Red Sox laying low as high-end free agents sign big contracts all around them

Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 1, and so the league is approaching a soft deadline for teams and free agents looking to make a deal before the inevitable lockout. The past 48 hours have been a hard-to-keep-up-with frenzy of open-market spending.

And the Red Sox’s participation in that frenzy could be generously classified as … the bare minimum.

Michael Wacha signed last week for added depth and durability at the back of the rotation, but the Red Sox have let a dozen other free agent starters sign elsewhere for more money (most of them for a lot more money). They have yet to upgrade at second base, or add a meaningful arm to the bullpen, or make any other move more notable than adding a fourth outfielder off waivers.

It’s possible such restraint might have been the smart play in this unusual situation. There are a lot of high-end free agents still available, the trade market has barely budged, and by waiting until after the new CBA is in place, the Red Sox should have a better sense of the pros and cons of any potential move. But the inactivity has done little to quell concerns that Bloom’s methodical, practical approach lets too much talent slip away.

Frankly, this situation is difficult to judge given the timing and the circumstances. Just look at the seven teams that have so far spent more than $50 million on free agents (not counting money spent on extensions and trades):

Rangers — $561.2 million

Mets — $254.5 million


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