The MLB off-season is in full swing. For the Red Sox, some moves have already been made. The Sox picked up their $7MIL club option for Victor Martinez, as we all knew they would. After the Red Sox declined to pick up the $5MIL club option for Jason Varitek, he exercised his $3MIL player option, so he will be in a Red Sox uniform next year. The Sox signed Tim Wakefeild to a 2 year $5MIL deal, with incentives, making the contract potentially worth up to $10MIL. The Red Sox also declined the club option for SS Alex Gonzalez. Many thought they would still resign Gonzalez, but to a smaller number. Surprisingly, Alex Gonzalez signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, forcing the Sox to either seek out another option at short, or put their faith in Jed Lowery. The Red Sox also made a couple of minor deals sending a pair of prospects to the Marlins for Jeremy Hermida, who was once one of the top rated prospects in baseball. They also acquired INF Tug Hulett from the Royals for a player to be named later or cash. The Red Sox have also been rumored to be shopping 3B Mike Lowell.
With the winter meetings scheduled for December 7, many questions still remain unanswered. Perhaps, most importantly, is Jason Bay going to be the Sox left fielder in 2010? After turning down a 4 year $60MIL deal from Boston already, doubt is beginning to set in, for Red Sox nation. So, if Bay signs elsewhere, what options do the Red Sox have? Bobby Abreu is a very likely, short term solution. Perhaps, the popular choice to replace Bay would be Matt Holliday. Although Holliday will come with a large price tag.
Rumors have also been swirling that the Red Sox are making another aggressive push to land Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. Assuming Toronto will trade Halladay in the AL East, for this deal to get done, the Blue Jays are going to have to realize they aren’t going to clean out a teams farm system for a guy who will be a free agent after 2010. Why would a team give up 2 or more top prospects for a guy who will give you 1 year, and then you’ll have to pay him top dollar or potentially lose him after just 1 season? The Red Sox have already stated that would like to get this deal done before the winter meetings.
Another interesting thing to think about is the Billy Wagner situation. The Red Sox will, most likely, offer Wagner salary arbitration. Which, the rumblings are that Wagner will decline. This means that for a team to sign Wagner they would have to send 2 first round draft picks to the Red Sox. Thus making it difficult for Wagner to get the money he wants, because of the value an organization will lose in parting with the 2 picks. How about the possibility of keeping Wagner and Bard. This scenario, although unlikely, does make Johnathan Papelbon expendable. Now, I realize this seems extreme. However, Papelbon can become a free agent after 2011, and he has made it known he wants nothing, but TOP DOLLAR. Papelbon’s value is as high now, for trading purposes, as it will ever be. Which makes it interesting to consider what they could acquire in exchange for him.