Ben Cherington has his work cut out for him to put together a competitive team this offseason. The manager is in place and so is most of the coaching staff; it was announced yesterday that Gary Tuck would remain as bullpen coach. The team will interview Rick Schu for the hitting coach position today. Now the focus turns to the players on the field.
Cody Ross, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jose Iglesias have been getting most of the recent press. The Red Sox failed to sign Ross in the window where they had exclusive negotiating rights so now he is a free agent and he will test the open market making his return to Boston far from certain. As for Ellsbury, the Red Sox have said they are not looking to trade him this offseason though his agent Scott Boras has said the team has not entered into any negotions to extend his contract. Jose Iglesias appears to be the frontrunner to start at short next season, especially with Aviles gone.
The biggest concern for the team is improving the starting pitching. Hiroki Kuroda is on the Red Sox radar but the team would have to give up a draft pick to sign him.
The Sox are not considering Zack Greinke but might shake the tree on Josh Hamilton according to Jon Heyman. The Rangers are not going to offer Hamilton anything beyond a three-year deal so he may become a target for the Red Sox if they can go with a short term deal.
Ryan Dempster is drawing a little interest from the Red Sox and so is Russell Martin.
The team has spoken with the agents for Dan Haren, Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton and Torii Hunter.
With money to spend and lots of positions to fill this will likely be one of the busiest offseasons for the Red Sox in recent memory. The hot stove is just starting to heat up and should only get hotter from here.