The Boston Red Sox unloaded the majority of their massive contracts in one swift move toward the end of the 2012 MLB season when they traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move shed payroll and made the Red Sox one of the worst teams on paper.
Anyone who thought that would last more than a couple of months really does not know how this team – much like many other large market MLB teams – operates.
The Red Sox are not rebuilding. They are reloading. The two are quite different. When you rebuild, you start from the ground up, and the process is usually a lengthy one. Yet, when you reload, you get rid of some large contracts and replace them with others.
With that being said, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has already spoken out that by the time this offseason is over, Boston will have one of the “larger payroll.” As of this minute, the team only has about $5 million tied up into current players on the roster for 2013.
The New York Yankees and Dodgers are still around $200 million.
I was never great at math past middle school, but even I know that means that the Red Sox will have to shell out some serious dough if they are to approach anywhere near those salary numbers for some of the other top teams in the game heading into next season.
That leads me to think what Cherington will do with that money. Will the Red Sox make the big splash that many are predicting and go out and sign Josh Hamilton to finally five them some stability in right field? Boston has not been all that steady in right since the days of Trot Nixon.
Or, could they decide to go out and sign Michael Bourn to play center field? After all, Jacoby Ellsbury is often injured and is a free agent after next season. They could let him go after 2013, although I have long said that their smartest option would be to trade his this offseason.
What about Mike Napoli, who could play some games at first base, some as designated hitter and some behind the plate as catcher? He has a strong bat and would do quite well hitting in Fenway Park for 81 games. His versatility cannot be overvalued.
You also have Stephen Drew. The Red Sox are not sure about Jose Iglesias. The team had looked into acquiring Jose Reyes from the Miami Marlins, but decided they would have to take back too many players to go along with Reyes, so they declined. But it is no secret that they have been looking for a franchise shortstop for years now.
Maybe they sign all of those players. maybe none of them. The Red Sox are going to make some noise this offseason. Anyone who enjoyed seeing them down over the past year should not get used to the notion.
Boston will find themselves right back in the thick of things sooner rather than later.
It may even happen within the following few weeks and months.
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