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What are Red Sox going to do this offseason? Here's a glimpse

Rob Bradford
November 07, 2017 - 7:54 am

Now we can start talking about the players.

The Red Sox officially crossed a major piece of their offseason to-do list off Monday with the announcement of Alex Cora as their manager. Starting Tuesday, they start digging into how the actual on-field product can be fixed. And while it's very, very early in the Hot Stove cycle -- with the general managers meetings slated to kick off next Monday in Orlando -- Dave Dombrowski did offer some hints as to how he plans to approach the latest round of team-building.

Money isn't going to be as much of an issue this time around

The answer to the question was swift and decisive.

"Will you be worried about staying under the CBT (Competitive Balance Tax) like last year."

"No, I do not."

So, there you have it. The Red Sox don't figure to be spending wildly, still having to come to terms on 13 arbitration cases while trying to find a big bat to play either first base or designated hitter. But Dombrowski won't be forced to count his pennies like a year ago.

The Red Sox aren't going to let qualifying offers stand in their way

The system has changed a bit when it comes to penalties for signing players who have been offered qualifying offers. (To understand all the ins and outs, click here.) But what Dombrowski made clear on Monday is that if there is a player he wants to target, the risk of giving up draft picks to do so isn't going to give him too much pause.

There were nine total players who were offered the $17.4 million qualifying offer, meaning if they declined the one-year deal and another team signed them, their new club would be forced to sacrifice draft picks. What that means for the Red Sox is that if they go after first basemen Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana, it will cost them a little more.

The other free agents who were extended qualifying offers include Jake Arrieta, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Lance Lynn, and Mike Moustakas. Two players who might be of interest to the Red Sox who weren't tagged with qualifying offers were shortstop Zack Cozart (if the Sox decide to deal Xander Bogaerts in a Giancarlo Stanton deal) and power-hitting first baseman Logan Morrison.

"I don't think a qualifying offer for someone we really thought was the guy would make a difference," Dombrowski said.

Hanley Ramirez might actually be moving back to first base

Dombrowski explained that the surgery on Ramirez's left shoulder came as somewhat of a surprise, with the righty hitter deciding on the procedure after meeting with Dr. James Andrews shortly after the season. And besides using shoulder correction to get better offensive production, it appears as though the move might also be able to offer the Red Sox more positional flexibility.

"Well, the doctor told him we should be able to anticipate him playing first base if we need him to," the president of baseball operations said. "He said with the surgery he had he should have no limitations with his left arm, left shoulder, moving his glove around. That’s not to say he’ll be our first baseman because we may decide to have a first baseman, and have him DH. But the anticipation is he’ll be able to play first base for us."

This, of course, is a sign that the Red Sox won't shy away from pursuing the likes of J.D. Martinez, an outfielder who would almost certainly be called upon to serve as the team's designated hitter if signed. The other route it might go is to make a run at Hosmer, pushing Ramirez back to the DH spot.

Don't expect a big acquisition at second base

Dombrowski didn't rule out the idea that the Red Sox might bring in somebody to help fill the gap while Dustin Pedroia recovers from his knee surgery (Eduardo Nunez?). But he certainlty didn't make it seem like it was a priority.

"I think we have enough internally but I’m not going to preclude what we’re going to do because I don’t know that," he said. "It depends what other options we might have. We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say. But we like, we had Brock Holt who at the end of the year felt good. We really like Marco Hernandez a lot, he’s healthy, he’ll be ready to go. He’s a real possibility. And then we have [Tzu-Wei] Lin, who’s a utility guy. Deven Marrero can play over there. So do I think we can fill internally, yes. Will we? I’m not sure. We’ll wait and see what happens."

 

Bradfo Sho, Ep. 50: It's time for free agency

Rob Bradford is joined by Pitcher Nick (Friar), former boyfriend of Miss Massachusetts, to discuss which free agents the Red Sox should be prioritizing in the coming weeks. The duo also argues nicknames, wedding proposals and Howie Kendrick.

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