This August, the Boston Red Sox completed the massive nine player deal that sent Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers and freed up $250M in future payroll.
After several seasons of limited financial flexibility, the Red Sox front office now has less than $100M committed to the 2013 and the ability to sign just about any big-name free agent on the market. However,
"There is simply a strong presumption against long-term free agent commitments; one that may be rebutted, but only with great difficulty," team president Larry Lucchino told Lauber. This new disciplined approach may explain the teams tepid interest in Josh Hamilton and absence from the Zack Greinke bidding. It also helps to explain why Mike Napoli appears to be their top target this off-season, since offers for the catcher/first baseman seem to top out at four years.
As GM Ben Cherington heads to the Winter Meetings, he will be looking to upgrade the Red Sox rotation, land a first baseman and find a solution for right field. With so many needs to address and the team coming off of their first losing season in 15 years, this philosophy will be severely tested this winter.