Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to win the World Series for the Boston Red Sox, and as soon as that happened the 2013 baseball season officially ended. Three prominent Red Sox players became free agents in Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew. Many Red Sox fans are very interested and perhaps a bit concerned wondering what is going to be the future for these three players.
These players are pretty big names that are out there on the free agent market, Ellsbury in particular. They were all given qualifying offers from the Boston Red Sox and all three players turned the offer down which almost every player in this situation does. This is a relatively new process having been established only within the last season or two, and it feels like fans don’t exactly understand how this offer works. Just because they turned down this offer doesn’t mean that they can’t negotiate with the Red Sox. It just means now that they are free to negotiate with other teams, and it also means that whatever team signs one of them will forfeit a draft pick to Boston.
The forfeiting of a draft pick can sometimes work out very well for a team. For example, the St.Louis Cardinals were given a draft pick from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when they signed Albert Pujols. The draft pick the Cardinals ended up getting turned out to be a pitcher by the name of Michael Wacha. You may have heard of him. So even if Boston does not sign all their free agents, they can certainly have the opportunity to look towards the future with a high quality draft pick.
My guess is that at the very least Boston will sign one of their free agents and it would probably be Napoli. He seems to be the best fit, he loves playing in Boston and he would be worth every penny of a contract.
If they don’t sign everyone, though, that is okay. Who knows, maybe in a few years we will be talking about a player that Boston drafted that is even better than a player they lost this winter.