Red Sox

Time to fire up the Hot Stove

Posted by Steve Silva, Staff  November 2, 2010 09:50 AM

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Theo and Ortiz

Now that the Giants have been crowned World Series champions for the 2010 season, it's time to turn our focus to 2011 and the Red Sox roster.

There's lots of work to be done to rebuild the third-place Red Sox. The Sox have only five days of exclusive negotiating rights with Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek, who were among the first players to file for free agency. And the Sox must make a decision on David Ortiz this week.

To get the stove cranking, here's a look at the latest rumors and available players that may impact the Red Sox this offseason:

Will David Ortiz get a multi-year deal from Boston this week? Ortiz told recently that he's not comfortable coming back for the final year of his current contract, and the Red Sox must decide whether to pick up Ortiz's $12.5 million option by Thursday or consider offering the 34-year-old designated hitter a new multi-year contract.

"I'm not comfortable coming back just for one year because it's going to be the same roller-coaster that I had this year," he said. "All the question marks. People still don't realize what you're capable of doing even after eight years. I'm the kind of guy who likes to be left alone, play my game and be the best at my position."

In today's Globe 10.0, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy debate what the Red Sox should do with David Ortiz.

Is Carl Crawford the answer to fire up the Red Sox fan base? According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox are going to go hard after the fleet-footed outfielder:

“There is no doubt in my mind that they are going to go really hard after Carl Crawford. That will be a matchup with the Angels, and you know there are some puffs of smoke coming out of New York that suggest the Yankees might go after him, even though their primary need is pitching.”

ESPN's Buster Olney has more on the Crawford pursuit:

Carl Crawford is going to get extraordinary offers as a free agent this offseason, but if everything is equal (if the Red Sox or the Yankees make the same level of offer as the Angels) do not underestimate the impact of the competitive callus Crawford has built up against Boston and New York in his career. For years, he has been battling the Red Sox and Yankees, and he will need to be persuaded to join them, according to a friend.

Crawford and Jayson Werth, another veteran outfielder the Sox are reportedly interested in pursuing, are both Type A free agents.

Can the Sox hang on to catcher Victor Martinez? Gammons doesn't think so at this point:

I don’t expect Victor Martinez to come back [to Boston], I think Detroit is going to give him four or five years. And I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher.

Where will Adrian Beltre land? According to the Globe's Peter Abraham, the Tigers are in the mix for the third baseman:

The Red Sox and Tigers are doing a little dance as teams prepare for free agency. Detroit has apparently decided to keep Brandon Inge and have him play third base, which takes one team out of the mix for Adrian Beltre. However, the Tigers are said to be very interested in Victor Martinez after light hitting Alex Avila did their catching last season. Then there's Carl Crawford. The Sox would love to have him and so would the Tigers, who see a Crawford-Austin Jackson combination giving them premier defense in the outfield. The Tigers had Ryan Raburn in left field for most of last season.

Is the captain returning to the Red Sox? The Globe's Nick Cafardo writes that Jason Varitek would be a nice veteran backup for the Brewers, who need someone to mentor Jonathan Lucroy, but the veteran catcher is still in Boston's plans.

Cafardo also reports today that the Red Sox have told Bill Hall they will reject the $9.25 million option but want the utility man back. Hall is expected to see what's available for a starting job, but could return to Boston.

With John Farrell heading off to Canada to manage the Blue Jays, the Sox are in the hunt for a new pitching coach, and Curt Young continues to lead the pack of favorites to replace Farrell. Buster Olney wrote last week that, barring a dramatic change, the Red Sox will hire Young, who recently ended a seven-year tenure with the A's and has a relationship Terry Francona, who was a coach in Oakland before becoming manager of the Red Sox [Update: Young named Sox pitching coach].

On the front office side, it looks like J.P. Ricciardi is considering joining the Red Sox braintrust according the New York Post's Joel Sherman:

[Mets GM] Sandy Alderson is expecting to hear no later than today from J.P. Ricciardi if the former Blue Jays GM will accept a key role in baseball operations. Ricciardi also is weighing an offer from the Red Sox. The Boston job holds particular allure to Ricciardi because he still lives in Worcester County, Mass., and has two school-age boys he wants to stay close to. Besides the obvious — the Red Sox in Boston — the organization’s top two minor league affiliates, Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland (Maine), are within a reasonable drive. However, Ricciardi has told friends the allure of working again with Alderson, who he considers a mentor, also is attractive, especially since he might be able to do a significant piece of his work from home.

For a look at more players who may be on the Red Sox radar this offseason, take a look at our free agent photo gallery.

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