While the honeymoon isn’t over, and I certainly don’t want it to be over, I can understand that the Sox need to move on to other things. They can’t bask in the glow of their World Championship forever. I can. They can’t. So, they need to move to create the team that will take home next year’s championship.
How are they going to do that?
They find themselves in a fortunate situation, where they probably don’t HAVE to do anything. Let’s start with that. What if Ben decided to take the next few months off? He doesn’t sign any new free agents, make any trades, or resign any of his own free agents. That would leave the Red Sox with this starting line-up.
Bradley Jr CF
Honestly? That’s not terrible. Obviously, it’s a little thin on depth. But, just for something to talk about, you get the idea. Plus, I wouldn’t be shocked if Drew accepts the qualifying offer, and allows a little bit of infield flexibility.
So, from there it’s all gravy. There’s no huge hole that HAS to be filled. Sure, they’re not all-star at catcher. But, if they couldn’t sign Salty and ended up with that tandum, I bet they could make it work.
What does that mean? The Sox can pick and choose. This isn’t after ’04 when they had KEY players who could leave, and absolutely needed to resign at least one of them. Or, in ’07 when letting Mike Lowell go would have killed the team. The Sox can see which one of their free agents wants to return on their terms. If they all do, that’s great. If none of them do, the Sox can survive. If they want to find other replacements for those who might leave, they can do that too. If they love McCann, they can get him (although they shouldn’t). If they think Trumbo is a better option than Napoli, that’s fine. Either way.
What a luxury. Boras can’t hold Ellsbury over their heads. The Sox can take him or leave him. If Miami wants too much for Giancarlo Stanton, that’s fine. The Sox can pass. But, if the Sox want to pay the ransom for Ells, they have the money to do so because they don’t HAVE to spend it anywhere else. Any move can be made or not made, and covered for by other moves. It’s both interesting, and exciting to see what will come of it. Do they spend the money they’ve saved on a center fielder? Do they let signing Drew make Middlebrooks go to Miami? Or Seattle? Do they bring everybody back for old time’s sake?
All the doors are open.