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Shipping Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett out to the Los Angeles Dodgers opens the door to nearly endless possible moves for the Red Sox to make for next season and future seasons. Boston’s ownership saved roughly a quarter of a billion dollars in this trade and landed two top pitching prospects.
Talk about a get out of jail free card.
Still, we all know the names on the lengthy list of bad deals this organization has made (where is JD Drew these days, anyway?). The money saved needs to be put to use in smarter ways than it has been in recent years.
There are holes all over the diamond and on the pitching staff that need to be filled in order for this team to return to playoff contending status. Very few positions are sure things for next season and future years, the only locks being Dustin Pedroia at second, Will Middlebrooks at third, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in the rotation, and Andrew Bailey at the back end of the bullpen.
Outside of those guys what do they really have?
Jacoby Ellsbury is the next big thing for the organization to tackle. What to do with him could be a lot tougher than people realize. He becomes a free agent at the end of next season and will be looking to cash in. There is almost no way to tell what Ellsbury is worth. He had the crazy MVP like season last year, but is that what he really is? When you consider his injury history, it just isn’t going to be easy to bang out a new deal for him. There is still a possibility that a team will make an offer for him during this winter, but it would take a pretty nice package to ship Ellsbury out in the footsteps of Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett.
An addition the the rotation would be nice, whether that be a top end or back end guy. Moving forward with young solid starters in Lester and Bucholtz is not a bad situation. They just need a little help.
Just because the front office has given themselves a chance at a fresh start, though, doesn’t mean that this will turn into the ideal situation with the promise of more championships. The free agent class this offseason is not really that deep with elite young talent. Hopefully the Red Sox don’t just throw a huge contract at the best player available. Why not wait a year, call up the top prospects in the minors for an infusion of youth, and see what they have?
Despite all the of the bad things that have surrounded this team for a full year now, this could be a fresh start and a new chapter for the Red Sox. Time for general manager Ben Cherington and owners John Henry, Tom Warner, and Larry Lucchino to step up.