Red Sox offseason: Infield depth creates opportunity

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The World Series champs may have just executed on the field, but now their front office will go to work to make sure they have a chance to repeat in 2014.

If the Red Sox are going to repeat as World Series champs in 2014, they'll need to fill the likely holes Jacoby Ellsbury and others leave behind.

Their front office has proven to be innovative, and adaptive to the changes in the league's new collective bargaining agreement.

While they aren't likely to dump anymore well-compensated payroll burdens on the shores of the west coast this season, they will have to make some expensive decisions on some of the players that helped them bring home their 3rd Series title in the last 10 years.

Free Agents

Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan, John McDonald

Ellsbury, Napoli, and Drew will all be tendered the qualifying offer. Ellsbury is almost certain to leave, which will net the Sox at least one extra draft pick in next year's draft. Napoli has said he'd like to return and the Sox could probably still use Drew despite already having Xander Bogaerts on the left side of the infield. Saltalamacchia would be a welcome returning member of the 2013 team, but he may end up pricing himself out of a job in Boston. Hanrahan is recovering from Tommy John surgery and might need to prove himself again before fielding any substantive Major League offers.

Needs

Catcher

Not many. Jackie Bradley, Jr. will probably be a big part of the team's plan to replace Ellsbury. The Sox farm is consistently strong. So they should be able to field another competitive team in 2014 even if a few solid players leave. If Saltalamacchia isn't retained they might want to look at adding an offensive weapon to the roster to complement David Ross. Brian McCann could probably grow a pretty gnarly beard...

Trade Pieces

Infield

Boston could decide to improve their roster through the trade market. If they do they'll have a wide selection of minor leaguers to shop. Their system was recently ranked the best in baseball by Baseball America. Of course, that includes Bogaerts, Bradley, and Allen Webster, and all of those players will likely see time in the Majors in 2014. But even so, they have the fire power to go after anyone they like with those guys as their ammunition. They're deep in the infield as an organization, Garin Cecchini and Mookie Betts might be moveable pieces considering the Sox are set at second for some time and the might retain Stephen Drew.

What do you think the Red Sox should do?

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