The offseason for the Boston Red Sox began with a bang. A late season collapse saw the exit of two-time World Series winning manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Esptein, who were replaced respectively by Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington.
The Red Sox' finish to last season needs little documentation at this point. Sox fans have heard all the ugly rumors concerning clubhouse chemistry—whether or not they were wholly true.
The historically bad September collapse did expose some major organizational flaws, however. During the final month of the season, the Red Sox posted a 5.84 staff ERA and a 7.08 starting ERA. Both figures were the worst of any major league team during that time period, and the organization's general lack of pitching depth was greatly exposed.
Despite all of this, the Red Sox still won 90 games—a figure which may have been good for a wild card or divisional title in another division, in another season—and they have a huge chunk of payroll committed to a generally young, talented core group of baseball players.
This offseason presents a unique set of questions to management. How much does it tinker with the team? How much in terms of player personnel needs to change? What is the most cost efficient way to improve the team?