The Boston Red Sox have had a frustrating offseason thus far, not getting much better if they've gotten better at all, despite two straight last-place finishes. What we've learned this offseason from Boston is that for whatever reason, they have no interest in spending money. Every big move they've made has been met with another move to cut costs.
The Red Sox acquired a much-needed right-handed hitting outfielder in Tyler O'Neill from the Cardinals, but that was days after they traded Alex Vergudo, a better but more expensive player, to the Yankees. O'Neill might be the better fit and is cheaper, but he's not better than Verdugo.
The biggest signing Boston has made this winter was bringing in Lucas Giolito on a two-year deal. This, of course, came right before they turned around and traded Chris Sale for Vaughn Grissom. Yes, they got their second baseman of the future (we hope) in Grissom, and Sale's durability is a major question, but Giolito, even with his durability, has had an ERA approaching 5.00 in each of the last two seasons.
The question has to be asked. Is Boston any better than the 78-84 team from last season? If the answer is yes, it's only by a game or two. Boston has finally made another move, but it's one that isn't a needle-mover. They signed Michael Fulmer to a two-year minor league deal according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.
Red Sox make low-risk high-reward move by signing Michael Fulmer
The catch that comes with signing Michael Fulmer is that he's likely out for the entire season after undergoing UCL revision surgery in October. It's unfortunate to not see this move pay off for now, but this is a rare move that Red Sox fans really have nothing to complain about.
After some ups and downs as a starting pitcher, Fulmer has settled in nicely as a reliever, posting a career 3.43 ERA in 172 appearances coming out of the bullpen in his career. He's spent most of the last three seasons working in relief and has been mostly solid as a middle reliever.
This past season was a bit of a down year for the 30-year-old who posted a 4.42 ERA in 58 appearances and 57 innings pitched out of the Cubs bullpen, but he did have a 4.15 FIP and did a nice job limiting hard contact, ranking in the 95th percentile in hard-hit% and the 92nd percentile in average exit velocity according to Baseball Savant.
The Red Sox getting Fulmer to agree to a two-year minor league deal is phenomenal work. There's absolutely no risk that comes with signing any player to a minor league deal. Fulmer throwing one scoreless inning for the Red Sox in 2025 would already make the contract a success. Both Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin's contracts expire at the end of the year, so having Fulmer as a safety net makes a lot of sense.
In an offseason with a lot to complain about for Red Sox fans, this is a move that should be universally celebrated. Hopefully, it leads to some bigger moves that impact the 2024 roster, though.