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Under Cora, Sox head to camp with title hopes

Dombrowski pleased with foundation, remains in search of power bat
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- With two elite power pitchers (Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel) smack in the middle of their primes and a talented young core of position players (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi) in place for the next few years, the Red Sox would like to maximize their window of opportunity and bring another World Series to Boston while this group is still together.

This isn't to say the window will slam shut. You can never say that for a franchise that has the resources the Red Sox possess.

BOSTON -- With two elite power pitchers (Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel) smack in the middle of their primes and a talented young core of position players (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi) in place for the next few years, the Red Sox would like to maximize their window of opportunity and bring another World Series to Boston while this group is still together.

This isn't to say the window will slam shut. You can never say that for a franchise that has the resources the Red Sox possess.

But as president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and his front-office staff get ready for the start of Spring Training on Feb. 14, the hope is that the pieces are just about in place for a team that can go all the way.

"We have a really good foundation of players that we like and really can be a foundation for years to come," said Dombrowski.

Video: Red Sox have stability but still seek helpful bat

Of course, Dombrowski would still like to add another piece in what has been a slow-to-develop offseason. The goal is to land a big bat, and free agent J.D. Martinez seems to be the best fit out there.

Though negotiations between the Red Sox and Martinez have plodded along for weeks without a contract, Opening Day is still seven weeks away. So until another team signs Martinez, Boston is still very much in the mix.

If Martinez signs elsewhere, the Red Sox could either stand pat or seek another power bat like Logan Morrison. If they take the stand-pat approach, it will give Dombrowski a chance to evaluate his offense leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. There's also a chance that corner infield prospect Michael Chavis could be ready to give the team a boost late in the season, much like Benintendi and Rafael Devers did the past two seasons.

What else is Dombrowski looking for? At this point, a depth starter and a lefty reliever remain on the radar.

Video: Alex Cora on the Red Sox

For the most part, the Red Sox like the roster they have under new manager Alex Cora.

A team that won 93 games and the American League East title the past two years has also lost in the AL Division Series in consecutive seasons to an eventual pennant winner (Indians) and World Series champion (Astros).

In other words, the Red Sox are eager to take that next step and now seems to be the best time to capitalize.

This is the last year the Red Sox are guaranteed to have both Kimbrel and Sale. Kimbrel is entering the final season of his contract and Sale can become a free agent after '19.

Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who is coming off the best season of his career, is also entering his walk year. Bogaerts can be a free agent after '19.

Video: Outlook: Bogaerts needs power rebound to be elite

Fortunately, the Red Sox have contractual control of Betts and Bradley through 2020. Benintendi has another five years before he can become a free agent and Devers will be under the team's control for the next six seasons.

Add in veterans David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Rick Porcello, and the Red Sox feel they have a good mix entering Spring Training.

If another ingredient or two needs to be added, Dombrowski and his staff will be ready.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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