The Red Sox have money to spend, approximately $91.6 million in average annual value before going over the first threshold of Major League Baseball’s luxury tax, according to Globe colleague Alex Speier.
Alex’s calculations assume Xander Bogaerts will opt out of his deal.
Even if the Red Sox do the right thing and retain Bogaerts, they still would have approximately $60-$65 million to spend on free agents or players under contract acquired via trade.
For now, let’s put the trade part of the equation on hold and focus on free agents who could fit the Red Sox.
Designated hitters are not included. It would be uncharacteristic for Chaim Bloom to invest significant dollars in a DH given his preference for defensive versatility. Alex Cora also has talked at length about wanting a more athletic team. A DH-only player doesn’t fit that mold.
LHP Tyler Anderson: He was just a guy for six seasons before the Dodgers remade him into an All-Star. As he enters his age-33 season, Anderson has a chance to cash in.
RHP Chris Bassitt: Without a lot of fanfare, he’s been one of the best and most reliable starters in the game for two seasons. After making $19 million with the Mets, Bassitt will command at least $22 million a season.
RHP Jacob deGrom: He’s outstanding, no question about it, but deGrom has missed approximately 40 starts the last two seasons with elbow and shoulder issues. With fragile Chris Sale already on the payroll for $29 million, can the Sox take a chance on spending even more on deGrom? That seems highly unlikely.
RHP Nate Eovaldi: He’s a perfect candidate for a qualifying offer. Would the Sox go beyond that to retain a pitcher with career-long injury concerns? Eovaldi enjoyed his time in Boston, but he has played for five teams in his career. He’ll go to the team that offers him the best deal.
LHP Rich Hill: It would seem like an easy call for the Sox to sign Hill to an incentive-laden contract as their No. 5 starter/swingman.
LHP Clayton Kershaw: This is not worth spending much time on. Kershaw will remain with the Dodgers or live at home in Texas and play for the Rangers. He’s not coming to Boston.
RHP Corey Kluber: Coming up on his age-37 season, Kluber has a 4.17 ERA over 47 starts the last two seasons. He took $7 million from the Rays this season. Kluber has a home in the Boston area and could be a low-cost rotation option.
LHP Sean Manaea: His ERA climbed to 4.96 this season, but Manaea has been healthy two years in a row and could be a solid mid-rotation choice.
LHP Carlos Rodón: After a breakout 2021 season with the White Sox, injury concerns led to Rodón taking a one-year deal with the Giants. Now he’ll go back into the market after posting a 2.88 ERA over 31 starts. If the Sox make a big splash, this could be the direction they go.
RHP Noah Syndergaard: He has made only 26 starts since having Tommy John surgery in 2020, so the coming season could be when he returns in full force. But his fastball was hit hard this season.
RHP Jameson Taillon: At $5.8 million, he was a solid value for the Yankees this season with 32 starts and a 3.91 ERA. A good No. 4 option.
RHP Justin Verlander: The belief is Verlander will opt out of his deal in Houston after a Cy Young-level season. Verlander turns 40 in February and will want to play for a contender. He’ll also command a big salary.
RHP Michael Wacha: He performed well in Boston this season and that should count for something. Wacha also wants to return after bouncing around the last few years.
Carlos Correa: It seems unlikely the Sox would turn away from Bogaerts and spend more to sign Correa.
Dansby Swanson: He has so far turned down long-term security from the Braves, who have locked up their other stars. He’s very good but not in the same class as Bogaerts.
Trea Turner: His numbers dipped this season, but Turner remains a dynamic talent. He wants to return to the East Coast, too.
Andrew Benintendi: The Sox traded him for a box of rocks in 2020. Hard to imagine they’ll want him back. They also need power in the outfield and Benintendi doesn’t bring that.
Mitch Haniger: He hit 39 home runs in 2021 before injuries limited him to 57 games this season. Might be worth taking a chance on.
Aaron Judge: It’s fun to think of the Red Sox trolling the Yankees by signing Judge. But the Yankees can’t let that happen. Their business model relies on star players.
