For as long as many can remember the Red Sox were always at the top of the American League East alongside the Yankees, setting the bar for the rest of the division. As it stands right now the landscape of the AL East is changing, with the Blue Jays and Orioles now stepping up and in some ways dictating the way the rest of the AL East operates this offseason.
Toronto had quite the week last week, first making a blockbuster trade receiving shortstop Jose Reyes, ace Josh Johnson and starter Mark Buehrle from the Marlins as part of a 12-player deal. Just a few days later the team signed free agent All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera. They are not messing around this offseason.
With the Orioles making the playoffs last season for the first time in 15 years, the rest of the AL East is in an unfamiliar position including the Red Sox.
Usually it is the Red Sox or the Yankees generating the most excitement for the upcoming season from the players they have returning, or the players they added in the offseason. Right now, the Red Sox have many more questions than answers and there isn’t much to get excited about for 2013.
The team still needs to add two more outfielders, a first baseman, potentially a shortstop and another starting pitcher. Following the trade with the Dodgers last August, freeing up over $200 million dollars, the word used most around the organization of how they would spend the money is “disciplined.”
With the free agent market depth as slim as it is, and with what the few impact players available are demanding, the Red Sox might have no other choice but to sign players to contracts they didn’t necessarily want to, but are forced to in order to get better and compete with the rest of the division in 2013. Back in August when the team dealt way Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett (all at one point franchise players), everyone was on board, but now with what is available to replace them, was it really a good move?
Regardless, the Red Sox are left with the task of finding replacements to make themselves a competitive team, and with what the state of the AL East is they might need to take a risk and make a few signings going against their “stay disciplined” plan.