2011 Red Sox
Wait till next year? Why wait? Let's start thinking about the 2011 Red Sox now. Here's how I see next year's team.
Catcher: I see Victor Martinez as almost a must sign in the offseason. He's said he wants to stay and the Red Sox really don't have any options. My guess is that the Red Sox re-sign both Martinez and Jason Varitek and carry Jarrod Saltalamaccia as a third catcher. John Buck is a long-shot free agent acquisition.
1st Base: The Red Sox are set here with Kevin Youkilis as the regular and if they re-sign Victor Martinez he can be the back-up (plus Saltalamaccia can also play 1st which makes carrying 3 catchers easier to justify).
2nd Base: The Red Sox should also be set here with the return of Dustin Pedroia. Bill Hall or Jed Lowrie as the back-ups.
Short: I'm not a Marco Scutaro fan. He's had 18 errors so don't sell me on his defense. His OPS+ this year is just 89 - so don't sell me on his offense. He'll be 35 next season. Unless there was personality issues - I don't understand why they went with this guy over Alex Gonzalez. Best case next year is Jed Lowrie is the starter and Scutaro is traded to a new location.
3rd Base: I don't think Adrian Beltre will be re-signed. He has Scott Boras as his agent and he also has a preference for the West Coast. If he comes back I'll be happy but skeptical due to his history of only performing during contract seasons. If he doesn't come back then Jed Lowrie is the logical replacement (the free agent pool after Beltre is pretty thin). I could see Lowrie as the starter with Youkilis playing every once and a while.
LF: I would like to see the Red Sox sign Carl Crawford and trade Mike Cameron (probably eating half of Cameron's final year). The Red Sox would most likely be losing Adrian Beltre's and Mike Lowell's contracts so that's $21 million right there to help pay for Crawford. Hopefully Bill Hall will be back to be the reserve.
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury gets another chance to show he's healthy. Ryan Kalish is the back-up.
RF: JD Drew.
DH: Pick up David Ortiz's option and let's see how he does / ages.
Starting Pitching: Pretty set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Bullpen: I hope the Red Sox trade Jonathan Papelbon. I really don't care what they get in return. I just don't want him back as closer especially at the probable $12 million price tag he'd get through arbitration. I would spend the money in free agency on Rafael Soriano to close (he'd probably cost less than what Papelbon would get through arbitration) with Daniel Bard as his set-up man. If you keep Tim Wakefield as the long relief/ spot starter that leaves four spots (assuming the Sox carry 12 pitchers). It is the bullpen that really needs attention this offseason. Please no more Joe Nelson's or Scott Schoeneweis' this time around. As a suggestion - how about a trade of Jonathan Papelbon for Jonathan Broxton of the Dodgers? Broxton could use a change of scenery and the Dodgers could use a closer.
Conclusion: The top three priorities for the Red Sox this offseason should be:
1. Re-sign Victor Martinez
2. Sign Carl Crawford
3. Trade Jonathan Papelbon / sign Rafael Soriano / rebuild the bullpen