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Red Sox appear unlikely to enter the bidding for top free agent pitchers

Carlos Rodón, one of the top starting pitchers on the free agent market, isn't a Red Sox target, according to a league source.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

This information originally appeared in the Sunday Baseball Notes.

Three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and two-time Cy guy Jacob deGrom are free agents. So are 2022 All-Star Carlos Rodón and 2021 All-Star Chris Bassitt. But according to major league sources, the Red Sox — whose 4.53 ERA ranked 25th — appear unlikely to enter the bidding for any of the big four.

While the team is expected to be one of the biggest spenders this winter, the Sox are more likely to spread spending across several targets. With Verlander potentially targeting a salary north of $40 million a year and deGrom potentially seeking more than $30 million per year, the Sox are likely looking elsewhere for starters.

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The Sox also seem more reluctant to pursue players who rejected the one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer from their 2022 clubs than they were a year ago, when they gave up a second-round pick to sign Trevor Story.

However, the team had two extra picks (one for losing Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency, another after being unable to sign their 2021 second-rounder) in the first two rounds. Moreover, because the team stayed under the 2021 luxury tax threshold of $210 million, the penalty for signing a player who’d received a qualifying offer was the loss of a second-rounder and $500,000 in the team’s international amateur bonus pool.

In 2023, the Sox will only have one second-rounder, making the loss of that pick more consequential. And because they spent past last year’s $230 million luxury tax threshold, the Sox will get only a fourth-rounder if Xander Bogaerts or Nate Eovaldi sign elsewhere. Further, the penalty for signing a player who received a qualifying offer would be two picks (a second- and fifth-rounder) and the loss of $1 million in the team’s international amateur bonus pool.

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The Sox haven’t ruled out signing a player who received the qualifying offer, but their approach to such players has been reserved thus far.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.