I am officially starting the sign Tori Hunter bandwagon. Guy can still play, with his speed and arm he'd be a good fit for RF and his swing is solid for Fenway. He's boys with Ortiz and a consummate professional that could provide some leadership on a team where it is severely lacking.
Use Kalish, Iglesias, Cecchini, Doubront, Bard, Workman, Wilson, Pimental, anyone not making the 40 man crunch or any redundant piece in the system (e.g., Carpenter, Melancon, Mortensen, Gomez, DeJesus, Lin, Linares, Hazelbarker, ect) as trade chips. Sox farm system is deep as it's ever been and they can afford to trade high upside under performers like Doobie, Kalish and Iglesias right now, if the right piece can be acquired.
Acquire at least one starting pitcher. If the price is right, trade for a 2/3 pitcher - Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Mark Buhrle, Gavin Floyd (in that order). Look at the free agent market, and again if the price is right, try to acquire Jackson or Haren (in that order) on short term deals (no more than 3 years and no more the 20M). If all that doesn't work, look at A. Sanchez, Marcum, Liriano and Guthrie (in that order) on one year fliers, overpay if you have to.
Have De La Rosa, Morales and Aceves compete in spring training for the final rotation spot. If Morales makes the rotation, start De La Rosa down in AAA, go with a 6 man pen and keep an additional position player, preferably an OFer with some speed or a guy that can play 1B/3B with some pop.
I know 7 man pen is not popular because it leaves you short handed if someone is injured. However, with the guys on the roster (Pedro, Sands, Lavarnway, Ross/Choo) they have the positional flexibility to at least start the season this way. The advantage being that it gives them depth in case the starters can't give them innings. They can have 3 RHP and 3 LHP to get 9-12 outs a night if they have to. If Wilson is on the roster, use him in the Mortenson role riding the shuttle up and down. If he is not, pick up someone with options for this reason. Do not sign a bullpen arm, there are enough internal options. As always sign a few struggling vets to minor league deals and hope they stick around to provide depth.
As for positional players sign Hunter then resign Ortiz (I don't care if its one or two years, just get it done). Then try to get Ross back on a team friendly deal, if you can't, walk away and be prepared to use Brentz or Sands as your 4th OF. Then depending on the fate of Ross, look into trading for Choo and Morneau. Tell Lavarnway to bring a 1B mitt to Spring Training with the goal of easing him into the catchers role but getting him ABs as DH and 1B against LHP. Consider signing Stephen Drew, particularly if you have to trade Iglesias to get Johnson.
In an ideal world, I would like to see this roster next year:
Hunter (RF) > Ellsbury (CF) > Pedroia (2B) > Ortiz (DH) > Middlebrooks (3B) > Morneau (1B) > Ross/Choo (LF) > Salty © > Drew (SS)
Ciriaco (UIF) > Sands (1B/LF) > Lavarnway (C/1B)
Buchholz > Lester > Johnson > Lackey > De La Rosa
Bailey > Tazawa > Miller > Bard > Morales > Breslow > Aceves
I think that roster will be highly competitive in 2013, but will not saddle them with contracts over the long term or kill their system's depth. This gives them a chance to be spenders in 2014 and 2015 as the blue chippers are ready to break in.
Edited by jasail, 09 September 2012 - 09:19 AM.