As the off-season began, I thought the Red Sox were going to be relatively quiet this off-season. Besides some minor tweaking, I did not expect the Red Sox to be players for any of the major free agents. The Red Sox already have a tremendous core group of players, who seem destined to win many baseball games for the Red Sox.
However, the Red Sox did not sit quietly this off-season. Concerned about aging DH David Ortiz and the injury prone Mike Lowell, the Red Sox made an aggressive push to sign free agent 1b Mark Teixeira. At times, the Red Sox appeared to be the front-runner to sign Teixeira, but ultimately Teixeira signed with the Red Sox free spending division rival-the New York Yankees.
We will never know if the Red Sox interest in signing Teixeira ultimately motivated the Yankees to make a strong push for Teixeira. However, the Red Sox must recognize that this signing puts them in a pickle-what to do next?
The Sox seem to have realized that Ortiz and Lowell are likely on the decline and that if they are going to compete with the Yankees and Rays, they will need more production from their DH and third baseman. Both Lowell and Ortiz had down years in 2008, which is a concern because the Sox no longer have Manny Ramirez to produce in the cleanup spot.
However, at this point, the Red Sox best bet is probably to stand pat and hope that Lowell and Ortiz stay healthy and productive. There is no one available on the free agent market right now that would significantly upgrade the Red Sox lineup. With that said, the Red Sox need to make sure they have quality depth on the bench should Ortiz or Lowell go down with an injury or struggle.
There is no reason for the Red Sox to panic. While it’s tough to watch the Yankees sign Teixeira, they are still in a very good position even without Teixeira.