Brandon Nimmo: A player who continues to improve and was a presence hitting leadoff for a Mets team that won 101 games. The Sox could use him at the top of their order.
Joc Pederson: Now a journeyman, albeit one who had a strong year for the Giants (.274/.353/.521). Poor defense is an issue.
Willson Contreras: Bloom has said he wants to improve the catching. Contreras is the best on the market but is more of a hitter than a receiver.
Omar Narváez: An All-Star in 2021, he posted a .597 OPS this season. But catchers are hard to come by.
Christian Vázquez: Never say never, but the Sox clearly didn’t see him as part of the future when they traded him to the Astros in August. Vázquez won’t lack for opportunities.
RHP Edwin Díaz: Cora loves him, and rightfully so. Sign Diaz, push Tanner Houck into the eighth inning, and John Schreiber into the seventh, and suddenly the bullpen looks pretty good. The Mets will make it hard to pry him away.
UTIL Matt Carpenter: Here’s a player who could DH 75 times and get starts at first, third, left, and right. Carpenter brings some needed pop, too.
1B-DH Trey Mancini: He has a .964 OPS in 39 games at Fenway Park. A DH who can play first and left field.
Red Sox have burner in Hamilton
The Red Sox stole 52 bases this season, the fifth fewest in the majors. Trevor Story led the team with 13.
MLB’s new rules in 2023 will encourage more steals. The bases will be slightly larger and pitchers will be allowed to disengage the rubber only twice per plate appearance without being charged with a balk, unless they pick off the runner.
Given how teams value outs, don’t expect a track meet. Unless there is a 75 percent chance of success, steals are generally considered too risky. But the new rules will certainly encourage more running.
Which brings us to David Hamilton.
The 25-year-old infielder, who was part of the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers last winter, has stolen 122 bases in 139 attempts in two minor league seasons. He had 70 for Double A Portland this season.
Jarren Duran has 43 steals in 51 attempts over 219 games during the same period. Being fast and being a good base stealer are too different things. Hamilton is both.
He had a .338 on-base with the Sea Dogs this season and showed improvement against lefthanded pitchers.
“He changed games with his speed,” said a scout who watched Portland this season. “You don’t know how that translates to higher levels yet, but I think he’ll get a chance in time.”
A few other observations on the Red Sox:
▪ Saturday was Seattle’s first home playoff game since Game 2 of the 2001 ALCS. In the interim, the Red Sox played 49 postseason home games.
▪ Brusdar Graterol is 6-6 with a 3.64 ERA and four saves over 106⅓ innings for the Dodgers since they acquired him from the Twins in 2020.
The hard-throwing 24-year-old righthander was initially going to the Red Sox as part of a three-way deal that would have sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. But the Sox had concerns about Graterol’s arm and took Jeter Downs and Connor Wong instead.
Graterol has been worth 0.9 bWAR to the Dodgers. Downs and Wong have given the Sox minus-0.4.
▪ The Worcester Red Sox used 75 players this season, a Red Sox Triple A record. That included 44 pitchers. The old record of 70 was held by the 1995 and 2006 Pawtucket Red Sox.
Infielder Ryan Fitzgerald played in 127 games, with eight players appearing once.
The WooSox drew 532,152 fans, fifth in the International League and in minor league baseball overall. Worcester was only 2,458 fans behind third-place Indianapolis. Nashville was first with 555,576.
The WooSox averaged 7,290 for 73 games at Polar Park. The Oakland Athletics averaged 9,849 for 80 home dates.
Kimbrel closed out by the Dodgers
Craig Kimbrel, who led the Dodgers with 22 saves, was left off the roster for the Division Series.
Kimbrel had a 3.75 ERA and averaged 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings this season. He converted 22 of 27 save chances. But while he dominated righthanded hitters (.576 OPS in 133 plate appearances), lefthanded hitters gave Kimbrel trouble (.778 OPS over 127 plate appearances).
The Dodgers preferred relievers who didn’t need a particular lane to be effective.
“It was a tough conversation. It’s a person, a player, I have so much respect for,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It hasn’t been a consistent year for him … We just have other guys that we felt had been more consistent.
