Recapping The Red Sox: Varitek, Beltre, Papelbon, Non-Tenders, Oh My!

With the most recent news that the Red Sox non-tendered both of their recent bullpen acquisitions in Taylor Buchholz and Andrew Miller (wait, what?), it seemed like the last 24 hours were as deserving as any other of a recap post.

The whole sequence starts as it just ended, with non-tender news...

As the date changed last night, it came out that the Red Sox would not be offering Hideki Okajima a contract, likely ending the reliever's tenure in Boston. No surprise there, since the former set-up man had lost most of his effectiveness last year, getting knocked around the park with regularity.

From there, things were mostly quiet until, suddenly, the Sox re-signed catcher Jason Varitek. While the deal falls on the right side of sentimentality, it raises a number of questions as to whether or not the Sox will have a real answer behind the plate next year, or if they'll be forced to roll the dice with Saltalamacchia.

The next player to steal the spotlight was Adrian Beltre, who was the subject of a sudden flurry of contract rumors with the Athletics. The big offer that had previously been debunked was back on the table (if not, perhaps, with the exact same figures), and Beltre was supposedly within hours of signing. Not long after this information came out, word that Beltre had named Boston as his preferred landing spot emerged. If there's any case where more news does not make for more clarity, it's Adrian Beltre.

The one bullpen winner of the night turned out to be Jonathan Papelbon. While his spot on the team is still not absolute, the idea that the Sox might non-tender the under-performing closer was shot down, and the next round of Papelbon arbitration angst began in semi-earnest.

Aside from the small news of Brandon Duckworth's signing, all that was left was the completely baffling decision to non-tender Taylor Buchholz and Andrew Miller (per Scott Lauber). Having acquired both players relatively recently, the Sox' decision to just as quickly kick them to the curb made little sense. I had especially liked the idea of Taylor Buchholz getting a chance to return to form in Boston. While it's too early to say for sure what's going on, I think SoxProspects' Chris Hatfield put it best when he tweeted "Until another shoe drops, poor job by Sox."

So where does that leave us now? For a lot of news, there's not a lot of good to be had. The Sox can consider at least 12 million more of their dollars accounted for in the budget, with only a bigger question at catcher and inconsistent, declining closer to show for it. Meanwhile, two of their potentially cost-effective options in the bullpen seem to have flown the coop. While they made the right decision with regards to Okajima, batting .200 isn't even acceptable on the field, much less in the front office.

Things are starting to heat up, and so far, the Red Sox have failed to really inspire any confidence in their offseason wheelings and dealings. While that other shoe could drop at any time now, and make everything from the non-tenders to the Varitek signing make sense, for now, we're left scratching our collective heads.

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