesota, thus making him a free agent earlier than expected.

Having finished in the top-20 in American League MVP voting each of the last two seasons, Rosario being cut came as somewhat of a surprise. The former fourth-round draft pick had just put the finishing touches on a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .257/.316/.476 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI over 57 games and 231 plate appearances. That’s good for an OPS+ of 115 and a wRC+ of 110.

Cora was one of those in the game who were caught off guard by the Twins’ decision to let Rosario go. He said as much when speaking to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia earlier Monday afternoon.

“As a friend, I was surprised by what happened to Eddie last week,” Cora said (in Spanish). “As a baseball man, we will see what happens in the future. Eddie is a complete player, who still has room to keep improving. Everyone knows how talented he is.”

Talented as the left-handed hitting Rosario may be, his fit within the Red Sox’ roster does not exactly line up at the moment. That is the case because Boston already has two left-handed hitting outfielders — Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo — on their major-league roster.

On top of that, Rosario is best suited for a corner outfield position defensively, more so left field if he were to regularly play at Fenway Park, meaning one of Benintendi or Verdugo would have to make a move to center or be traded in order to accommodate Rosario.

So, as of now, the odds of a Rosario-Cora reunion of sorts happening seems low, especially when you consider what the Sox should be prioritizing this offseason: starting pitching and bullpen help.

That said, if the opportunity arises and there is a way Rosario would fit on this roster, it would not be surprising to see Boston explore that avenue at some point this winter.

“What we are going to do for everything we do is be smart and opportunistic,” Cora said of his team’s offseason approach. “And this market is perfect for being opportunistic.”

Why the Red Sox should not be counted out of a potential Carlos Correa trade

Late Monday night, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros have been “floating” All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa in trade talks with other clubs due to the notion that it “is unlikely they will sign him befre he reaches free agency at the end of the season.”

Rosenthal has since updated his story though, and now reports that Houston “is not engaged in any active conversations on Correa.”

Whether someone within the Astros organization reached out to Rosenthal to provide an update or he simply corrected himself has yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain: Correa, as of now, will be a free agent this time next year.

The 26-year-old is coming off a rather underwhelming 2020 campaign in which he slashed .264/.326/.383 with five home runs and 25 RBI over 58 games played.

As uninspiring as those numbers may be, Correa made up for it in October by posting a 1.221 OPS and driving in a team-leading 17 runs en route to Houston coming up one game short of a second consecutive World Series appearance.

Given how well he performed this most recent postseason, the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year could entice a great many a club looking to upgrade their infield and make a deep run into the playoffs next year.

The Red Sox, having missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year in 2020, will certainly be one of those teams attempting to bolster their roster in many areas this offseason.

On the surface, dealing for Correa does not make all that much sense for Boston given the fact that Xander Bogaerts is the club’s everyday shortstop and is one of the best in the American League at what he does. The 28-year-old can opt out of his contract after the 2022 season, though.

Even with that in mind, a potential positional logjam has not stopped Chaim Bloom from at least exploring trades for high-caliber players thus far in his brief tenure as Boston’s chief baseball officer.

Just this week, it was reported by The Chicago Tribune that the Sox and Cubs talked about a potential Kris Bryant trade over the summer. Before that, it appeared as though the Red Sox had/have at least some interest in Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who like Correa is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

That leads us to this next point: the connection Correa and Lindor share with Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

All three of Cora, Correa, Lindor hail from Puerto Rico and Cora, by all accounts, is very close with both infielders.

In Correa’s case, Cora served as his bench coach in Houston during the Astros’ march to a controversial World Series victory over the Dodgers in 2017. Cora was also Correa and Lindor’s general manager for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Cora’s relationship with players such as Correa and Lindor could provide the Red Sox with the inside track on acquiring their services, as Rosenthal noted last March.

At the end of the day, the chances of the Sox acquiring Correa or Lindor before next July’s trade deadline are likely slim to none, but as was the case before his first tenure as manager ended, Cora can prove to be a selling point for players who are contemplating getting traded to or signing with Boston for years to come.

Also, for what it’s worth, Correa is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $10.2 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility in 2021.

Despite Alex Cora connection, Red Sox not prioritizing Francisco Lindor trade this offseason

The Cleveland Indians find themselves in a similar position as last year’s Boston Red Sox. That being, they are open to trading an extremely talented player who his entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility.

That soon-to-be free agent would be none other than superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, who turns 27 on Saturday and is in the running to be the most sought after free agent next winter.

Does the Indians’ situation sound familiar yet? It should. The Red Sox, faced with the dilemma last offseason of either trading Mookie Betts, who like Lindor was on the verge of free agency, or risk losing their homegrown star for nothing if they held on to him going into the following season.

Boston, much to the disdain of its fanbase and the general public, wound up dealing Betts and his one year of team control as well as left-hander David Price to the Dodgers in February in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo and prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.

Now, roughly nine months after that blockbuster went down, the cash-strapped Indians could very well trade away their franchise cornerstone this winter so they don’t lose him for nothing outside of a compensatory draft pick in 2021.

With that being said, a number of suitors have likely begun contacting Cleveland about trading for Lindor. The Red Sox, having just re-hired Alex Cora, who like Lindor hails from Puerto Rico and served as Team Puerto Rico’s general manager during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, were, at least on the outside, seen as a club who could be interested in acquiring the shortstop’s services.

However, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Sox will not prioritize a trade for Lindor this winter despite the Cora connection and will instead focus on pitching.

Lindor, a four-time All-Star, is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .258/.335/.415 to go along with eight home runs and 27 RBI over 60 games played.

From 2016 through 2019, the former first-round draft pick was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger Award, and finished in the top-15 in American League MVP voting all four years, again proving he is one of, if not the best shortstop in baseball.

As currently constructed, the Red Sox have a quality shortstop themselves in the form of Xander Bogaerts, but there is a caveat in the 28-year-old’s contract and that is he can opt out and become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

That might not mean much at the moment since Lindor is only under team control for one more year, but as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal notes, “the team that gets [Lindor] would gain the inside track on signing him, the way the Dodgers did with Betts.”

Lindor has the edge over Bogaerts in that he is both younger and a better defender, but the latter has proven to be the better offensive player. That much is made evident when comparing Bogaerts’ 136 wRC+ to Lindor’s 119 wRC+ since 2018.

Even with a slight difference in their skillsets, Bogaerts has emerged as the Red Sox’ clubhouse leader in the wake of the Betts trade, and bringing in someone of Lindor’s caliber, who plays the same position, could send the wrong message.

Of course, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom could always opt to purse Lindor in free agency next winter if he does indeed hit the open market.

If another team, whether it be the Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays, Dodgers, or Giants, does acquire Lindor, though, one would have to assume that club would prefer to lock up their new star to a long-term extension right away.

As previously mentioned, the Dodgers did that with Betts in July, and the Cardinals did it upon acquiring Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks in December 2018.

For now, Bloom and Co. seem more interested in acquiring pitching help as opposed to offensive help, which is understandable when you consider how dismal Red Sox pitching was in 2020 (5.58 ERA, second-worst in the American League).