Quo Vadis Red Sox?
This could potentially be merged with the "What would you do?" thread, as it essentially goes in the same direction.
It seems in past years the Red Sox's philosophy seemes to have shifted a bit. Whether it was on purpose - because the rest of the league has caught up with them in using objective, quantifiable measures to exploit market inefficiencies and they felt the only advantage they had left was their deep pockets - or more accidental as they slowly succumbed to building an uberteam, I don't know. Nor does it matter.
The glorious - or, depending on your point of view, infamous - Nick Punto trade has allowed them to regain payroll flexibility and start over. The question now is which direction they chose to go in. As far as I can tell, there are three possible directions to go in:
a) Complete rebuilding mode. In that scenario, they essentially become the Marlins from a few years back. It means, letting Ortiz walk (preferably after making a qualifying offer to collect the draft picks), trading Ellsbury as well as Pedroia, maybe others too.
b) The 2003 way. In that scenario, they go back to their origins. Build a core and complete it with smart signings a la Billy Mueller and Kevin Millar. This approach bears considerable risk. Finding value a la Ortiz (in 2003) or Ross (last offseason) is not easy. Sometimes these signings/trades work out, sometimes they don't.
c) Buy a WS, or die trying. In that scenario, they use their regained payroll flexibility to immediatly buy/trade their way back into contention. It likely means going after Hamilton and raid the farm for a true ace.
To me, scenario a is not an option. These full on rebuilds more often than not, do not work out. And it would ignore the fact that the Red Sox still have a very interesting core to build around.
Scenario c doesn't seem to make sense either. First of all, the FA market is fairly weak this offseason. Star players tend to sign extensions more often than go free agency. And second, if that's the plan, they could have just kept Gonzalez/Crawford/Beckett/Punto, right?
That leaves us with approach b and, hence, the question of how to deal with the holes at 1B, LF, SS, SP, DH; trying to identify the next Cody Ross (figuratively speaking).
Watching Derek Jeter make 40 defensive plays and then watching Adam Everett make 40 defensive plays at the same position is sort of like watching video of Barbara Bush dancing at the White House, and then watching Demi Moore dancing in Striptease. (Bill James)
Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power. If he can continue to hit .260 or so, he'll be useful, and he probably has a future as a backup infielder. (Keith Law)