Adrian Gonzalez allows Boston to narrow their focus in the offseason.
The Red Sox have Adrian Gonzalez wrapped up in a nice little package, ready to play. The good thing for the Red Sox is they now can focus on the other cogs in the machine that is the Red Sox. This clears the air for many issues which people have been debating, but there is no question now that the Red Sox have a dangerous batting team. Depending on what they choose, you could see Boston have a powerhouse team, or a sickening combination of speed and power. Regardless, getting Gonzalez to 1st gives the Red Sox great defense at the corners. Here's some things the Red Sox should be up to after this deal is inked.
The question to pose now is which direction do you want to go? You got a huge power bat in Adrian Gonzalez, and everyone seemed to be riding high on Jayson Werth for the fact he could give power. Truth is, this makes the Red Sox more viable contenders for either outfielder.
While many will still say Jayson Werth is still a needed bat, the idea of having two insanely fast outfielders to go along with David Ortiz, Kevin Youkillis, and now Adrian Gonzalez would be another interesting thing to see. In the end, I will venture a guess and say it ends up Carl Crawford, but I can guarantee the Red Sox will sign one of these two outfielders.
The other issue still to be addressed is Jacoby Ellsbury. His rehab was not well liked by Red Sox management, and he has gone from untouchable to trade bait. If the Red Sox are looking to get a relief pitcher through a trade, teams will not hesitate to mention Ellsbury's name. Especially if the Red Sox get one of the two previously mentioned outfielders, the Red Sox may be willing to take a chance with Ryan Kalish, who after this season appears to be the closest prospect to major league standards.
Unless the Red Sox tender Papelbon as reports have indicated they are trying, the Red Sox will be moving Jonathan Papelbon, either moving Daniel Bard to the closing position, or pursuing Kerry Wood. The Red Sox made it apparent they wanted Scott Downs during last season, but now that he is a free agent the Red Sox only have to pony up the money and the years. Expect Downs to become the replacement for Okajima, who is non-tendered.
After this, the Red Sox may have to look a little bit down the bullpen and make sure that they really like their bullpen. I still wouldn't be satisfied. I would try to get a mid-relief pitcher as well, but that is the bottom of the bullpen needs as of now. I see the Red Sox having at least two new names in the bullpen from outside their system, and losing one.
This is pretty obvious, but after the dust of the offseason settles for the Red Sox settles, they will have to realign their revamped lineup. I'm guessing the starting rotation goes Lester, Bucholz, Beckett, Lackey, Matsuzaka. Tim Wakefield will of course be there to back up, but will also provide long relief in the bullpen. Other than Wakefield, I'm going to leave out the bullpen because of the eminent changes that are somewhat dependent on who's available through trade and free agency.
Then comes the outfield. If you get Werth, there will have to be somewhat serious changes in the outfield. I would somewhat expect Werth to play the Monster, Ellsbury as the speediest would have to go back to center, despite his struggles there previously, and JD Drew would remain in right. If Carl Crawford came, he would go to center field, with Ellsbury playing the Monster and Drew remaining in right. There's many more situations if Ellsbury were to leave. The Red Sox would then likely acquire Crawford, and then there's that astronomical chance the Sox get both Werth and Crawford. But I am willing to guess that will not happen.
Lastly, the batting order. Jacoby Ellsbury, if he remains, will most likely take leadoff, with second baseman Dustin Pedroia second. Here's where it gets good. Right now, without Werth or Crawford, the Red Sox would go Youk, Gonzo, Papi. Try pitching around that. If they got Werth, it would be reason to fear the top of the lineup. If they got Crawford, the worry would become baserunners.
Overall the Red Sox are by no means done this offseason if they want to win. Expect a lot out of Theo, and hopefully we get a lot out of him.