I recently posted a fanpost looking over the 2009-2010 offseason, in that post the Red Sox ignored John Lackey in favor of Matt Holliday and Max Scherzer. I will continue by posting a retroactive 2010-2011 offseason.
The 2010-2011 Red Sox need to reload after their third World Series run in ten years. Major contributors Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez are free agents after massive seasons that propelled the 2010 Red Sox to the title. In addition, team captain Jason Varitek filed for free agency along with much-maligned LOOGY Hideki Okajima.
After bringing back Varitek for a pittance to mentor the young Jarrod Saltalamacchia as they try to mold him into the next great Boston catcher, the Red Sox make a pair of astonishing moves, sending Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, and Reymond Fuentes to San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez, then sending incumbent first baseman Kevin Youkilis to the Nationals for disappointing starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, delighting and frustrating fans almost simultaneously. Despite posting a k/9 near 8.5 his two years in the majors, Zimmermann had control issues, walking nearly three batters for every nine innings he pitched, and gathering an ERA over 4.7 for his two years in the majors. He was a slight improvement over Daisuke Matsuzaka, but not worth the all-star first baseman they had just traded away.
A collective grumble of disappointment echoed through the Boston fandom when Adrian Beltre signed with the Rangers, but among the more knowledgable fans there was a feeling that the Sox dodged a bullet, six years was an awful lot to give to a player who was already on the wrong side of thirty. Still, that left oft-injured Jed Lowrie as the Red Sox starting third baseman, which only added to the Red Sox fans' dark mood over trading Youkilis.
Despite the relief pitcher market being flooded with talent and elevated contracts, the Red Sox were able to keep their heads, making a trio of shrewd signings for RHP Dan Wheeler, RHP Mat Albers, and RHP Alfredo Aceves. There had been some rumor that the Red Sox might make a trade for someone to replace Jonathan Papelbon if the current closer left the team the next season, but instead the Sox opted to stay under the luxury tax for a year, which proved to be a wise decision when the new CBA was agreed upon the next November.
The Red Sox failed to make the World Series this year, as injuries took Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie for the season. Lowrie, replaced first with Yamaico Navarro and later Mike Aviles, would play his last year for the Red Sox, while Clay Buchholz was replaced with Alfredo Aceves and later Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield, and Junichi Tazawa. Despite the bad pitcher carousel to replace Buchholz, the relative health from the other four spots of the rotation managed to keep the Red Sox in first place despite an abysmal September, winning 98 games and just edging the New York Yankees for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This would not be enough however as the combination of Lester/Beckett/Scherzer and Zimmermann was not quite enough to eclipse the Rangers, whose pitching tore apart a feeble Red Sox offense. The Red Sox would lose in the ALDS, but could walk away with their heads high, not having totally collapsed like their National League counterpart, the Atlanta Braves.