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Dave Dombrowski sets the stage for the Red Sox offseason

The hot stove season doesn't start in earnest for a few weeks, but Dave Dombrowski set the stage for what's to come Tuesday afternoon.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Dombrowski spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon, addressing the current state of the Red Sox, and where they stand headed into the offseason.

For the most part, Dombrowski did not provide revelations so much as reaffirmations of what Red Sox fans already expected. For example:

  • The Red Sox could use a front-line starting pitcher to lead the rotation.
  • Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, and Mookie Betts are currently  set to form the starting outfield.
  • They plan to have Hanley Ramirez as the starting first baseman, with Travis Shaw as a strong backup option and Sam Travis in the pipe for the near future.
  • Koji Uehara is the closer, but the Red Sox need bullpen help. Specifically a "backup closer" to ensure Tazawa can stay locked in as the eighth inning man.
  • The Red Sox would like to trade Allen Craig and oh please God will somebody take Allen Craig? (Not his exact words.)

It wasn't all boiler plate, exactly. We did learn that Clay Buchholz is in good health which, with health pretty consistently the difference between Buchholz being a strong rotation option and a complete disaster, is excellent to hear this early on. Dombrowski also remarked that he thought Rusney Castillo tired towards the end of the season (not at all surprising given the lighter schedule in Cuba), that the 2016 payroll would likely not be down from the 2015 mark.

So that's all well and good. It also doesn't necessarily mean all that much. It gives you an idea of where the Red Sox are starting from, yes, but no guarantees where they'll end up. Hanley Ramirez, for instance, is the starting first baseman. But if the Red Sox find someone who's willing to take him and a good chunk of his salary off their hands, it's hard to imagine they won't jump at the opportunity. Koji Uehara is the closer, but if the Red Sox really need to give that job to a free agent/trade target to get them on board, then maybe he'll be asked to take on a "fireman" role to maximize his impact while minimizing his work. Even that outfield could change under the right circumstances.

Take Dombrowski's words for what they are: a starting point. It's where the Red Sox will be building from, and if nobody shows up with any interesting curveballs, likely the plan they will follow. But it's almost five months until spring training, and the offseason always has its fair share of madness. Even the best laid of plans are subject to change.