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What’s on Craig Breslow’s to-do list as the Red Sox’ new chief baseball officer?

New baseball boss at Fenway Park
WATCH: Red Sox reporter Alex Speier breaks down what new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow will bring to the front office.

The Red Sox hired a new chief baseball officer in Craig Breslow last week to replace Chaim Bloom, who was at the helm for four seasons. Breslow will discuss his appointment Thursday at Fenway Park in an introductory press conference.

Here are some of the areas he will need to focus on this offseason.

Starting pitching

This is right in Breslow’s wheelhouse. He was hired by the Cubs in 2019 as director of strategic initiatives for baseball operations. His job was to implement data-based processes throughout all facets of baseball ops with a focus on pitching throughout the farm system.

Pitching development has been a huge issue for the Red Sox for more than a decade. Before Brayan Bello, Sox fans would have to travel back to the Clay Buchholz days to see a legitimate starter that the club nurtured and developed.


Brayan Bello has been one of very few successful homegrown starting pitchers for the Red Sox in recent years. Vincent Alban For The Boston Globe

The Sox pumped up prospect Bryan Mata, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and is likely a reliever. When he is healthy, Mata struggles to find the zone, walking 4.7 batters per nine innings since his professional career began in 2016.

Mata is pitching in the Arizona Fall League, where he has walked just one batter in six appearances. But that hasn’t helped his overall effectiveness. He has a 5.68 ERA in 6⅓ innings, all out of the bullpen.

Mata is no longer a top-10 prospect for the Red Sox, per MLB Pipeline; just two pitchers, Wikelman Gonzalez (No. 9) and Luis Perales (No. 10), crack the team’s top 10. Sox pitching prospects failed to crack the top 100 overall.

Pitching at the minor league level needs work, but the big-league rotation is even more concerning and will be Breslow’s biggest task. Red Sox starters carried a 4.68 ERA this season, ninth-worst in baseball. Starters pitched a combined 774⅓ innings, fourth-fewest in the majors.


Chris Sale is no longer the Sale of old. Tanner Houck is likely a reliever, while Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta are either relievers or back-end starters on a playoff-contending team.

Breslow will need to acquire at least two top-of-the-line starters, sliding Bello into the No. 3 spot. If Breslow pulls that off, the Sox should be in a better position to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Power at the plate

Manager Alex Cora mentioned at the end of the 2022 season — another last-place finish — that the Sox needed to upgrade in the power department, mainly in the outfield. They belted just 155 homers in 2022, which ranked 20th in the big leagues.

The Sox improved to 182 homers in 2023, but moved up just two spots to 18th. A full season of Trevor Story should provide an uptick there.

Yet the goal of upgrading the outfield power never came to fruition, as Adam Duvall led all outfielders with 21 homers, and he played just 92 games.

To be fair, the Sox historically have not been a team that relies just on the homer, but they still slugged, and the home run total was respectable.

From 2018-21, the Sox ranked eighth in homers, but first in OPS and slugging. How? They had great overall hitters who made game planning a fit for opponents. They didn’t just go on streaks, which folds directly into the next point.

Triston Casas emerged as a cornerstone in the lineup, but the Red Sox will need more consistent hitting to support him and Rafael Devers.Vincent Alban For The Boston Globe

Consistent hitters

Xander Bogaerts was a great floor player, meaning that even when he didn’t feel his best, even when his swing wasn’t at its summit, he still figured out a way to get hits. In 2023, the Sox lacked that component, and instead, it was feast or famine.


Story is a streaky hitter. Triston Casas, while he was one of the best hitters in the big leagues, is just 23 years old. Relying on him to be the center of an offense shouldn’t be the goal. Rafael Devers is a special hitter, but part of what makes him special is his ability to sometimes go outside of the zone and pummel pitches off the plate.

At times during the 2023 season, you could see Devers deviating too much from who he is, leading to some cold streaks. Justin Turner was a great table setter, but he’s coming out of his age 38 season, while Masataka Yoshida’s stats in the second half fell off a cliff. He too is a hot-and-cold hitter.

In order for Devers, and the club, to reach their peaks, they will need better floor players.


Having three below-average defenders in Yoshida, Devers, and Casas is an issue Breslow will have to address. Story will stabilize shortstop, but the Sox still have a gaping hole at second base, and, no, Enmanuel Valdez isn’t the answer.

The Sox tied for the most errors in the American League and tied for second-most in the majors. That, in part, cost them a spot in the playoffs.


Star power

It’s Boston. It’s the Red Sox. Go get Shohei Ohtani.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him @byJulianMack.