Here’s what Craig Breslow said about the Red Sox’ offseason plans

Red Sox

Pitchers will likely be added, the designated hitter position may be different, and a former Red Sox hurler might come back to Boston as pitching coach.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow speaking to the media at the GM meetings in Arizona. Matt York/AP Photo

The Craig Breslow Era of Red Sox baseball has only just started, but the new chief baseball officer already has ideas on how to improve the roster.

  • Carlos Febles hired as Blue Jays third base coach

  • Report: Red Sox have spoken to pitcher Jordan Montgomery’s agent

Breslow spoke to Boston reporters on Tuesday during the GM meetings in Arizona and informed them of some of his plans for the offseason and certain focus areas he’d like to upgrade and add to. Chief among these areas is the rotation, a group that Breslow said he wants to improve by exploring many possibilities.

“I think we need to be open-minded,” Breslow said, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey. “Like I said last week, starting pitching is certainly a priority for us, but to try and forecast exactly a number [of pitchers] or anything more specific than that.”

The rotation was perhaps the Red Sox’ biggest weakness last season. They ranked 22nd in Major League Baseball in starter ERA (4.68) and 27th in starter total innings (774.1). They want to bolster their rotation by adding the consistently high-quality performers that they did not have last season, and they would prefer to add durable pitchers to ensure that their rotation dominates the mound instead of the injury list this time.

“It sounds simple but we’re looking to kind of uphold that standard of quality and consistency,” Breslow said, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “So durability is part of that. But we don’t want durability kind of on its face. We want consistency of a really, really high level of performance that’s also durable and can provide bulk. As we all know, there might be 29 other teams that are searching for that as well.”

The Red Sox can choose from a wide variety of free agent pitchers who fit Breslow’s preferences, and they’ve already begun their due diligence by reportedly speaking with left-hander Jordan Montgomery’s agent. It seems inevitable that the Red Sox rotation will look different on opening day compared to now.

Another change the Red Sox will be making to their pitching department is at pitching coach. The Red Sox fired Dave Bush from the position in October, and there appears to be at least one name linked to replace him.

“I’ve been told Andrew Bailey is very much in the running for the pitching coach job,” MassLive’s Chris Cotillo posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Just makes too much sense on too many levels.”

Bailey is thought by many Red Sox insiders to be a frontrunner for the position. He currently serves as the pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants, who recently fired manager Gabe Kapler and reportedly have Bailey on an expiring contract. Bailey pitched on the Red Sox with Breslow during their World Series run in 2013, and together they run the Strike 3 foundation, a charity that raises funds and awareness for childhood cancer research.

An industry source told MassLive’s Sean McAdam that there’s a “good chance” that Bailey is hired, but Breslow indicated that he’s considering a “wide net” of candidates. Regardless, Breslow believes that there is some urgency regarding this hire, as taking too long to make a decision only delays improvements pitchers can make in an offseason.

“Offseason days are precious,” said Breslow. “I think just given how productive they can be in terms of development for our players. So every day that our pitching staff doesn’t have a pitching coach, in my mind, is a bit of a lost opportunity. So I do think think it’s important to prioritize filling those vacancies.”

The Red Sox look to add to their hitting core as well. Breslow said that he would like to add a right-handed bat to the lineup, another glaring hole now that both designated hitter Justin Turner and outfielder Adam Duvall will enter free agency.

“Given that we’re pretty left-handed,” Breslow said, “it makes sense to set our sights on somebody who can hit right-handed.”

The Red Sox could explore adding a right-handed designated hitter in case Turner signs elsewhere. But Breslow doesn’t envision a roster with a designated hitter who can only play that position.

“I think positional versatility helps,” Breslow said. “I don’t think it makes a ton of sense to kind of typecast that to a right-handed bat who can only DH. But I think we have to be open-minded about the ways to improve the team.”

Breslow wants the designated hitter spot to be somewhat open, one that several players can fill. He said that he’d like to give manager Alex Cora the opportunity to rotate that position and give it to certain players he wants to keep in the lineup that need a break from fielding, and he wants to explore many different possibilities at the position.

“On a high level, we’d probably look to give Alex [Cora] as much flexibility as possible,” Breslow said. “Recognizing that it’s a long season and there will be times where he’s gonna want to get guys off their feet, but keep their bats in the lineup. I don’t think there’s one way to do it.”

Breslow also touched upon the prospect of second base, which is currently being shared by David Hamilton, Pablo Reyes, Luis Urías and Enmanuel Valdez. Breslow said that he feels content with those four guys, but that he still sees an opportunity to improve.

“We’ve got some right-handed depth, left-handed depth, but also like everywhere else, we are going to be open-minded about the possibilities of meaningfully upgrading that position,” Breslow said.

But Breslow said that the team’s defense needs to improve, and he will explore ways to do that during this offseason even if that comes at second base.

“It is no secret that we weren’t good enough on the defensive side of the ball,” Breslow said. “So we need to continue to look at ways to raise the bar.”

The Red Sox will have a very busy offseason this winter, but Breslow already has his plans as to how his team will make these important decisions.