Only a few weeks into Major League Baseball's offseason, the Boston Red Sox have emerged as one of the teams rampant in rumors and speculation.
Which of these rumors will play out to be true?
That is the focus for Boston over the coming weeks as they look to retain and upgrade a team that carried them to their 2013 World Series championship.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Boston has been very active in early rumors and the pursuit of various players, either via free agency or the trade market.
This author also wrote a piece describing some of the deals the Red Sox could make this offseason.
How does it all play out?
Let us examine the reality of these rumors and try and speculate which deals could happen versus deals that are highly unlikely. Some make sense while others do not—it can be that simple.
Carlos Beltran—Right Field
2013 Salary—$13 million
Rumor: Boston Brings Beltran Onboard
In his article, Rosenthal linked former Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Red Sox.
How feasible is this?
For starters, signing Beltran would have to be in the wake of a number of transpiring elements. It would mean Boston has closed the door on the Jacoby Ellsbury era. In addition, Boston would have to consider what to do with its remaining outfielders—Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.
Nava could—in theory—move to first base, opening up some room in a crowded outfield, but that would have to be in the wake of the Red Sox also losing Mike Napoli.
We've had a very good relationship with Mike on a number of levels, including his health, since we originally agreed to terms last winter. Mike and his agent, [Brian Grieper], have always been fully transparent about what's going on, and we appreciate that. The most important thing, I think, is that he played a full year and had no issues. We don't have any reason to have any more concern than we did last winter. As I've said before, we absolutely have interest in having him back and we'll keep talking to him.
After Napoli declined Boston's qualifying offer, the two parties will have to come to terms on a new contract if Napoli elects to remain with the Red Sox.
Napoli will unquestionably want to get paid after posting a .259 batting average with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs in 2013.
One major obstacle between Napoli and a Red Sox reunion could be the Texas Rangers who are reported to have significant interest in bringing him back.
One thing we do know is that Napoli loves Boston and would love to stay, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
I want to be here. I love this place. They've treated me so good here. The way they've taken care of me, its’ unbelievable. When the time comes I’m pretty sure we’re going to have some conversations. I hope to be back here next year.
The good news is that Boston appears to be in the works for a long-term deal with Napoli, per Ricky Doyle of NESN.com.
While the negotiations have not produced anything yet, it is a good step for Boston if they want to retain Napoli's services. Both parties like each other and both appear interested in Napoli staying with the Red Sox.
As such, it is feasible that Napoli remains in Boston. This time however, it may be for a few more years.
As with any rumors, it may be hard to disseminate between fact and fiction.
The Red Sox, like any other MLB team, are always examining their present and future options. This offseason will be no different.
There are a certain number of players that Boston will want to employ in 2014. The only question is whether or not the cost is worth it.
At any rate, look for the Red Sox to be very active over the coming weeks. They have some needs and would like some upgrades. That much is known. How Cherington goes about this is yet to be determined.
Hopefully, the previous evaluation gives some insight to what actually may take place.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the Boston Red Sox. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.