It's December. Holy hell, how is it possibly December already? What does this mean for baseball? Well, next week it means the winter meetings will get under way, and the hot stove will really get cooking. As for right now, it basically means another week of cold weather and rumors. Boston hasn't yet done much this offseason, aside from the David Ross and (still unofficial) Jonny Gomes signings. As a rational fan of the team, I'm fully on board with the Sox taking their time, gauging the market, and waiting for the right moves to become apparent. As someone who needs to generate written content about the Red Sox, I'm going out of my damn mind.
Here's how this week went. Around mid-week, a report wandered across the interwebs that the Boston Red Sox had discussed trading staff ace Jon Lester to Kansas City for star prospect Wil Myers. That, by the way, was the entire report. "Boston and Kansas City discuss Lester-Myers trade." Analyzing that rumor provided basically a quarter of our content this week. Our sanity's hanging by a thread, Mr. Cherington. Help us out, dude.
That's not to say it wasn't fun speculating about such a trade. What would it imply about the direction of the Red Sox? What would be the lineup implications? Would it confirm that the Royals front office is terrible at everything but amateur scouting? We looked at it from a number of angles, all of which can be found in the trade's storystream.
While the Kansas City trade seems to have been a bunch of smoke around a very small fire, there have been a number of other potential moves that seem to have a bit more basis in reality. Boston's pursuit of free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli intensified, with top Red Sox brass meeting with the slugger over the weekend. Always a team to keep their options open, Boston's also been in talks with Adam LaRoche to fill their hole at first base. These dual negotiations led Ben to ask which player would be a better choice for Boston. We also took a look at two free-agent pitchers to see if they'd fit the Red Sox' needs: crafty control artist (and Twitterer extraordinaire) Brandon McCarthy, and St. Louis innings-eater Kyle Lohse.
One thing that was interesting this week was the coming of the arbitration deadline, when players currently unsigned for the 2013 season had to either be offered a contract or non-tendered. For a team like Boston with a crowded 40-man roster, this can lead to some tough decision-making. Matt Sullivan addressed this dilemma through the lens of Ryan Sweeney, a player whose value is far from star-level, but still sufficient to warrant some deliberation before cutting him loose. (Despite that value, Sweeney, along with Rich Hill and Scott Atchison, was indeed non-tendered last night.)
With all sorts of free agent names flying about, it's easy to lose track of the team's potential reinforcements down on the farm. Jason Parks over at Baseball Prospectus put together his rankings of Boston's minor-league system (spoiler: Xander Bogaerts is awesome), and had extremely great things to say about Jackie Bradley. Bradley projects as a very nice center fielder, which, as Ben points out, is suddenly a very expensive commodity.
Winter Meetings coming up soon, folks. There should be deals galore to talk about in the very near future. Until then, well, we've got a shiny new Hall of Fame ballot to yell at each other about. Here's hoping we find a shiny new Napoli under the tree sometime before Christmas rolls around.