Red Sox among several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, per report

The Red Sox are one of several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes.

Per Dierkes, the Sox join the Angels, Cubs, Giants, and Mets as clubs who have expressed interest in Stroman. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi adds that the Mariners are viewed as a potential suitor as well.

Stroman, 30, is one of the top arms remaining on an open market that has seen several intriguing starters — such as Justin Verlander, Anthony DeSclafani, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Matz — come off the board in recent weeks.

After getting traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets in July 2019 and opting out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stroman enjoyed a great deal of success in his first full campaign in his home state of New York in 2021.

In 33 starts for the Mets, the Duke University product posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.49 FIP to go along with 158 strikeouts to 44 walks over 179 innings of work.

Among qualified starters this year, Stroman ranked ninth in ERA, 17th in FIP, 13th in xFIP (3.57), and 23rd in fWAR (3.4), per FanGraphs. His pitch arsenal consists of a sinker, slider, splitter, cutter, four-seam fastball and curveball and he is known for his ability to induce ground balls.

At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Stroman was extended a one-year qualifying offer by the Mets and he accepted it, thus prolonging his free agency to this offseason.

Since he was already extended a qualifying offer once, Stroman does not have any sort of draft pick compensation attached to him this winter, meaning any interested club could sign the righty without having to forfeit a draft selection.

Combine this with the kind of year he is coming off of, and it’s easy to see why someone such as Stroman is an appealing target to teams in need of starting pitching like the Red Sox are.

After watching Rodriguez leave to sign a five-year deal with the Tigers and Matz choose to sign a four-year pact with the Cardinals within the last two weeks, Boston remains locked in on upgrading its starting rotation going into 2022.

“We don’t have anything teed up that I would say is close but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Monday. “We’ve touched base with a wide variety of players. Just about everybody who is on the market and it’s gotten more serious and more involved with some of them.

“I don’t know right now if that’s going to lead to anything or when,” he added. “I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching. I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. But who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

Stroman, who turns 31 next May, would likely not come cheap. MLB Trade Rumors projects that the 5-foot-7, 180 pound hurler will land a five-year, $110 million contract in free agency.

Also of note here is that Stroman does have some history with Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Going back to the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cora — Team Puerto Rico’s general manager — attempted to recruit Stroman (whose mother is of Puerto Rican descent) to join his team. Stroman instead chose to play for Team USA and was later named the tournament’s most valuable player.

(Picture of Marcus Stroman: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

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)

What Red Sox gain from Eduardo Rodriguez reportedly reaching agreement with Tigers

The Red Sox may have lost Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency to the Tigers on Monday, but chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will at least be compensated for it.

Last week, the Sox extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer to Rodriguez, but the 28-year-old rejected it at some point during the GM meetings and remained a free agent by doing so.

Because they extended Rodriguez a qualifying offer, though, Boston ensured that if the left-hander were to sign elsewhere in free agency, they would receive a compensatory draft pick in return.

As it turns out, Rodriguez — a client of Mato Sports Management — has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers that includes an opt out after the second year, a no-trade clause of some sort, and up to $3 million in performance incentives.

Since Detroit is in line to sign a qualified free agent in Rodriguez, they will forfeit a pick. Boston, on the other hand, picks up an additional selection in next summer’s amateur draft.

According to MLB Trade Rumors‘ Anthony Franco, the Sox will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B — or somewhere in the 70-75 range — since they “neither received revenue sharing nor exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2021.”

Over the summer, the Red Sox failed to sign University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, who they selected with the 40th overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. As a result of failing to sign Fabian, the club will receive the No. 41 pick in the 2022 draft.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this compensatory pick is protected, which means a team that signs a qualified free agent would not be required to give it up.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox did not receive revenue sharing money or spend past the luxury tax threshold of $210 million this past season. In addition to getting a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B next year, this also means that Boston would have to forfeit its second-highest draft pick if they were to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer from another club.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, though, the draft pick that the Red Sox gained as a result of failing to sign Fabian is protected, so they would instead part ways with their third-highest — or another second-round pick if they were to sign a qualified free agent such as Justin Verlander or Carlos Correa.

