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Red Sox offseason wish list: Boston should seek Kyle Schwarber reunion; who will replace Eduardo Rodriguez?

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The 2021-22 MLB offseason is a few weeks old and some major moves are starting to happen. Like the MLB season itself, however, the offseason is a marathon rather than a sprint — although the impending expiration of the competitive bargaining agreement greatly complicates how the hot stove season proceeds. 

That said, it’s still the offseason, and we’re going to examine each prospective buyer’s winter wish list over the next few days. Now it’s the Boston Red Sox’s turn. Let’s get to it.

Shortstop/middle infield

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This seems like an odd thing to say given that incumbent Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts is one of the most productive bats at the position in all of baseball. He’s an outstanding player, to be sure, but he’s stretched defensively these days. Moving Bogaerts to second base would fill that void for the Red Sox and adding Carlos Correa — the top talent on the market this winter — would give them another heart-of-the-order bat while also giving them a massive defensive upgrade at that vital position. 

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Wish list: Correa is the prize here, as noted above, but if that doesn’t turn out to be a realistic pairing of team and free agent, then Corey Seager is a possibility. He’s not the defender Correa is, but he’s better than Bogaerts. If the Sox decide that moving Bogaerts off of shortstop at this time is not the way forward, then they could pivot to Marcus Semien. Not only would they be plucking him from a contending division rival (the Blue Jays), but he would also fit nicely in Boston’s second base void. Semien grades out as one of the top defensive second basemen in baseball right now (and top offensive second basemen, for that matter), and he could still likely be a defensive plus at his old position of shortstop should Bogaerts wind up being amenable to a switch down the road. 

Are John Henry and company willing to invest at such levels given their miserly ways over the last two seasons? That remains to be seen, but they certainly should if they have any interest in trying to win a ring with their current core. 

Rotation 

Chris Sale will be in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery in 2022, so perhaps he’ll provide better consistency while still flashing his ace-grade upside. Nathan Eovaldi, provided he stays healthy, is a legit frontline starter, and Tanner Houck has shown enough promise to merit optimism regarding his long-term future as a starter. Beyond that, Nick Pivetta should provide enough value to pin down the back end. All that said, securing an additional mid-rotation starter or better is certainly in order. 

Wish list: The Red Sox would’ve done well to re-up with Eduardo Rodriguez, but he wound up signing with the Tigers. Instead, Boston should now pivot to Justin Verlander. It must be noted that Verlander has pitched in one game in the last two seasons because of Tommy John surgery, and he’s not exactly a known quantity as a 39-year-old coming off a lengthy rehab process. Those risk factors, however, are why Verlander will likely wind up inking a short-term “pillow” contract this offseason — perhaps even a one-year deal with a vesting option. That brief commitment (albeit at a hefty average annual value) should be appealing to the Sox, and the Sox’s status as likely contenders should appeal to Verlander. Recall that when Verlander last pitched a full season, in 2019, he won the AL Cy Young award. More broadly, adding to the rotation should allow Garrett Whitlock to remain in the bullpen.

First base

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Bobby Dalbec seemed to find his level late in the season, but overall his subpar on-base skills and poor defense didn’t help the Sox for the bulk of 2021. In large measure, that — plus the desire to get a third lefty bat in the lineup — is why Boston dealt for Kyle Schwarber leading up to the trade deadline. 

Wish list: Schwarber is a free agent, but, as with Rodriguez, the Sox should seek out a reunion. This season, Schwarber batted .266/.374/.554 in 113 games for the Nationals and Red Sox with 32 home runs and made his first All-Star team. For his career, the 28-year-old has an OPS+ of 119. In terms of batted-ball metrics, Schwarber this past season was elite or near-elite in terms of average exit velocity, barrel rate, and chase rate — all of which portends continued excellence at the plate. 

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Yes, Schwarber needs work defensively at first base, but that’s not surprising given that he made the switch to the position during the season. As well, his miscues in the field seemed more experience-driven as opposed to being born of physical limitations. A full spring training at the position would no doubt resolve much of that. As well, Schwarber’s left-handedness means that Dalbec could still find a path to platoon duty.





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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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