With the awards honoring the top players and managers from across the Major League’s now behind us, it’s time for the hot stove to take center stage. Already there are plenty of rumors as to where the top players available this winter will land and the Boston Red Sox have been tied to many of them.
Coming off a dramatic World Series title, the Red Sox will have some holes to fill as they prepare their roster for Spring Training and face the possibility that all six of their free-agents could find new homes for next season. Some are more pressing to try and retain while others may be allowed to walk away and sign with another club of their choosing.
Mike Napoli and Jacoby Ellsbury are the two biggest free-agents that the Red Sox have and re-signing both isn’t a given. Ellsbury wants Carl Crawford type money that comes with a 7-year deal. It’s been mentioned that the Sox may only go as high as a 5-year deal and may not surpass the $100 million dollar range that agent Scott Boras is adamant on seeking.
Napoli continues to live in Boston even after most of his teammates have left for their winter homes. He says he wants to be in a Sox uniform next year but turned down the one-year qualifying offer and is seeking a multi-year deal. Is it a negotiation tactic in an attempt to lure Ben Cherington into giving him a two or three year deal? Or is he serious about testing the market and maybe not so serious about desperately wanting to play for the Red Sox next season? Time will tell.
The catcher position is another area that the Red Sox will need to solidify over the course of the next three months. Plenty of names have already been tied to the Sox including the possibility of having Jarrod Saltalamacchia return to Fenway Park. Salty wants a three of four year deal while the Sox have countered with a two-year offer. The sides are said to be far apart and other free-agents have come into play for Boston. Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski and Brian McCann are all back stops that the Red Sox have apparently contacted, some priced higher than others.
We’ve heard about back up plans in the event Ellsbury leaves. Carlos Beltran has been mentioned and last week Chris Young was brought up as being on the Sox radar as a backup plan should number 2 leave Boston.
So many rumors and with the expectation that the players will start to sign, the action is just getting started. Who will the Red Sox sign first? Take part in our poll and let’s gauge the audience.