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Red Sox Reportedly Could Target Phillies Star In Free Agency

Boston will make some changes this winter

The Boston Red Sox are going to be forced to invest in the pitching staff this winter after a last-place finish in the American League East.

There will be a slew of frontline starters to choose from between free agency -- both stateside and internationally -- and the budding trade market.

While just about every free-agent hurler capable of posting a 4.00 ERA or lower could be deemed a trade fit, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola makes a ton of sense. 

The Athletic's Jim Bowden listed the Phillies ace as a fit for the Red Sox this winter and projected that he would garner a contract in the five-year $125 million range. 

"In nine seasons with the Phillies, he’s been reliable and durable, going 90-71 with a 3.72 ERA in 235 starts," Bowden wrote. "He’s finished top seven in the National League Cy Young Award voting three times. Most importantly, Nola has provided at least 180 innings in each of the past five full seasons. He also recorded more than 200 strikeouts in all five of those seasons."

The Red Sox's starters finished with 774 1/3 innings last season, which ranked No. 27 in Major League Baseball. Nola is as reliable as anyone in baseball after making 32 starts in each of the last three seasons.

The one downside is that Nola did not exactly pitch like an ace in 2023. The 30-year-old posted a 4.46 ERA with a 202-to-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .240 batting average against and 1.15 WHIP in 193 2/3 innings. 

It would take Nola plus another high-end arm or two to truly turn the Red Sox around but there is no reason why Boston should not do that. They have a reset luxury tax and the prospect capital to make a trade for a frontline arm such as Milwaukee Brewers' Corbin Burnes or Cleveland Guardians' Shane Bieber. 

Pairing Nola with another marquee free agent or trade acquisition could be the start of a successful retooling process in Boston under new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow.

More MLB: Starting Pitcher Explains Why He Chose Rangers Over Red Sox Last Winter