Okay, now that the season is officially over, it's time for the Hot Stove Season. Of course the most interesting story line will be where Cliff Lee will go. I personally think he will stay put in Texas. I think with Nolan Ryan in control, Texas will focus on starting pitching.
Now, for the Red Sox. Boston has the following free agents:
Victor Martinez, C, Type A
Jason Varitek, C, Type B
Bill Hall, IF/OF, $9.25M option, $500K buyout
Felipe Lopez, IF, Type B, option
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Type A, $10M player option, $1M buyout
Mike Lowell, 3B
David Ortiz, DH, Type B, $12.5M option
Scott Atchison, RP, $450K option
Scott Schoeneweis, RP
VICTOR MARTINEZ: I can see Boston letting him go. They will offer arbitration, which will be rejected and they will pick up some additional draft picks next summer. I just do not see Boston offering him the number of years he will be able to find somewhere else. Martinez is not long for the catcher position and his bat is not nearly as impressive playing at first base or designated hitter.
JASON VARITEK: I would hate to see him leave. And I also would predict him to return on a short one-year contract at a low salary. He will be the backup and mentor to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and any of the other catchers in the organization.
BILL HALL: I am a big fan of Hall. That being said, his option will be declined. If he is interested in returning, it will be in the same super utility role as last year and at a significantly reduced salary. He has power and is a good bat off the bench. If he is looking for a starting job though, he will need to look elsewhere. I predict he will be back.
FELIPE LOPEZ: He was picked up solely for the draft picks. He will be offered arbitration and will be gone.
ADRIAN BELTRE: He will decline his player option, but I could see Boston making him a priority and bringing him back. The question is: is he the same player next year as he was this year?
MIKE LOWELL: He has already announced his retirement.
DAVID ORTIZ: His option will be picked up. Boston will defer to next year to make a long-term decision on him.
SCOTT ATCHISON: He will probably be back. He was a serviceable reliever. I can see his small option being exercised.
SCOTT SCHOENEWEIS: Honestly, I do not even know if he was still with Boston or not after filing. It does not matter though. He's gone. He will sign a minor league deal somewhere with an invitation to Spring Training. He may retire though.
Obviously the catcher position is the most interesting area Boston has to deal with. I see Boston kicking the tires on free agents Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, and Cliff Lee, but not signing any of them. They will also attempt to trade for Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder, but not land either of them either. I think they will upgrade their bullpen. Lots of attractive options there, like: Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Koji Uehara, an Taylor Tankersley. I think they will make a trade somewhere, potentially for outfield help, but I do not see them making any big splashes.
EDIT: I didn't see this when I posted this. Bill Hall's option was declined. We'll see if he comes back to Boston or finds another job somewhere.