The Boston Red Sox have entered this off season with high hopes for rebuilding the franchise. After pulling off the “Mega Deal” with the Los Angeles Dodgers which shed the enormous contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox may now have the biggest available pay roll in the MLB. This means that the Sox have plenty of “fun” money to spend on acquiring free agents. There are some big names in free agency that the Sox need to take some serious consideration in. The front office, though, seems to have other things in mind rather than spending their money on expensive contacts. So the question is, what’s next for the Boston Red Sox?
The Sox have shown interest in star slugger Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli. Both Napoli and Hamilton, former Texas Rangers, could bring experience and leadership, and run production to a young Red Sox team. The problem is whether the Sox want to take a risk on Hamilton, knowing his past run-ins with substance abuse, and give him the money he wants. Will he really be worth the asking price? His career numbers say “yes” and suggest that he would be a perfect fit, but remember, the Sox recently acquired stars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford who both saw their time in Boston abruptly cut short. Could the same happen with Hamilton?
Mike Napoli would be a different story. Napoli had made his name as a “Red Sox killer” and the Sox are known for quickly disposing of any potential threat; even if that means bringing them on as a member of the organization. Though Napoli is known for his time catching behind the plate, he has shown that he can adapt and play multiple positions; he could make a solid first baseman for the time being. It wouldn’t be uncommon for the Sox to pick up both Hamilton and Napoli, knowing the the teams history of past off-season signings. If the Sox were to sign either player, they would be taking a hard hit to their big pay roll.
With a young outfield now being led by left fielder Jacoby Ellsburry, the Sox might need a veteran presence to help guide their inexperienced players along. That player could be Scott Hairston. Hairston is a 32 year old who has played most of his career in the National League, with one stint in the AL with the Oakland Athletics (2009). Hairston has shown more recently in his career that he can hit with power; during his 2012 campaign he hit 20 HR. The Red Sox may not have to spend too much for a veteran like Hairston; possibly somewhere around the one million range could be enough to bring his talents to Boston.
The Sox have also eyed some pitchers this off season, and have a few candidates for their rotation. Kyle Lohse may be on the top of their wish list. The 34 year old has posted exceptional numbers throughout his career and has just come off a 16-5 win loss record with a 2.86 ERA. Though Lohse has spent most of his career in the National League, he has had experience in the American League with the Minnesota Twins. Lohse would fit quite nicely in the middle of the Sox rotation and would be able to provide veteran leadership and championship experience to a team that has struggled in recent years.
The 2013 season could be an interesting one for the Boston Red Sox if they make some big off-season acquisitions. Though it’s a trend that the Sox front office has promised not to repeat, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Red Sox continue to spend big money on big names.