The work is done for the Red Sox players; who brought home the title to Boston for the third time in eleven years, but the front office is already working on the 2014 Red Sox roster even with their suits still stained from the celebratory champagne spilt just over a month ago. This task may seem easy from a far, however the front office is faced with the dreaded task of replacing three starters from that championship team.
What is the dreaded cause of many players leaving their homes for many years in professional sports? The answer is increased currency and notoriety. The best escape route to get to the promised land? FREE AGENCY. At the end of the year certain players’ contracts run up and the player has the choice to either re-negotiate with his club for an extended period, one year deal, etc. OR he can test the Free Agent market. The Free Agent market works like your local market, well sort of. A team/club can pick up any Free Agent available if the player accepts their offer. How does this simple process become such a huge fiasco during the offseason? Some say its due to the separation of the teams fanclub from that respective player, or the exitement of the franchise that signs a new player.
For the 2013 Red Sox, the losses so far have been; Jacoby Ellsbury (To NYY), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (To MIA), Ryan Kalish and Andrew Bailey were let go by choice by the club. The Red Sox have expressed little interest in resigning their shortstop free agent Stephen Drew, So that opens up Center Field, Short Stop, and Catcher. The offseason signings by Boston have been undramatic, to say the least. Catcher AJ Pierzynski has been signed to replace Saltalamacchia, and Edward Mujica a strong relief pitcher from St. Louis. But the one strong off season success the Red Sox front office can hang their hat on is the resigning of First basemen Mike Napoli. The bearded legend returns to Boston for another four more years.
The path to repeat a title is always an uphill one, however the odds last off-season of winning a championship were far greater. The mostly subtle signings last year of Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Koji Uehara seemed dull at the time but little did Red Sox fans know in January of 2013; but those moves resulted in a championship. So Free Agency of 2014 is upon us and the Red Sox have parted ways with numerous characters and the heartthrob of the team in Ellsbury. But rest assured Sox fans, everything will fall into place and the boys will be back in April.
- Mike Napoli Agrees to 2-Year, $32 Million Deal with Boston Red Sox (bleacherreport.com)
- Source: Red Sox to sign catcher Pierzynski (espn.go.com)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia Pens Thank You Letter to Red Sox Fans, Says It Was ‘Best Three-Plus Years of My Life’ (nesn.com)
- Mujica, Red Sox finalize $9.5M, 2-year deal (nbcsports.com)