Offseason Moves, Free Agency Will Be Key to Red Sox’ Revitalization in 2013

Offseason Moves, Free Agency Will Be Key to Red Sox' Revitalization in 2013It's official, and it has been for a while. The Red Sox will not make the playoffs, and they also will suffer their first losing season since 1997.

As the top five teams from the AL and NL begin their preparations for the postseason, calendars in New England can begin the countdown until spring training in 2013.

With the hot stove only months away, a plethora of questions await the Red Sox and some big names in the clubhouse. Will David Ortiz stay in Boston? Is Bobby Valentine coming back? Will we ever see the likes of Daisuke Matsuzaka again in Beantown? So many questions, and no answers … yet.

Unloading big contracts opens up a lot of salary space for Ben Cherington to play with, but will he? Is this a new era of Red Sox baseball, or will another big name make a splash in the offseason?

Have
the Red Sox learned their lesson on investing in big-name free agents, and will
David Ortiz get a new deal from the Red Sox?
–Stanley Moreau

I
think the Red Sox have learned from their past decisions and now will likely stay
away from long-term deals. Not to say that they will not spend equal money to
years past, but perhaps more wisely and for shorter periods of time. I think a
return to a farm system emphasis is also possible. I do think that they will
re-sign Ortiz for two years and likely for somewhere around
$24 million. The problem for David is that he is one of a kind. There is no DH
to compare him to. Also his value is far larger here than on the open market. I
think he falls in the Derek Jeter category as the face of the franchise.

Is
Cody Ross going back to San Francisco?

– Karina Tarte

Not
that I am aware of. I know he would like to stay here and sign a multiyear
deal to stay. I think he likes this stage and is the type of player who raises
his game in this atmosphere. His adrenaline reaches its peak playing in front of
these crowds and this kind of pressure. Some guys can't play here but he can. I am hopeful that they work something out to bring him back — he is a quality player and person and fits very nicely here in Boston.

Is
there any chance the Sox could lure John Farrell back from Toronto to manage
next season? –Steve Allen

I
know all the rumors are that they could bring him here. His season was similar
to the one the Red Sox had from an injury standpoint and record wise. I think
his familiarity with the players, especially the pitchers, would give him instant
credibility. The Blue Jays would likely want some sort of compensation since he
remains under their control for next year. There were rumors last offseason
that it would take a Major League-ready player to even consider a deal. Of
course all of this relies on whether the Red Sox decide to have Valentine
return and finish his two-year deal.

Any
chance that Terry Francona will come back?

Paulette Russell, West Kingston, R.I.

I
think I have had this question in my mailbox almost every week this season. I
think Francona will manage next season but I do not think it will be
here. I think there will be several openings where he has past relationships
and his reputation alone will make him the front-runner. I also think he would
like to be back on the field and managing a club. He is a highly competitive
baseball man and while broadcasting is competitive enough for some of us I know
he would rather be competing for wins and in uniform.

What do you think will happen with Dice-K in the next year?
–Joseph Griffith

I think he will stay in
the majors and pitch somewhere but more likely in the NL where the lineups are
not as deep. I think he could thrive there and I also know he really does not
want to return to Japan to finish his career. I think he would consider it a step
backwards to return and that he still feels he can pitch well at this level
here.