BOSTON -- The Hot Stove season is here, and not soon enough for the Red Sox.Now that the World Series is over, new manager (and former Astros bench coach) Alex Cora can go full speed ahead in learning the ins and outs of the organization and getting to know his
BOSTON -- The Hot Stove season is here, and not soon enough for the Red Sox.
Now that the World Series is over, new manager (and former Astros bench coach) Alex Cora can go full speed ahead in learning the ins and outs of the organization and getting to know his players.
Meanwhile, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski can start plotting the moves for a team that has won the American League East title the past two years to take a step forward.
Free agents: 1B Mitch Moreland, RHP Addison Reed, OF Chris Young, OF Rajai Davis, RHP Doug Fister
Arbitration-eligible: RF Mookie Betts, SS Xander Bogaerts, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., LHP Thomas Pomeranz, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Brandon Workman, C Sandy Leon, RHP Steven Wright, INF Brock Holt, C Christian Vazquez, RHP Carson Smith, RHP Tyler Thornburg LHP Robbie Ross Jr., INF Josh Rutledge
Who's on first?
The Red Sox need more production, and first base is often a position you can find a power bat. Moreland is a free agent, and he was a nice fit on a one-year deal. But Dombrowski might make a run at a more consistent hitter at first base, such as Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana. When Boston signed Moreland to a one-year deal last offseason, there were some within the organization who thought prospect Sam Travis would be ready to step in as the everyday guy in 2018. But Travis -- ranked as the Red Sox's No. 3 prospect -- didn't produce as much as the club hoped in '17, so it would be hard to bank on him.
Will Dombrowski reunite with J.D.?
While with the Tigers, it was Dombrowski who signed J.D. Martinez off the scrap heap in 2014 after he was released by the Astros. Dombrowski and Detroit were rewarded significantly by that signing, as Martinez emerged as a highly productive right-handed bat. For that reason, Dombrowski will have a lot more competition this time around. Martinez was a monster in '17, belting 45 homers to go along with a 1.066 OPS. He smashed 29 of his homers in the 62 games after he was traded to Arizona. Martinez is a corner outfielder, meaning that his addition would mean a move back to center field for Andrew Benintendi or Betts. In that case, what would happen to Bradley?
Hitting and pitching coach?
Rookie manager Cora is still in the process of finding a hitting coach and pitching coach. The hitting coach is of particular interest given Boston's surprising inconsistency on offense last season. Given that Cora's background is as a position player, his selection of pitching coach will be important as he starts his managerial career.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.