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Could Elvis Andrus be the answer at shortstop for the Boston Red Sox?
1. Seriously Make a Play for Elvis Andrus
With the departure of Mike Aviles to the Toronto Blue Jays as compensation for the Boston Red Sox stealing away manager John Farrell, they are now left with a major hole on the left side of the infield. Jose Iglesias is gifted defensively but has yet to demonstrate he's anywhere close to handling major league pitching.
GM Ben Cherington should think seriously about making a play for Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. With prospect Jurickson Profar seemingly ready for the big time, Andrus could be made available if GM Jon Daniels gets a return package to his liking.
2. Acquire an Impact Outfielder
The Red Sox have a major hole to fill in right field and could have to fill both corner spots if Cody Ross decides to sign elsewhere.
Nick Swisher could possibly be in play for the Red Sox, as could Torii Hunter if he doesn't re-sign with the Los Angeles Angels.
3. Re-Vamp Bullpen
Plenty of question marks surrounding the Red Sox bullpen. Presuming that Andrew Bailey doesn't get injured in spring training again, he would appear to be the closer. Beyond that, everything is up in the air.
Plenty of quality arms are available, such as Mike Adams, Jeremy Affeldt, Luis Ayala, Shawn Camp, Jason Grilli, Brandon League and a host of others. Cherington should be focusing on shoring up his bullpen with some of those quality arms.
4. Acquire Another Quality Starter
In his introductory press conference, new manager Farrell stated that pitching is absolutely a priority in his first season. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz enjoyed their greatest successes while Farrell was their pitching coach, and Farrell also worked with youngster Felix Doubront.
John Lackey will be returning from Tommy John surgery, hopefully back to his mid-to-late 2000s form. Beyond that, the Sox clearly need another impact starter.
My suggestion is Kyle Lohse. Lohse almost definitely won't be back in St. Louis and has been terrific over the past two seasons. A three-year, $30 million deal could do the trick.
5. Acquire First Baseman
I don't see any scenario in which the Red Sox re-sign first baseman James Loney. If there is one area of need the Sox will have, it's in adding another power bat—Loney isn't that guy.
Beyond Adam LaRoche, who could have his 2013 option picked up by the Washington Nationals, the pickings are slim. Cherington may have to use some creativity to acquire his man. Maybe a deal for Justin Morneau would make sense. Morneau seemed to show he was over concussion symptoms with a solid second half in 2012.