With less than a day before the winter meetings are scheduled to start in Nashville, I wanted to take a quick look at the Boston Red Sox roster and do a quick primer and preview of what the Sox can likely be expected to do at each position.
Catcher: The Sox have a surplus here, and given the lack of quality catching throughout the majors, I'd be surprised if either Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway isn't traded during the meetings. Both would likely be traded for pitching, and Salty probably has a little more value at this point.
First Base: Right now an area of need, demonstrated by the Sox talking to Mike Napoli and Adam LaRoche. I would expect the Sox to try and get some sort of resolution to this position before they leave Nashville. It is mentioned in this story from the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore that the Sox are one of five teams currently interested in LaRoche.
Second Base: The Sox are set here with Dustin Pedroia.
Shortstop: The Sox are saying all of the right things concerning Jose Iglesias, but I think that this is a position that the Sox are on the lookout for a major upgrade or a one-year insurance policy to protect themselves. Stephen Drew still makes a lot of sense for this team.
Third Base: One of the few bright spots during the 2012 season was the emergence of Will Middlebrooks. If the Sox are looking to sell the future of the team, they had better hope that most of the prospects in the minors come to majors and have the impact that Middlebrooks had on the Sox.
Left Field: The Sox made a big point yesterday while introducing Jonny Gomes to the media, mentioned in this column by Boston.com's Peter Abraham, that Gomes wasn't going to be strictly a platoon player for the Sox. Gomes' career numbers scream using him with another player, but the Sox seem to be taking the approaching of giving Gomes a chance to be a full-time outfielder.
Center Field: Sox president Larry Lucchino made a point of stating on WEEI radio that the Sox are planning on holding on to Jacoby Ellsbury and seeing if he can have a great season during his free-agent walk year.
Right Field: Right now this position is open depending upon what the Sox decide to do concerning Cody Ross and Nick Swisher. Maybe both players will price themselves out of the Sox' range and someone else will pop up on the radar.
Starting Rotation: This seems to be the biggest area need and the one major area that Sox fans are a little disappointed and frustrated in the lack of buzz concerning potential moves. Jon Lester has actually been the biggest subject of rumors so far, according to this article from the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton. Lester, Buchholz, Lackey and Doubront are currently in the rotation, but I still feel need that the Sox need to add two starters and make everyone come to camp and earn a job.
Bullpen: The Sox bullpen was actually pretty solid, and they will be returning almost the entire group. The wild card is Daniel Bard. If Farrell can return Bard back to his previous form, then the Sox bullpen moves to another level. Also, based on Andrew Bailey's poor showing and injury history, the Sox should get some closer insurance this winter.
What will the Sox do? I think that they will come out of the meetings with one of the Ross, Swisher, LaRoche and Napoli group signed to a contract. I think a catcher will be traded for pitching. The Sox pursuit of a legitimate No. 3 starter will intensify and maybe lead somewhere.
Biggest splash? The Sox trade for a long-term shortstop, or an impact outfielder or starting pitcher.
Surprise Sox player traded? Just a hunch, but Clay Buchholz figures to be a valuable trade chip for the team to use. He might be able to get an impact player or two back.
Hopefully the Sox have a surprise or two up their sleeves.