Red Sox Adverse to Long Term Deals

Jared Wickerham

Following the largest salary dump trade in baseball history, the Boston Red Sox are unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the past few seasons, shunning long term free agent signings this winter. But can GM Ben Cherington rebuild without over-committing to key players?

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, Boston has signed just two players thus far, securing catcher David Ross for two years/$6M and outfielder Jonny Gomes for two years/$10M. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald explains that the Red Sox are now extremely adverse to signing long term deals like the ones they gave Crawford and Gonzalez.

"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.

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