The Jason Bay Decision
With their arch rivals winning the World Series this year, you better believe the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to get back at the Yankees.
Boston played 162 games this past season only to get swept by the Angels in the playoffs. Almost seems like a waste. The Red Sox won't let that happen again.
General manager Theo Epstein has his eyes on a few key players if the team cannot keep Bay.
Bay batted .267 with 36 homers and 119 RBI's. He led the team with 94 walks, but he also led with 162 strikeouts.
171 players applied for free agency, so there are plenty of big names on the market.
The Boston Herald reported that the Red Sox are currently interested in outfielders Matt Holliday and Rick Ankiel. Third basemen Adrian Beltre and reliever Mike Gonzalez are also on Boston's radar.
Holliday did have a greater batting average compared to Bay. He hit .313 with 24 home runs and 109 RBI's.
If the Red Sox do not sign Bay, I would expect them to go after Holliday. He would be a great fit in Boston. He has a little less power than Bay, but hits for more average.
If they do keep Bay, they won't even need to go after Holliday. Bay has earned some experience in Boston and has learned how to field in front of the green monster.
According to Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox may be shopping third baseman Mike Lowell. Not only that, but they may also pay half of his salary. Adrian Beltre and Adrian Gonzalez could fit in as a replacement as Lowell. Lowell had surgery in 2008 and has since slowed down and lost range because of it.
David Ortiz struggled most of the season last year, and is staying fit this offseason. He plans for a big return, and hopefully fans can see "Big Papi" as he was a couple years back.
Tim Wakefield was signed for two more years which means he will be pitching until he is at least 45. He is a big part of the Red Sox team and it is amazing at how consistent he can be. When I say that I don't mean how the knuckleball can be, but how he is always a starter for the Sox. He has been with Boston since 1995 and has earned close to 2,000 strikeouts.
Jason Varitek has exercised his option and will be back on the team. He batted .209 this past season, but serves as a reliable catcher and a tremendous leader. The Red Sox will make Victor Martinez the starting catcher, rather than having him play first base. Varitek will serve as the backup
Regardless of what the Red Sox choose to do, they will be competitive by next April. Epstein will make sure the team is ready to go, especially with the opening series against the Yankees.
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