At the beginning of the 2012 MLB season, every team had a clean slate. There were new managers, star free agent signings, off-season trades, and prospects on the horizon. That is the beauty of spring. A new season brings new hope for the future. Players usually wear a smile due to a new contract or the opportunity for a season that leads to an even bigger deal.
The calender between October and late February might actually be the most active time of year for front office personnel, managers, and players. Just under a month away from MLB’s Winter Meetings, the hot stove is already starting to heat up. This years free agent market lacks the star power of recent years. There are, however, a few stars that could impact the landscape of baseball. Outfielder Josh Hamilton is at the top of the list. There is no doubt that he has all of the tools that teams look for, but his alcohol and drug addictions will play a role in both length and terms of any contract offered. There are a few pitchers that will turn heads for teams in need of good arms.
Over the next several days, we will spotlight the teams with big holes to fill. Today, we look at The Boston Red Sox, and the teams biggest needs this offseason.
The Red Sox declie started in 2011 and still needs to be cleaned up. Exit Bobby Valentine and enter John Ferrell. His relationship with some of the current players will probably add ten wins alone. His familiority to the some of the pitching staff doesn’t hurt either. That being said, the Sox have plenty of holes to fill.They inked David Ortiz to a two year deal, but expect Boston to sign free agents to round out an already impressive lineup.
First base is a real need after Boston dealt Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. James Loney did not produce upon his arrival in Beantown, and I do not expect him to get a contract offer from the A.L. East Gaint. The Texas Rangers have not tendered a deal with C/1B Mike Napoli, and he would be a great fit for the Red Sox. He would also command a reasonable salary, freeing up cash for Boston to spend elsewhere.
Pitching is a need for the Red Sox. They shipped Josh Beckett off to L.A. and it is doubtful that Daisuke Matsuzaka will be wearing a Sox uniform in 2013. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz had less than stellar seasons and John Lackey is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Again, Ferrell knows many of these hurlers, but look for Boston to add at least one starter to the fold this offseason. Daniel Bard should move to the closer role, but G.M. Ben Cherington will likely look for a few arms to add to the pen.
The other positions the Red Sox needs to address are outfielders and short stop. Jacoby Ellsbury is a fixture at center, at least for another season. Look for Boston to re sign Cody Ross as well. His toughness and character are admired by both fans and teammates. Don’t be surprised if the team makes a move on former rival Nick Swisher. A dark horse candidate is ALCS MVP Delmon Young, but a reputation as a toxic clubhouse member make him an unlikely signing. At shortstop, Jose Iglesias is a possibility, but his skill at the plate is still a major question. Look for a veteran to be signed, even if it is to mentor the prospect.