The 2013 MLB offseason has already seen a number of teams making trades and teams making both large and small moves in the free agent market. The Boston Red Sox are one of these teams. Lets go through a quick rundown of the notable moves the defending champs have made in the early part of the offseason:
The first major move Boston made was trading minor league player Luis Ortega for Milwaukee’s relief pitcher Burke Badenhop. As a Brewer in 2013, Badenhop posted a 3.47 ERA and a 42/12 K/BB ratio in 62 innings. He will most likely pitch in a middle relief role for the Sox in 2014.
The Red Sox also did not tender relief pitcher Andrew Bailey’s contract or prospect outfielder Ryan Kalish’s contract, making both free agents. Losing Bailey stings in a way, seeing as we gave up Josh Reddick, who is now an elite outfielder with the Oakland Athletics, for two years of injured and subpar pitching. In Kalish the Sox lose a once promising organizational prospect who, after several promising season, followed those up with injury filled campaigns.
Coming into the offseason, the Red Sox had a major question to answer: Who will be the catcher in 2014? Well, early on, former catcher Jarrod Saltamalachia signed a 3 year, $21 million dollar deal with the Miami Marlins, so we know it won't be him. The Red Sox went out and all but answered those questions by signing former White Sox and Rangers catcher AJ Pierzynski to a 1 year $8.25 million dollar deal. With Texas in 2013, the 37 year old batted .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs. The Red Sox plan to have AJ be their starting catcher with returning veteran David Ross catch 50-60 games as a backup.
The next move may not have come to a shock to some, but the Red Sox let former All-Star centerfielder Jacoby Ellsburry leave their team in free agency. However, not many may have projected that he would sign a 7 year, $153 million dollar deal with the longtime rival New York Yankees. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox offer to Jacoby was “far, far away” from the Yankees eventually signed the outfielder for. The Red sox will receive a compensatory draft pick from the Yanks in the 2014 Amatuer Draft from the signing.
The Red Sox then went on to sign former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Edward Mujica to a two year, $9.5 million dollar deal. The 29 year old posted a career high 2.78 ERA along with 37 saves for the NL Champions, and was selected for his first All-Star team. Mujica most likely fills in as protection for Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, and as an eighth inning setup option for the 2014 bullpen.
The latest move in a series of signings and resignings was bringing back fan favorite and powerful first baseman Mike Napoli to a 2 year $32 million dollar deal. In his first year with Boston, the 32 year old hit .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs, helping the team to their third World Series title in the past 9 years.
Despite all of this action, Boston wasn’t even the busiest team in the early stages of the offseason. To put it all into perspective, the Winter Meetings, where the majority of the signings and trades and large moves usually happen, hasn’t even occurred yet. Are all of these moves a prelude to what will be an even more exciting Winter Meetings, or a sign that the Red Sox may not have much more work to be done? With Ellsburry gone, a vacant hole in Fenway's center field is now open, and many are asking who will fill it.
Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington says that "we feel pretty good about where we are" but believes that there still is work to do. This now begs the question, do the Sox go for the large scale moves with names that have been tossed around like outfielder Matt Kemp of the Dodgers or top of the line free agent outfielder Sin Soo Choo, or do they feel safe with staying with their in house options, like Jackie Bradley Jr.? More than likely, these questions, and more, will be answered during the annual Winter Meetings, which will be held December 9-12 in Orlando, Florida.