Sox seeking power bat, setup man on market

Sox seeking power bat, setup man on market

BOSTON -- The free-agent frenzy is beginning across Major League Baseball, and the Red Sox should be right in the middle of the action. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will be shopping for a power bat and possibly an impact arm to set up Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen.

Boston already has a strong core in place, and the goal this offseason will to make it championship-caliber.

Here is a primer for the coming weeks.

Free agents: 1B Mitch Moreland, RHP Addison Reed, OF Chris Young, OF Rajai Davis, RHP Doug Fister.

Arbitration-eligible: RF Mookie Betts, SS Xander Bogaerts, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., LHP Drew Pomeranz, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Brandon Workman, C Sandy Leon, RHP Steven Wright, INF Brock Holt, C Christian Vazquez, RHP Carson Smith, RHP Tyler Thornburg.

Hot Stove Tracker

Biggest potential free-agent loss
Moreland is a grinder who fit in well in a city that appreciates players who like to get their uniforms dirty. He also came up with his share of big hits and dazzling plays on defense. But the Red Sox need a premium middle-of-the-order bat, and it stands to reason that the player they get could be a first baseman, which would mean Moreland would end up signing somewhere else.

Moreland's two-run double

Potential free-agent targets
First baseman Eric Hosmer and corner outfielder J.D. Martinez are two solid options to give Boston some more production. Dombrowski mentioned on a recent conference call he is seeking a power bat, so it's unlikely he'd sign both of them. The left-handed-hitting Hosmer has an opposite-field stroke that could serve him well playing half of his games at Fenway Park. Martinez is a right-handed hitter who could keep those who park their cars behind the Green Monster a little nervous. If Reed leaves as a free agent, the Red Sox will seek another premium setup man on the market.

Wild-card scenario
The one thing that could change Boston's approach on the free-agent market would be if it instead makes a trade for a big bat. One very big bat could well be available in Giancarlo Stanton, who belted 59 home runs for the Marlins in 2017. Miami's motivation to move Stanton is to clear the books on the $285 million he is owed through '27.

All 59 of Stanton's home runs

Considering what a large financial undertaking that would be for whatever team trades for Stanton, it's unclear how much the Marlins would be expecting as player compensation in the deal. After trading several top prospects over the past two offseasons to acquire Kimbrel and Chris Sale, it's doubtful the Red Sox would have the Minor League depth go give the Marlins any A-level prospects. Perhaps Miami would take some of Boston's young players who are still under the contractual control of the club.

One thing that is clear is that Stanton would be a thrill ride at Fenway with the inviting Green Monster looming 310 feet from home plate. If the Red Sox somehow got Stanton, they'd be unlikely to spend much in free agency.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.