Put another way, “the Sox will have both a first-round pick and, thanks to Fabian, an early second-round (No. 41 overall) pick in their draft” next year, per Speier.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez rejects Red Sox’ $18.4 million qualifying offer, per report

Eduardo Rodriguez rejected the qualifying offer the Red Sox extended to him last weekend, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, Rodriguez rejected Boston’s one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer during last week’s GM meetings and is now engaged with teams in multi-year contract talks.

The Red Sox initially extended the qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction this past Sunday, giving the left-hander 10 days — or until November 17 at 5 p.m. eastern time — to either accept it and remain with the club for an additional season or reject it and remain a free agent.

Since he has now declined Boston’s offer, Rodriguez is free to sign with another organization if he so chooses. If he were to sign elsewhere, Rodriguez’s new team would then owe the Red Sox compensation in the form of a draft pick.

Originally acquired from the Orioles in exchange for fellow lefty Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline, Rodriguez has experienced plenty of ups and downs in his time with the Red Sox dating back to his major-league debut in May 2015.

Just two years removed from finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019, Rodriguez missed the entirety of the compressed 2020 campaign after contracting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) following a bout with COVID-19.

This past season, the now-28-year-old posted posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 32 appearances (31 starts) spanning 157 2/3 total innings of work.

On the surface, Rodriguez’s numbers — particularly his ERA — may not look all that flattering. However, among the 18 left-handers who accrued at least 150 innings this season, the Venezuelan southpaw ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

At last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran expressed an interest in keeping Rodriguez in Boston for 2022 and beyond.

To that end, Heyman recently reported that Rodriguez received a multi-year contract offer from the Sox in addition to the $18.4 million qualifying offer.

MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Rodriguez will net himself a a five-year, $70 million contract this winter, while FanGraphs‘ Ben Clemens projected that the  the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler could get a four-year, $80 million pact if the opportunity presents itself.

In addition to the Red Sox, other clubs such as the Angels, Blue Jays, and Tigers have expressed interest in Rodriguez, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

A client of ISE Baseball, Rodriguez does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window is fairly wide open as he truly prepares to immerse himself in free agency for the first time in his big-league career.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Where do things stand between Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez as qualifying offer decision looms?

The Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez on November 7, giving the left-hander 10 days to either accept or reject the one-year, $18.4 million deal for 2022.

A full week has passed since Rodriguez received Boston’s qualifying offer, which means he has just three more days, or until Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. eastern time, to make his decision.

If accepted, Rodriguez would return to the Sox on that aforementioned one-year deal for the 2022 campaign. If rejected, the ISE Baseball client would remain a free agent, though any other club that signs him would then owe Boston compensation in the form of a draft pick.

In the time that has gone by since the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction, the Venezuelan southpaw has also received a multi-year contract offer from Boston, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Rodriguez, 28, is just two years removed from finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019, but missed all of the compressed 2020 season after contracting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19.

This past season, the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 32 appearances (31 starts) spanning 157 2/3 total innings of work.

On the surface, Rodriguez’s 4.74 ERA may seem deterring. However, among the 18 left-handers who accrued at least 150 innings this season, he ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

Because of those improved peripherals, Rodriguez is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency this winter. FanGraphs‘ Ben Clemens also projects he could land a four-year, $80 million pact if the opportunity presents itself.

To that end, Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) during last week’s GM meetings that the club was engaged in contract talks with Rodriguez and that they “would love to bring him back.”

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom added on to that, indicating that the Sox were indeed interested in bringing Rodriguez back on some sort of multi-year deal.

“I think when there’s mutual interest in some kind of longer-term deal, it makes sense to talk as much as you can and to keep that line of communication open,” Bloom said. “So I expect that will happen.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old pitching prospect, from the Orioles in exchange for fellow lefty Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline. As an impending free agent, Miller remained in Baltimore for just a few months before signing a lucrative four-year deal with the Yankees that winter.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, has for the most part established himself as a key cog in Boston’s starting rotation since making his major-league debut in May 2015. As O’Halloran alluded to, he is clearly someone the Red Sox would like to bring back for 2022 and beyond.