“But we wouldn’t be here without him. I can’t say enough about the character of Craig Kimbrel because, as a potential Hall of Famer, that’s not an easy conversation. He was very disappointed, as he should [be].”
Kimbrel, 34, will be a free agent after the season. He has a 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings the last four seasons. But prior to that it was a 1.91 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 14.7 K/9.
His four-seam fastball, which averaged 98.3 miles per hour in 2017, was down to 95.8 this season.
Philadelphia’s Rob Thomson is the first manager in history to inherit a team at least seven games under .500 during a season and then win a postseason series … It seemed surprising Yu Darvish had not used the PitchCom system until his playoff start against the Dodgers. You’d think the Padres would have had him at least practice with it a few times. “I mentioned about it after the previous game that I wanted to go ahead and use it,” Darvish said. “In those type of situations you want to go along with a good pace, and that was kind of the idea behind it” … At 21, Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez was the youngest player with a double and a triple in a postseason game since 24-year-old Lou Gehrig in 1927 … Harrison Bader is the first player in Yankees history whose first home run for the team came in the postseason. Bader is from Bronxville, N.Y., the same hometown as Roger Goodell … Cody Bellinger was no worse than the second- or third-best player in the game in 2019. He has a .648 OPS since and the Dodgers pinch hit for him in Game 2 of the Division Series with Austin Barnes, a .212 hitter in the regular season and a .192 hitter in 104 previous postseason at-bats. Bellinger is projected to make $18.1 million in arbitration and is a non-tender candidate at that cost … Reading recommendation: “The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series” by Tyler Kepner. This is a perfect companion to the postseason. In an engaging way, Kepner revisits key moments and people in the history of the Fall Classic. It’s one of the best baseball books of the year … Lefthander Alex Vesia played for Division 2 Cal State East Bay and was a 17th-round pick of the Marlins in 2018. He made his major league debut with Miami in 2020 and pitched poorly in five games. But the Dodgers liked the movement of his slider and picked up Vesia in a low-profile trade before the 2021 season. He has a 2.19 ERA in 104 games since, with 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, and is a key member of their postseason bullpen. “Chip is on my shoulder all the time. I feel like I carry that in my heart pretty much every day,” Vesia said. “My college coach had told me, he said, ‘You’re not going to make your money in the draft. You’re going to make it in the big leagues’ ” … Eleven of the 26 players on Tampa Bay’s postseason roster were not on their Opening Day roster … The Mets drew 39,241 for Game 3 of their wild-card series. It was not a sellout and 15 regular-season games drew more … Mets manager Buck Showalter has won 1,652 regular-season games, 19th all time. But he is 10-16 in the postseason and has yet to win an LCS game … When the Padres hosted the Dodgers on Friday night, it was their first home playoff game since Oct. 5, 2006 … Relievers gone wild: Aroldis Chapman skipped a mandatory workout the Yankees held and was left off the roster for the Division Series, which likely would have been the case anyway. Astros righthander Phil Maton punched his locker after pitching poorly in Game 162, broke a finger, and was lost for the postseason. Phillies righthander David Robertson strained his right calf jumping for joy when Bryce Harper homered in Game 2 of the wild-card series and was left off the roster for the Division Series … This is awkward. Now that he is retired, Albert Pujols has a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract with the Angels set to begin in 2023. Pujols played 10 largely undistinguished seasons for the Angels. He made the All-Star team once and twice received down-ballot MVP votes. The side deal was made in 2011 by Angels owner Arte Moreno, who is in the process of selling the team. It’s unclear what duties Pujols will be expected to perform for the Angels, but whatever value he has as a retired legend would clearly be as a Cardinal. Maybe they can swing a trade … Happy birthday to Tim McCarver, who is 81. He played 23 games for the Red Sox from 1974-75, making only 56 plate appearances. He was released in June of ‘75 and had a career resurgence with the Phillies before embarking on a long career as a broadcaster. Josias Manzanillo is 55. The righthander was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Red Sox in 1983 and made only one major league appearance with the team before being released and going on to play 11 seasons in the majors with seven other teams.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.