2012 was a year to forget for the Boston Red Sox and their fans. They only won 69 games, overall the team was just a mess. They didn't like their manager and then they proceded to trade three players with huge contracts (and Nick Punto) to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a result of the trade the Boston Red Sox had cleared over $100M off the books, and also got a couple of solid prospects.
With money to spend the Boston Red Sox have gone out and signed a handful of players to short term deals. Those players include Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, David Ross, and Ryan Dempster. As I stated, all of their free agents got shorter deals, with the three years being the longest. With these shorter contracts, and less money, the Red Sox are also allocating that money between a greater number of players that can fill multiple holes in the short term, rather than giving it all to two or three players.
Marc Normandin of Baseball Nation, located here on the SBNation network, looked into the Red Sox' thinking behind the signings.The article can be read here.
The other difference is contract length -- Boston is using their flexibility to pay players like Victorino, Dempster, and Dempster a bit more money in exchange for cutting down on their demands for years. A team like the Tigersisn't concerned with years as an impediment, because they are to built to win now, in the next couple of seasons while their core is intact. The Red Sox, however, have a different plan: they want to compete now, but what general manager Ben Cherington calls "the next great Red Sox team" isn't finished developing yet. Napoli, Victorino, and Co. are important in the present-day, but as players already in their 30s, the Red Sox don't want them or their contracts around blocking the next wave of talent from within.
In 2015 the Boston Red Sox will have a good number of players leave via free agency, or sign new deals with the team. David Ortiz will become a free agent, Andrew Bailey will hit the market, as will Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, and Franklin Morales. It's likely that Jacoby Ellsbury will be gone. The Red Sox will also have to start deciding if they want to re-sign Pedroia and Lester to long-term contracts.
They also have some young talent in the minors, most notably 20 year old prospect, Xander Bogaerts. As a 19 year old Bogaerts dominated High A and AA ball. In AA he showed some good power, posting a .598 SLG%, but that was in only 23 games. From what I've read though his bat sounds like the real deal.
The Red Sox still want to be competitive in 2013, but they realize that the next time they begin another title run might not come until two or three years down the line.
Questions for the community:
1) Do you think the Red Sox are handling this situation the right way?
2) Can they contend in two years, or do you think it will take longer?