The Red Sox ended the 2022 season with a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday. But a 78-84 final record means they finished at the bottom of the American League East for the fifth time in 11 seasons.
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, general manager Brian O’Halloran, president Sam Kennedy, and manager Alex Cora spoke to the media Thursday in a long-ranging press conference to wrap up the season.
“The bottom line, with respect to 2022, is we didn’t get it done. Period,” Bloom said. “We expected to be in the postseason. We’re not.”
Bloom also said he expects the roster will look different once spring training begins in February.
Here are key takeaways from the session.
Re-signing Xander Bogaerts
“That process is going to start right away from our end,” Bloom said. “We haven’t found that path yet. We still want to. We’re going to work really hard at it.”
Is re-signing Bogaerts the No. 1 priority?
“Yeah, just because of the timing of his free agency,” Bloom said. “Until after the World Series, there’s a lot of other things we can plan for but not do, you know? This is something we can work on right away.”
Do they hope to get a deal done before Bogaerts opts out?
“That’s no different from where we’ve been; our position hasn’t changed on that,” Bloom said.
Cora said Bogaerts can play shortstop “as long as he can [physically] handle it.”
The manager said Bogaerts’s body hasn’t changed for three to four years, and he was able to improve considerably this year.
“He played really good this year making a few adjustments.”
Pursuing a long-term deal for Rafael Devers
“We would like to” explore a long-term deal, said Bloom. “He’s one of the best players in the game.”
Devers will be a free agent after 2023.
Would the Red Sox entertain trading Devers if they can’t reach a deal with him?
“No. 1, first and foremost, he’s a guy we want to build around,” Bloom said. “We hope he’s here not just next year but in the years to come.”
But Bloom also acknowledged that there’s ”always something that somebody could put in front of you that you’d be stupid to walk away from, but that isn’t on our radar.”
Is it realistic for the Sox to sign Bogaerts and Devers to long-term deals and build the team around them?
Kennedy: “I hope so.”
What is Chris Sale’s future with the club?
Bloom: “There’s no reason, looking at next year, why he shouldn’t be a huge part of this. You can probably find a lot of instances of me saying that over the last few years.”
On the progression of starter Brayan Bello
“This guy has as much upside as any young pitcher who debuted in the big leagues this year,” Bloom said.
How will Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck be deployed in the future?
Bloom deferred on saying how Houck and Whitlock will be used next season.
“We need to have some steps of that [rehab process] evolve before we set a plan,” he said, adding that the Sox need to be clear about their roles entering spring training.
Coaching staff updates
Cora said all coaches on his staff will be retained.
Ownership’s investment and involvement
Kennedy was asked about the involvement of owners John Henry and Tom Werner.
“They’re as accountable as anyone in our organization, they want to win as much as anyone in our organization,” he said. “John and Tom’s commitment level to this organization is as high as it’s ever been.”
Will management spend money on payroll?
“I anticipate our ownership group continuing to invest across our baseball operation,” Kennedy said. “The commitment to spending has been there. How those resources have been allocated, the underperformance, that’s on us.”
What the numbers say
The Red Sox have finished last five times in the past 11 years.
“Finishing in last place is brutal, certainly not what we set out to do,” Kennedy said. “You could dive into lots of detail why each last-place finish occurred, but at a high level, from where I sit, it’s underperformance across the board, and that starts with us.”
The Red Sox finished 28th in home runs, nearly at the bottom of MLB.
Bloom said adding power is “something we’re going to focus on.”
Let’s talk positions
Pitching depth: Will the Red Sox set out to find an established closer or front-line starter?
Bloom said the Sox feel better about their pitching depth based on player development this year, which will “allow us to consider some different possibilities” regarding pitchers they’d pursue.
First base: Eric Hosmer, who missed much of his time with the Red Sox after joining the team at the trade deadline, will need to battle it out with rookie Triston Casas, who blazed through the minor leagues before being called up late in the season.
“With what we went through this year, the question of having too many options at first base is one I’m happy to take,” Bloom said.
Bloom also spoke highly of Casas’s approach, noting that it didn’t “degrade” in the big leagues.
Designated hitter: J.D. Martinez will be a free agent.
Cora said the Sox’ preferred use of the DH (everyday hitter or revolving) will be based on the roster. He said he wants a “more dynamic, athletic club” in 2023.
“It really gets down to the personnel, and who you’re talking about,” said Bloom. “You’re better off focusing on the caliber of the baseball player and what they bring.”
Catcher: The Red Sox dealt Christian Vázquez at the deadline and added Reese McGuire. McGuire and homegrown prospect Connor Wong split time for the last two months of the season. What’s the plan for the position?
Bloom said the Sox “fully expect” that they’ll explore additions at catcher. But he also sees McGuire and Wong as having “raised the floor” at the position.
The talent base and balancing the present and future
Bloom said trades of prospects are “more likely” than they have been in the past based on the improved depth of the talent base.
But what about the balance of the present and the future?
“That’s something every good organization does,” Bloom said “But we want to win. Maybe that’s not on me for framing things the way I did. ... The sense of urgency, the competitiveness, that is underlying everything.”
Ticket prices will increase
Kennedy said there will be a 1.5-2 percent increase in season-ticket prices.
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