-The Dip @noahattheark
Yes, I know it hasn't even been a week since the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 6 games to win the 2013 World Series title, but the season is over and the Red Sox have quite a few holes to fill.
The easiest way to figure out what challenges lay in front of Cherington and the Red Sox front office is to go position by position.
First Base: Mike Napoli is now a free agent, the Red Sox are expected to make him a qualifying offer, a 1 year offer that guarantees to Red Sox a compensation pick if Napoli signs with another club, allowing the Red Sox to also negotiate a long term deal with Napoli. There has been talk of moving Middlebrooks to first, but that now seems like a long shot.
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia will be there for along time to come.
Third Base: Will Middlebrooks? Xander Bogaerts? Xander is good short stop and with his abilities at the plate you will have to figure he makes the opening day roster at one of the two let infield positions. It would seem that Middlebooks has fallen out of favor with the organization but he is a skilled fielder and has a good amount of pop at the plate, so h should have a spot on the roster as well or he will be in the package that brings Giancarlo Stanton to the Sox next year.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew will also be mae a qualifying offer, he is an exceptional fielder but a liability at the plate. I would pencil in Xander at short next season.
Catcher: Salty is a free agent and David Ross is too old to play every day. There are not a lot of everyday catchers available, so look for Salty to re-sign this off-season.
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