As the Yankees and Rays represent the American League East in the postseason, the defending World Series champion Red Sox are left making plans for next season and searching for a new head of baseball operations.
Here’s a look at the state of the Red Sox roster headed into what should be an eventful offseason:
These players are under guaranteed contract for at least one more season:
SS Xander Bogaerts — The 27-year-old starts a six-year, $120 million extension next season. The Sox made some major contract mistakes in the last 11 months, but not this one.
RHP Nathan Eovaldi — He has three years and $51 million left. Not bad for an oft-injured pitcher who’s 44-54 with a 4.30 ERA in 160 career starts.
2B Dustin Pedroia — There are two years and $25 million left on his deal and every dime will count against the luxury tax threshold unless he retires and forfeits the money. There’s little chance that will happen. Pedroia has appeared in nine games over the last two seasons and is unlikely to play again.
LHP David Price — Price has three seasons and $96 million remaining. He has averaged only 119⅓ innings the last three seasons, albeit with a solid 3.75 ERA.
LHP Chris Sale — He starts a five-year, $145 million deal next season. That Sale missed the last seven weeks of the season with a sore elbow makes that contract a huge concern.
C Christian Vazquez — He has two years and $10.45 million remaining, with the Sox holding a $7 million option for 2022.
UNDER CONTRACT WITH AN OPT-OUT
OF Rusney Castillo — He has $13.5 million coming next season unless he opts out. You can bet he won’t. Thanks to a since-closed loophole, Castillo’s salary does not count against the luxury tax as he logs time in Triple A. But the Sox are still paying him.
DH-OF J.D. Martinez — The three-time All-Star has three years and $62.5 million left on his contract but can opt out five days after the World Series. Every indication is he will.
These players are under team control but must be offered a contract by Dec. 2 or they become free agents. If necessary, their 2020 salary would be determined by arbitration:
RHP Matt Barnes — He’s been a workhorse for four seasons (264 appearances, 262⅓ innings) and should land a $2.5 million contract.
OF Andrew Benintendi — His first year of arbitration should result in a $3.5 million salary.
OF Mookie Betts — A .917 OPS over the last four seasons will help land Betts close to $30 million. But another team could pay it if the Sox elect to trade their best player.
OF Jackie Bradley Jr. — His salary will likely climb to $10 million and the Sox could trade their center fielder to improve the rotation and trim payroll.
RHP Heath Hembree — He’s been a lot better than you think (3.63 ERA over six seasons) and still inexpensive.
INF Marco Hernandez — Their next utilityman? Hernandez has played only 122 major league games, but all his injury-list time makes him arbitration eligible.
C Sandy Leon — His playing time plunged this season and he’s due a raise on his $2.47 million salary. The Sox can find a cheaper alternative and could cut him loose.
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez — He’ll climb to approximately $8 million after pitching a career-best 203⅓ innings and winning 19 games.
RHP Brandon Workman — His breakout season will result in a healthy raise from the $1.15 million he made this year.
RHP Steven Wright — The knuckleballer has given the Sox only 84 innings over the last three seasons because of injuries and has been suspended for domestic violence and PED use. He’s likely to be cut loose.
0-3 YEARS OF SERVICE TIME
These players are under team control and not yet arbitration eligible. They are guaranteed at least the major league minimum unless released:
RHP Colten Brewer — The only newcomer to the 40-man roster when the season started, Brewer wasn’t as good as the Sox boasted he would be. But he was good enough to merit another chance.
RHP Ryan Brasier — After out-of-nowhere success in 2018, Brasier fell off dramatically. But his velocity is still there.
C Juan Centeno — He’s a candidate to be dropped if the Sox add another catcher.
INF Michael Chavis — Lots of power, too many strikeouts, not sure what position he should play. That’s a fairly typical player these days.
3B Rafael Devers — Huge breakout season (.311/.361/.555, 90 extra-base hits, 115 RBIs) makes him a good candidate for an extension.
LHP Darwinzon Hernandez — The 22-year-old should play a prominent role in the bullpen next season.
OF Gorkys Hernandez — The veteran was dreadful in September and is likely to be cut loose.
LHP Brian Johnson — He took a step back after a successful ’18. But his versatility is worth a roster spot.
RHP Trevor Kelley — The former 36th-round pick made it to the majors against long odds and was hit hard. His sidearm offerings did not play in the majors.
RHP Travis Lakins — He made his major league debut on April 23 and handled his numerous call-ups well.
UTIL Tzu-Wei Lin — Injuries derailed his season, but his defensive versatility remains valuable.
LHP Bobby Poyner — A lights-out September (7⅔ innings, one hit, nine strikeouts) should get him more chances.
INF Chris Owings — A .180 batting average in 461 major league at-bats the last two seasons suggests he won’t be on the roster much longer.
RHP Denyi Reyes — The 22-year-old was the only player on the 40-man roster not to get called up in September.
RHP Mike Shawaryn — He was rushed to the majors and it showed. He needs time but is already 25.
RHP Josh Smith — The 32-year-old journeyman struggled in 18 appearances. He’s a prime candidate to be released.
LHP Josh Taylor — That the Sox got a lefty who throws 95 in return for Deven Marrero was quite a steal. Taylor has a bright future.
1B-OF Sam Travis — Sox missed their chance to trade him two years ago. He has a .288 OBP in 111 major league games.
RHP Hector Velazquez — The Mexican League product, so effective in 2018, was almost a non-factor.
RHP Marcus Walden — The effective and inexpensive middle reliever should be part of the mix in ’20.
RHP Ryan Weber — The Sox were his fourth team in five seasons. He’ll probably be looking for a fifth after posting a 5.09 ERA.
These players will be free to sign with any team, including the Red Sox, after the World Series:
RHP Andrew Cashner — He was a bust as a starter after being obtained from Baltimore, but his fastball played up as a reliever. The Sox are unlikely to want him back.
RHP Jhoulys Chacin — He was Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter and ended up with a 6.01 ERA. Chacin will be fortunate to get a major league contract.
UTIL Brock Holt — Other teams could see Holt being more valuable than the Sox will in free agency. But he has close ties to Boston.
1B Mitch Moreland — For $18.5 million over three seasons, the Sox got a solid .782 OPS and 4.1 WAR from Moreland. But he’s 34 and injuries have been an issue. The Sox can go younger and cheaper at first base.
1B-DH Steve Pearce — It was only one year and $6.25 million, but the Sox should have been more prudent about bringing back Pearce. Injuries limited him to 29 games and retirement looms.
RHP Pick Porcello — His five years with the Sox worked out well. A lower-cost reunion should not be out of the question.