The Red Sox will conclude their worst season in more than 45 years Wednesday night and then all the attention can be devoted to preparing for 2013. Many decisions will need to be made including whether or not to re-sign their current free agents.
There has been mutual interest between Cody Ross and the organization, and one would expect David Ortiz to return as well. Other than those two, none of the free agents are expected to be re-signed.
Here are three steps to fix the Red Sox franchise:
1. Find the right guy
For obvious reasons, Bobby Valentine hasn’t been the right manager for the Red Sox this year and is not expected to return next season. The organization needs to find the right man for the job and not just settle for the biggest name/personality like they did last offseason.
Some possibilities include: John Farrell (Toronto Blue Jays manager), Tim Bogar (Red Sox bench coach), Dave Martinez (Tampa Bay Rays bench coach) or Mike Maddux (Texas Rangers pitching coach).
2. Cleanup the mess
After trading away Adrian Gonzalez the Red Sox do not have a true cleanup hitter on their roster. Ortiz is no longer that guy, neither is Ross, or Middlebrooks. In recent days Mauro Gomez has been the Red Sox’ No. 4 hitter, a player who didn’t even make the big league club following spring training.
With financial flexibility this offseason one of their biggest priorities needs to be signing a free agent power hitter to hit cleanup. It would preferably come in the form of a first baseman or an outfielder.
Their options may include: Josh Hamilton, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Pretty slim pickings, so the Red Sox may be forced into a trade for the cleanup hitter they desperately need.
3. End the so-called streak
This has been one of the biggest complaints among Red Sox Nation this season as each game as been declared a sellout even though, at times, Fenway Park hasn’t been even 80 percent full. The “distribution streak” is nearing 800 games and is the longest such streak in major U.S. sports.
There is no question next April there will be games that are not sold out. It would be in the organization’s best interest to then declare the sellout streak over. It wouldn’t be the end of the world; fans will still continue to show up, it might even bring some old fans back.