The San Francisco Giants are officially champions of Major League Baseball for the second time in three seasons, a feat the Red Sox did in four seasons just recently. Following a disappointing 93 loss season, general manager Ben Cherington has many decisions to make this off season in order to get his ball club back to championship caliber. The bad news is a lot remains unsolved. The good news is there are plenty of options.
Needs: First base, Corner outfield, Shortstop, Starting pitching
Big Free Agents: David Ortiz, Cody Ross, James Loney, Dice – K
The first route Cherington can take things this off season is to stay in house. A decade ago Boston was known for playing dirt dogs, guys who played for not a lot of money and played the game the right way to complement the superstars. In recent years we got away from that with the Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and John Lackey signings. With Mike Aviles being sent to Toronto in the John Farrell deal, there is a whole at shortstop. Cherington will have to evaluate whether Jose Iglesias is ready to take over. Ortiz is expected to re-sign and assuming Jacoby Ellsbury remains with the team this year, there are still the corner outfield spots to fill. Ross is due for a big payday after playing for only $3 million in 2012. Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava would be solid options if someone is not brought in from the outside. The forgotten man of the season was Daniel Bard. Now that Farrell is back maybe he can help Bard. It’s uncertain whether Bard will be a starter or reliever but if he figures things out could be a huge impact performer.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox it is a very weak free agent class this year. The big name is Josh Hamilton but it appears the days of shelling out $100 million contracts are over for Boston. Some interesting outfield options are Nick Swisher and BJ Upton with Swisher also being able to play first base. Another multiple position guy could be Mike Napoli, a right handed power hitter. I think the most likely free agent signing would be Jake Peavy. He would be a serviceable number three starter behind Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz and his bulldog mentality would perfectly suit the Boston fans and media.
The final route the Sox could go is trades. This is the least likely route because the Sox would have to give up some of the farm and Cherington is very committed to rebuilding it. Boston has the next wave of “The Killer B’s” in SP Matt Barnes, OF Jackie Bradley Jr, and SS Xander Bogaerts but unfortunately they are all at least a year away. The positive with making a trade is that the Sox would receive young, controllable major league talent. The most interesting options are Justin Upton, Josh Johnson, Alex Gordon, and Matt Garza. All would require at least one of the Killer B’s along with a couple other mid level prospects. The most interesting name could be Tim Lincecum, whose role in San Francisco is currently undefined.
The Red Sox are not expected to re-sign Loney or Dice – K. This article’s purpose was to review the options the Red Sox have. Check back in a few weeks for an early 2013 season preview.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Tuma
I'm currently a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst studying sport management with a minor in education. I'm an avid sports fan particularly baseball, basketball, football, and fantasy sports. I've interned with the Worcester Tornadoes, who are an independent league baseball team and work for UMass baseball as well. I hope to someday be a major fixture in the world of sports.