That being said, Rodriguez does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window would still be pretty wide open even if he were to accept the Sox’ qualifying offer and set himself up to hit the open market again at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

If he elects to become a free agent now by rejecting the qualifying offer, it does appear as though Rodriguez already has a number of suitors. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported on Sunday that the Angels, Blue Jays, and Tigers were among the teams interested in Rodriguez’s services.

Interest from the Red Sox and other clubs aside, Rodriguez is technically still on the clock as those involved anxiously await the result of his decision, which is due no later than Wednesday evening.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox among teams on hand to watch Justin Verlander’s showcase in Florida

The Red Sox were one of several teams on hand to watch Justin Verlander pitch at a showcase on Monday, reports Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal (Twitter link).

Per McAdam, the Sox were one of 15-20 big-league clubs in attendance to observe Verlander’s workout at Cressey Sports Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Verlander threw 25 pitches while hovering around the mid-90s and topping out at 97 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball. McAdam adds that he apparently “looked impressive.”

Verlander, who turns 39 in February, became a free-agent last week after spending the last 4 1/2 seasons with the Astros. The veteran right-hander has not appeared in a game since July 24, 2020, however, as he suffered a forearm strain that ultimately required Tommy John surgery last September.

In his most-recent full season of work, 2019, Verlander posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.27 FIP to go along with a career-best 300 strikeouts and 42 walks over 34 starts spanning 223 innings of work en route to winning his second American League Cy Young Award.

Despite the fact that he has not pitched on a major-league mound in well over a year, Verlander still received a qualifying offer from Houston. This means that if the 38-year-old were to reject it and a remain a free agent, any other team that signs him would then owe the Astros compensation in the form of a draft pick.

In the Red Sox’ case, that would require them to forfeit their second-highest available selection in next year’s draft while also having their international signing bonus pool for next year’s international signing period reduced by $500,000

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) on Sunday, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated that the team was now in a better spot to pursue qualified free agents, such as Verlander, than they were a year ago.

“I think we’re in better position than we were a year ago,” Bloom said. “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 those guys (last year’s qualified free agents), it wouldn’t line up. I don’t know how this offseason 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.”

A client of ISE Baseball, Verlander does have some Red Sox connections, as manager Alex Cora served as Houston’s bench coach during their controversial World Series run in 2017.

Verlander, like Eduardo Rodriguez, has until November 17 to decide if he will either accept the Astros’ $18.4 million qualifying offer and remain in Houston for the 2022 campaign, or reject it and test the open market instead.

(Picture of Justin Verlander: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox extend qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez, per report

The Red Sox have extended a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Rodriguez, 28, filed for free agency on Wednesday, while the Red Sox had until 5 p.m. eastern time on Sunday to extend a qualifying offer towards the left-hander.

This offseason, the qualifying offer — the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball — is valued at $18.4 million, which represents a raise from the $8.3 million Rodriguez earned in 2021.

After finishing sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2019 and missing all of 2020 due to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) which came as a result of a bout with COVID-19, Rodriguez experienced plenty of ups and downs throughout the 2021 campaign.

Across 32 appearances (31 starts), Rodriguez posted a 4.74 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 185:47 over 157 1/3 innings of work. While that ERA may not look great on the surface, the Venezuelan southpaw did put up a much more respectable 3.32 FIP, 3.43 xFIP, 3.55 xERA, and 3.64 SIERA this year.

The decision made by the Red Sox to extend Rodriguez a qualifying offer does not come as much of a surprise. By doing so, Boston gives the lefty the opportunity to either return to the club on a one-year, $18.4 million deal or test the free agent waters.

Rodriguez now has 10 days, or until November 17 at the latest, to accept or reject the Sox’ qualifying offer. If accepted, he will return to Boston for the 2022 season with the chance to become a free agent again next winter and would not be able to receive a qualifying offer for a second time. If rejected, he becomes a free agent and can sign with another club immediately.

If Rodriguez, a client of ISE Baseball, were to reject Boston’s offer and sign with another team this winter, that team would then owe the Red Sox compensation in the form of a draft pick.

