It’s an off-season of uncertainty for the Boston Red Sox and their fans. After seeing his team not make the post-season in 2010, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein faces some serious decisions about how to build the roster for the 2011 season.
The Red Sox could lose a couple of the highest-profile free agents in all of Major League Baseball this off-season in Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez. But the Red Sox are also targetting some of the best MLB free agents as potential additions to the 2011 roster, including rumors that they have their eyes on outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth .
But the rumor mill is churning with trades that Epstein may be discussing with his MLB counterparts, even as the Red Sox decide what to do about free agents.
Among the players that may be going:
Jacoby Ellsbury – OF
The speedy young outfielder had a lost season in 2010 for the Red Sox, missing most of the season with broken ribs. But the potential acquisition of one of the free agent outfielders might squeeze Ellsbury out of a job, so trade rumors have been flying. Many teams might be interested in a young leadoff hitter with great base-stealing ability, especially since his injury is not seen as affecting his speed on the basepaths or range in the field.
Marco Scutaro – SS
The emergence of Jed Lowrie as a power hitter for the Red Sox in the latter part of the season might make Scutaro trade bait . He’s more valuable to other teams as a starter than he is to the Red Sox as a bench player. With just one year left on his contract, any team who trades for him will be making a short-term commitment, and the Red Sox might even pay part of his salary in the right deal.
Jonathan Papelbon – P
It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox without their closer. Harder still to think of the ninth inning at Fenway park without the anticipation of papelbon entering the game to the pounding sounds of the Dropkick Murphys and “Shipping up to Boston ” on the PA. But the Red Sox closer has just one year left before free agency, and is coming off a disappointing season. Perhaps Epstein will want to guage the trade market to see if there is any interest from other MLB teams.
Trade rumors involving players who might be coming to Boston include
Justin Upton – OF
One of the top two-way players in all of MLB , Upton is just 23 and already has shown his almost limitless ability. The Arizona Diamondbacks need pitching, desperately. They’ve shown that they can’t win with Upton and a thin pitching staff. Maybe new general manager Kevin Towers believes they can win with the three or four MLB-ready players he might get in a deal. Any way you slice it, Upton has a chance to be a generational talent that could anchor the Red Sox line-up for years to come, and they will work hard is they think a trade of this caliber is possible.