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Hernandez, Richards can help compete


Fenway Park
Red Sox offseason moves are a step in the right direction for 2021. Photo from Boston Globe.

The Boston Red Sox are making plenty of offseason moves. Kike Hernandez and Garrett Richards are heading to Fenway Park on short-term deals.

Minor signings were made by Boston, too, including Daniel Gossett for pitching depth.

Hernandez can play all over the field. Richards adds to a rotation which is missing Chris Sale and was alarmingly short on proven arms behind Nathan Eovaldi. The pair are the second and third major offseason moves from the Red Sox after they signed Hunter Renfroe in December.

Boston might not be in the mix for Trevor Bauer or J.T. Realmuto, but they are making low-risk acquisitions to improve the team. That’s more than can be said for many franchises around MLB.

Richards may have only started 41 games since 2015, but there’s no question he’s a solid pitcher. The former Angel has an ERA+ above 100 despite spending much of his career pitching through pain or working his way to full health. Much like Eovaldi, if healthy, Richards can be one of the better pitchers in the American League. It isn’t a signing that will set Red Sox fans alight with excitement – it is an upside addition for a team which has been in a rut of understandable pessimism since the mind-bending decision to trade Mookie Betts.

Hernandez has been considered a platoon bat for much of his career. The Dodgers have given him more opportunities against right-handers over the last couple of seasons and he’s shown progress. He’s got the capability to be an everyday player for these Red Sox, even if he has no set position. And that’s the beauty of Hernandez. He can play literally every position on the field and do a solid-to-good job.

The Red Sox’s offseason is not blockbuster like the Mets. It’s not going to elevate them towards the best in the American League. It is active, though, and while that might not be enough for many of the Red Sox faithful, making signings, and ones with upside, is a positive relative to many other franchises. With expanded playoffs, Boston is doing just enough to be in the mix.

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