What Rodriguez decides to do should be interesting to say the very least. Since he does not turn 29 until next April, his earning window would still be pretty wide open even if he were to accept the qualifying offer for this season.

There have been recent instances where a player (see Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman) has accepted the qualifying offer and then put themselves in a position to cash out in free agency the following winter.

That being said, coming into this offseason, only 10 of 96 players to be extended a qualifying offer have accepted it since the system was first introduced in 2012.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Will the Red Sox extend a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez?

Will the Red Sox extend a qualifying offer towards Eduardo Rodriguez? They have until Sunday at 5 p.m. eastern time to do so.

Rodriguez is one of 160-plus major-leaguers who have filed for free agency since the World Series ended on Tuesday. The 28-year-old left-hander is a few weeks removed from an up-and-down 2021 season.

After finishing sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2019 and missing all of the shortened 2020 season due to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19, Rodriguez opened the 2021 campaign on the injured list. He then made his season debut on April 8.

In 32 appearances (31 starts), Rodriguez posted a 4.74 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 185:47 over 157 2/3 innings of work. The Red Sox went 20-12 in games he appeared in.

On the surface, the numbers Rodriguez put up this season may not look all that encouraging. Digging deeper, however, the Venezuelan southpaw did produce a much more encouraging 3.32 FIP, 3.43 xFIP, 3.55 xERA, and 3.64 SIERA.

Amongst the 18 major-league lefties who accrued at least 150 innings this year, Rodriguez ranked second in strikeouts per nine innings (10.6), 11th in walks per nine innings (2.7), second in strikeout rate (32.1%), 11th in walk rate (7%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

All told, it was a relatively encouraging season going into a walk year for Rodriguez, who earned $8.3 million and has now put himself in a position to earn even more.

That being the case because this off-season, the value of the qualifying offer — which is the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball — comes out to $18.4 million.

If extended a qualifying offer between now and Sunday’s deadline, Rodriguez will have up to 10 days, or until November 17 at the latest, to either accept or reject it.

Rodriguez accepting the qualifying offer would result in him returning to the Red Sox on a one-year, $18.4 million deal for the 2022 season with the chance to test the free agency waters again next winter. Boston would then be prohibited from extending him a qualifying offer for a second time.

If Rodriguez were to decline Boston’s qualifying offer and instead sign with another club as a free agent, the Red Sox would then receive compensation in the form of a draft pick from his new club.

For Rodriguez, a client of ISE Baseball, these are certainly interesting times. The 6-foot-2, 231 pound lefty could hit the open market this winter if he so chooses. But he does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window would still be pretty wide open even if he were to remain with the Red Sox for an additional season.

Last year at this time, a pair of National League pitchers in the Mets’ Marcus Stroman (who opted out of the 2020 season) and the Giants’ Kevin Gausman both accepted qualifying offers from their respective clubs. That decision paid off for both, as the pair of righties are now set to cash in as free agents.

With that being said, though, it is no sure thing that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will even extend a qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction by the deadline to do so on Sunday. There seems to be plenty of speculation that the club is leaning in that direction, but that remains to be seen until it actually does or does not happen.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

MLB free agency: Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr. have talked about outfielder returning to Boston, per report

The Red Sox have reportedly approached Jackie Bradley Jr. about bringing the free-agent outfielder back for the 2021 season “and beyond,” according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Per Bradford, the Red Sox “are far from the only suitors for Bradley Jr., with the Astros showing strong interest and one American League Central team putting the 30-year-old at the top of its free agent wish-list.”

Bradley Jr., who does not turn 31 until next April, is coming off one of his better all-around seasons in the majors in 2020. Primarily serving as Boston’s centerfielder, the former first-round draft pick slashed a robust .283/.364/.450 to go along with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 55 games played.

Those impressive numbers, as well as still proving to be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, will certainly help Bradley Jr.’s case as he embarks on free agency for the first time in his career.

Based off industry speculation, which can best be highlighted by MLB Trade Rumors’ free agency predictions, the Boras Corp. client is projected to land a two-year deal worth somewhere around $16 million this winter after not receiving a qualifying offer from Boston earlier this month.

