Boston Red Sox Rumors: Top 5 Offseason Predictions

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Here Are My Five Predictions to Five Questions

Boston victory
Greg M.Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In last week's slideshow, I wrote about what five top questions the Boston Red Sox would have to answer during the offseason. As a week has gone by, we now know that Boston is definitely going to be in the postseason; as of this date they are just the second team to clinch a spot. Ironically, they were able to punch their ticket on the same day that the Los Angeles Dodgers did. Wow, that trade just seems to look better and better for both sides, doesn't it?

Now that we know that the Red Sox are going to be playing in October, that may change a few things. Some players that may have been overlooked now could play a much bigger role or perhaps someone totally unexpected could step out of the shadows and do something absolutely heroic. That is the beauty of the postseason: a player can step up and make a name for themselves just simply because it is their time. They then might be able to translate the ability to perform on a really big stage into becoming a solid player and making a quality major league career for themselves. Case in point, Dave Henderson from the 1986 Red Sox, who hit a huge home run against the Los Angeles Angels(California, at the time) and not long after that went from bench warmer to everyday player. Maybe a Xander Bogaerts or a Jackie Bradley forces Ben Cherington's hand that much more.

So, here are my five top answers to my previous top five questions. Let's head to the list.

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Keep John Lackey

Lackey pitching
Greg M.Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I thought the best choice would have been to trade John Lackey and make room for a young pitcher. My mind was completely changed based on Thursday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched a great game, had a no-hitter heading into the seventh inning and looked about as good as he ever has in a Boston uniform. This guy may not be considered your ace, but he sure pitched like one. Boston isn't in a must-win situation, but Lackey sure made a lot of fans breathe easier. Another big reason to keep him is that if he pitches like this in October and again in 2014, because he missed the 2012 season due to his elbow, Boston gets a club option for him at the major-league minimum. That's a steal if he is still performing. Keep him.

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Stephen Drew Is Going

Drew at shortstop
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I love Stephen Drew and he has been a much better player than I thought. Great defense, big hits, perfect for this team. However, with Bogaerts waiting in the wings, Boston probably won't keep him. And even if they did, either Will Middlebrooks or Mike Napoli would have to go. Drew's been amazing, but Bogaerts is just that special of a player.

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Absolutely Sign Napoli

Napoli batting
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Napoli has been absolutely pounding the ball in September. He has given David Ortiz protection and he has been very solid at first base, better than expected. As well, he has helped change the clubhouse culture. He used to make a career out of being a Red Sox killer, but it's been great seeing him on the Boston side. He has been worth every penny and he wants to come back. Sign him.

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Uehara closing in 2014, Hanrahan and Bailey gone

Hanrahan pitching
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Koji Uehara has had a closer season for the ages. No doubt about it, he deserves to be in that role next year. Sorry Joel Hanrahan, we hardly knew you. Let Andrew Bailey go, too. He has great stuff but he can't stay healthy. If he is willing to come back in a set-up role, then maybe. He did do well in that role. Boston is much better suited keeping Uehara the closer and focusing on getting great arms to set him up.

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Sign Ellsbury, But At A Price

Ellsbury batting
Greg M.Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury's stock has probably gone down a little bit because he injured his foot. A guy whose game is mostly based on his legs having an injured foot is never a good thing. I think some teams may be worried that he can't stay healthy, Boston included. I feel that the Red Sox have a contract amount in their head. They will offer it to Ellsbury and if he takes it, that's fine. If not, then they turn to Jackie Bradley, Jr. Don't break the bank to sign him. Those contracts rarely end well.

So, there you have it, five answers. Let's talk in December.

Carter Roane is a Boston Red Sox writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter@CarterGRoane, "Like"him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

 

 

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