Although they've already expressed their interest in Jayson Werth and a few free agent hurlers, the Boston Red Sox' biggest gets this offseason may not be free agents at all. According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Red Sox are waiting to see "how available" first basemen Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) and Prince Fielder (Brewers) are before diving headlong into the free agent market.
While Gonzalez has been the topic of trade conversation between the Red Sox and Padres since Theo Epstein's friend and former business partner Jed Hoyer took over there as general manager, there has been no secret made of the fact that Gonzalez will come at a price (one report suggested that the Padres would demand star prospect SP Casey Kelly in addition to a trio of OF Jacoby Ellsbury, IF Jed Lowrie and 1B Anthony Rizzo just to begin conversations). But, after the Padres were a game away from the playoffs last season, and with Gonzalez under contract for just $5.5 million in 2011, Hoyer's likely to continue to keep his options open.
While Fielder's name has come up as another option at first base, the Red Sox - who seem to have made peace with the fact that Adrian Beltre isn't coming back, despite many reports to the contrary - have yet to really go in hard on him. Fielder comes at a higher price tag, however, and isn't as sound defensively as is Gonzalez, so it will be interesting to see just how hard the Sox go after him.
Should the Red Sox sign Werth and not agree to trades that would involve Ellsbury or up-and-comer Ryan Kalish, it might make J.D. Drew available as part of a trade. Drew's owed $14 million in 2011, but the Sox could eat some of his salary if it meant getting Gonzalez.
With the rest of the key pieces the Red Sox need to fill (catcher, corner infielder, relief pitching) available in free agency, it's unlikely that the team will make any big deals to get anyone else this offseason. But if they do, don't expect Jose Iglesias to be involved in them - as the super-plus shortstop acclimates to America, his game has come along, while Kelly's lackluster performance in the Arizona Fall League has some scouts down on him. Don't expect Rizzo, 3B/OF Kolbrin Vitek or SP Anthony Ranaudo to be made available, either. Names who could get shopped as pieces in a bigger deal include OF Josh Reddick, 1B Lars Anderson, SP Stolmy Pimentel and IF Yamaico Navarro, among others.