MLBTR, in correspondence with the aforementioned report from Bradford, have Bradley Jr. joining the Astros on that two-year pact, but it would appear that the Red Sox can not be ruled out as favorites to retain the South Carolina product’s services.

“We love Jackie,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters back in August. “That shouldn’t be news. He’s been here for a long time. He means an enormous amount to this organization. For me personally, not having known him as long, I’ve still come to regard him so highly and see what an incredible person he is. We know he’s a good player. We’d love to have him for a long time. But that was the case months ago. It’s the case yesterday. It’s the case today. It’s the case tomorrow.”

Besides Bradley Jr., this year’s free agency class is not exactly filled to the brim with starting-caliber centerfielders save for three-time All-Star George Springer, who has a qualifying offer attached to him. The likes of Jarrod Dyson, Brett Gardner, Jake Marisnick, and Kevin Pillar represent some of the other possibilities on that front.

Internally, the Sox could move either one of Andrew Benintendi or Alex Verdugo to center, both of whom have logged a combined 147 games at the position at the major-league level. Neither would likely provide the level of defensive prowess Bradley Jr. would, though, and another vacancy at either corner outfield spot would open up as a result.

Looking at the prospect pipeline, outfielder Jarren Duran, Boston’s No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is without a doubt one of the Sox’ most exciting young talents.

The 24-year-old had a terrific spring and consistently put on a show at the alternate training site in Pawtucket over the summer, but he still may be at the point where he needs just a little more time to develop before getting the call.

Marcus Wilson, who is currently on Boston’s 40-man roster, and Jeisson Rosario, who will presumably be on Boston’s 40-man roster within the next 12 days, are also intriguing options, but like Duran, neither have played above the Double-A level yet.

At the end of the day, who Bloom and Co. decide to roll with at center field moving forward will be no simple decision. Perhaps the Sox will take advantage of what looks to be a slow-moving market this winter, but if a savvy team like the Astros are that interested in acquiring Bradley Jr.’s services, they will surely be aggressive in doing so.

On another note, it should be fascinating to see how Bradley Jr., who described free agency as “cool” because “you get to weigh out your options,” goes about fielding offers this winter. Will he allow the Red Sox to counter any offer he may get? Or, will he just take the best deal possible due to the current economic climate? We will have to wait and see on that.

Craig Kimbrel Rejects $17.9 Million Qualifying Offer from #RedSox.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski announced on Monday that Craig Kimbrel has officially rejected his qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

This news may not come as a surprise to some, but it does leave the World Series champions without a closer, for now.

If Kimbrel does choose to sign elsewhere this winter, such as with the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies, that particular club will owe Boston a compensatory pick in next year’s draft, which is set to land somewhere after the fourth round.

The Red Sox extended the QO with a value of $17.9 million to Kimbrel on November 2nd, giving the seven-time All-Star 10 days to either accept or reject.

With this rejection, Kimbrel will more than likely become one of the highest paid relievers in all of baseball, joining the likes of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and Yankees ninth-inning man Aroldis Chapman, whose current deals have a combined worth of $166 million over 10 total years, per Spotrac.

Over the course of the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. this past week, Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, pitched his client as, “the best closer of all-time,” so you can expect the Alabama native to seek out a hefty pay-day in the coming weeks.

Given the very real possibility the Red Sox decide to not commit that much to their closer for the past three seasons, we could be looking at Matt Barnes, or even Ryan Brasier as ninth inning options in 2019.

Dombrowski made clear on Nov. 1st that if Kimbrel were to leave, “We do think that we do have a situation where internally we have a couple of candidates to do that – Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the top candidates.”

That remains to be seen, as there is still a slight possibility that the Red Sox retain the services of Kimbrel to remain their closer. But, given the way relief pitching appears to be trending, it would not be surprising if Dombrowski and/or Alex Cora would prefer a closer who could come on and pitch multiple innings in order to lock up wins.

In his three-year tenure with Boston, the 30-year-old Kimbrel seemed to struggle with this task regularly, as well as securing saves in tight, late-game situations at times.

If this is it for Kimbrel in a Red Sox uniform, it was certainly a memorable run. Three seasons, three All-Star team selections, an elite 2017, and a World Series championship in 2018.