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Core Players Under Contract Through 2014
C/DH Ryan Lavarnway, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Will Middlebrooks, LF Daniel Nava, SP Jon Lester (2014 option), SP Clay Buchholz, SP Felix Doubront, SP John Lackey, RP Andrew Bailey
After their August blockbuster with the Dodgers, and with guys like David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and potentially Jon Lester headed for free agency this winter or next, the Red Sox's core of players has shrunk significantly.
Pedroia remains the heart of the offense, and Middlebrooks showed plenty before an injury ended his season, but whether or not the team extends Ellsbury will be the biggest question surrounding the offense. The rotation is a mess, and getting Lackey back likely isn't the answer.
Incoming Impact Prospects
SS Jose Iglesias, SS/3B Xander Bogaerts, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., RF Bryce Brentz, SP Allen Webster, RP Chris Carpenter
Bogaerts is the pride of the Red Sox organization, hitting .307 BA, 20 HR and 81 RBI as a 19-year-old last season, reaching Double-A in the process. His future may be at third base, but once he's ready, the Red Sox will make room for him.
Bradley is an exciting prospect as well, and his continued progression could be reason enough for the team to not give Ellsbury a big payday. The pitching remains the question, though, as Dodgers acquisition Webster could contribute next year. Anthony Ranaudo is close if he's healthy, but the team has little else.
The Red Sox have nearly $80 million coming off the books this coming season alone, as they are in a position both financially and personnel wise to completely overhaul their franchise.
The front office knows what it takes to build a sustainable winner, and they won't opt for a simple, quick fix by spending a ton of money this offseason, so expect a few trying years before they make their return to contention.