Will Josh Hamilton fall into the Red Sox' lap this winter?
It's 12:01 a.m. Do you know where your general manager is?
Saturday is Black Friday for MLB teams and general managers.
If it's Ben Cherington, the Boston Red Sox's general manager, hopefully he is on the phone being as aggressive as he can possibly be right from the start.
A couple of things will cause this offseason to be different for Boston:
1. The Red Sox's No. 1 pick for the 2013 draft is protected, meaning Boston can be as aggressive as they want to be without forfeiting their prized pick.
2. Also, by removing so much payroll, the Red Sox can literally do anything that they want to do this winter. Nothing is off of the table, unless it will hurt the team in the long run.
But, if players want the Red Sox's money, they need to go after it.
Here are Cherington's likely restrictions:
No contracts longer than four years and the total value cannot exceed $80 million dollars. The large contracts given out to Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and John Lackey simply did not work out.
The Red Sox have a wave of talent coming in the next couple of years, so the long-term commitments need to be kept to a minimum.
Signed, according to this report from Rob Bradford at WEEI.com. Good move. I'll take Oritz for two years and $26 million.
Should the Red Sox be aggressive in Free Agency?
Call Josh Hamilton and tell him that you are interested in him for three seasons and the offer will be on the table for a while. Maybe other teams will shy away from Hamilton.
Apologize to Hiroki Kuroda for last offseason and tell him that you'd like to bring him to Boston this year.
Tell Torii Hunter that winning in Fenway is different then winning anywhere else. Two years.
Announce to Mike Napoli that we can't beat you, so join us. You can split time between C, 1B and DH. Two years, maybe a third. There will be plenty of at-bats.
If Napoli gives you an indication that he is not interested in coming to Boston, call Nick Swisher and give him the same sales pitch. Come play 1B, LF and DH if needed.
If he is not interested, call Lance Berkman and Adam LaRoche. See if they want to come play in Boston.
Tell Cody Ross that you really want him back, but the contract has to make sense for both sides. If he wants three years, let him see what offers are out there. Let him know that you are going to talk with other players.
Who should the Red Sox sign?
Talk to Shane Victorino at the same time and find out his demands.
Make sure that Scott Boras knows that you want Stephen Drew as your starting SS for the next couple of years.
Let Melky Cabrera know that you are interested in a team friendly, one-year, make-good contract to rebuild his image.
Communicate to all of the free agent starting pitchers that you are interested in a two or three year commitment, but whomever takes you up on the offer first will get the contract.
Ignore Jim Bowden's ridiculous speculation mentioned in this article by Bleacher Report's Zachary Rymer about trading Will Middlebrooks for David Wright.
Call Mariano Rivera once again for old times sake.
You aren't going to sign all of these guys, but that's the point. The only set positions on the roster are 2B, 3B and DH. The Red Sox can go in any direction that they want to.
Now it's up to Ben Cherington to decide where.