The Patriots were nice enough to have their bye-week the same week the 2015 season came to an end for the Red Sox so some fans were drawn back to the last place Sox for one last time. Which was nice since Sunday was also the last game to be called by fan and player favorite Don Orsillo.
Most Red Sox beat writers wasted no time in opining on what the Boston front office needs to do this winter. To save you the time of reading this fluff I'll summarize 90% of the articles: Dave Dombrowski needs to A. get an Ace and B. get rid of Hanley Ramirez. I largely don't disagree but there more work to be done than that.
At catcher the Red Sox seem set with Blake Swihart (who had a slash line of .303/.353/.452/.805 after the All-Star game) and Christian Vazquez (who was on his way to being the best defensive catcher in the AL before he hurt his arm). Does Dombrowski use one of his young stud catchers as a trade chip?
First base is the biggest question. Travis Shaw hit 13 homers in just 65 games but his splits are extreme. At home he has an OPS of .953 while on the road is just .677. Versus lefties he mashed - batting .329 vs just .243 against righties. Move Hanley Ramirez to first? I'd rather not. A Brock Holt / Travis Shaw platoon might be the best solution if no other pieces are added.
Second (Pedroia), short (Bogaerts), DH (Ortiz) and third (Sandoval) are all-set. I say Boston is set at third mostly because of Pablo Sandoval's contract (he's got 4-years and $78 million left on his deal) but I'm not a fan.
The outfield also seems set with Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo. I'm not sold yet on Castillo but my guess is the Boston brass gives him a full year to see what they've got in him.
Everyone says the Red Sox need an ace with most people pointing to David Price via free agency or Sonny Gray via trade and I'd be happy to get either (unless the asking price for Gray was Betts or Bogaerts). However, as much crap the starting staff took this year - they weren't that bad in the second half of the season.
The bull-pen on the other hand was a mess. I hope this off season sees lots of changes. One person suggested (sorry I forget who) that Dombrowski float a bad contract in Allen Craig (2-years and $21 million remaining) for bad clubhouse person Jonathan Papelbon. Still not sure how I'd feel about that swap.
As always should be an interesting Hot Stove season.