A little piece I wrote about a month ago:
Looking Ahead: Red Sox 2009
While most Red Sox fans are looking for a title this year, it never hurts to look ahead every once and a while. With a potentially huge free agent market this offseason, the Red Sox will certainly be looking for a couple big names this winter.
With Jason Varitekís contract up after the season, letís take a look at the possible moves the Sox could make catching wise: the first, and best move in this manís opinion, is to resign Tek. His smarts and handling of pitchers alone merits him at least a one year deal. Agent Scott Boras will probably be looking for a three year deal, so the Sox may have to pull a Mike Lowell and give Varitek more money or another year than theyíd wish to. Thatís Scott Boras, for you. The second option for the Red Sox at the catching position is to trade for a catcher. The two best names out there on the block this offseason will be Victor Martinez and Jarrod Saltellemachia. While I like Martinezís bat, I donít see him as nearly as smart a catcher as Varitek. Salty is an above average catcher, and a decent bat, and is probably the most well-rounded catcher on the market, but I donít see him as a good fit for the Sox. The best free agent catcher on the free agent market this season is Ivan Rodriguez, but again, I donít see him as a good fit for the Sox. The Sox prefer to have batters take balls and draw walks, which is something I-Rod just doesnít do. He also believes himself to be a starter no matter what, and if he starts losing starts, heíll demand a trade, just as he did in Detroit. And this certainly isnít the Marlins I-Rod. Although a Hall of Famer, Rodriguez is in his decline phase. No thank you, Iíll take Varitek.
The infield is pretty much set. There arenít many big names infield-wise, and Iím quite content with our infield. The only player you could think of calling a question mark is Jed Lowrie (who should be given the starting job next year, hands down), but I certainly wouldnít. The kid is Bill Mueller in the form of a shortstop.
The outfield is also pretty set. The only real big name out there, worth being signed as a starter, is Vladimir Guerrero, but I doubt the Angels wonít resign him.
The starting pitching class is what really excites me. CC Sabathia is going to be a free agent, probably the biggest name out there, and if the Sox are willing to give Sabathia the largest contract a pitcher has ever signed (which he will get, regardless of where he goes), then the Sox will have the deadliest starting pitching rotation in the game. There are also some other real good names that will be out there, such as Ben Sheets, Brad Penny, and A.J Burnett. My mouth just waters thinking of what the rotation could be next year: Sabathia, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Penny, Lester. Shivers down the spine.
There will also some good bullpen help on the market this year. Names such as Eddie Guardado, Brian Fuentes, Al Reyes, Jeremy Affedlt, Juan Rincon, and Brandon Lyon. Could Brian Fuentes be willing to setup for Papelbon? If so, then the pitching staff could be lights out, top to bottom, and Affedlt and/or Reyes could also be a step up from Mike Timlin and David Aardsma.
This has been a quick look into the future of the Red Sox. This winter could be a truly great one, so please Theo, fill the stockings!
"He studied hitting like a broker studies the stock market, how a scribe studies the scriptures" - Carl Yastrzemski on Ted Williams
"The greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history has done it again! Big Papi!" - Don Orsillo's call of Ortiz's walk-off single