EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 9, 2013

Don't lose sight of Sox being big-market team

Don’t expect the Boston Red Sox to sign any big-name free agent such as Shin-Soo Choo during the Winter Meetings in Orlando this week.

With first baseman Mike Napoli signed to a new two-year deal, catcher A.J. Pierzynski inked to a one-year contract and both right-handed pitchers Burke Badenhop and Edward Mujica added to strengthen the bullpen depth, the Red Sox admittedly might be done this offseason except for some minor acquisitions/signings.

“It could be that we’ve done most of our heavy lifting for the winter,” GM Ben Cherington said.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the baseball world that the Red Sox aren’t considered a serious suitor for Choo or that they weren’t linked to any big-name free agent this offseason. Likewise, the Red Sox never were serious about re-signing center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who accepted a seven-year, $153 million contract from the Yankees.

Since the Red Sox unloaded Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez on the Dodgers and declared their main principle to be drafting and developing players (and not overspending on free agents), the organization seemingly has been viewed in the same fashion we view small and mid market organizations.

But don’t lose sight of how the Red Sox remain a big-market team and have the resources to sign a top free agent at any moment. It’s difficult to fathom Cherington going the rest of his tenure in Boston without signing a top-five free agent to a contract of five or more years.

But when will the Red Sox again be willing to offer a deal of five or more years to a free agent who they didn’t develop within their system? Could the Red Sox even surprise us and add Choo, the top position player remaining on the market, this week?

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