David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox are a prime free agent destination once again

It probably goes without saying that free agent players will be interested in playing for the defending World Series champions. That is the case with the Boston Red Sox this off-season, but if you take a step back and consider the state of this franchise one year ago, it was no guarantee that they would be here.

It was a long shot, in fact, as Scott Lauber writes in this morning’s Boston Herald.

After 13 hellish months that began with a titanic September nosedive, ended with another managerial firing, and featured pitchers on a chicken-and-beer diet and players who despised Bobby Valentine so much that they plotted against him, the question needed to be asked, even within the offices at 4 Yawkey Way.

Would free agents still want to play for the Red Sox?

As Lauber then notes, they still did last year, including Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. Both of those guys were in more of a “buy low” context, however, for different reasons (Victorino because of declining production, Napoli because of his health). Now they are back in position to land the top-tier guys this off-season.

So far their big move was signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski (who turned down a two year offer in Minnesota) and retaining Napoli coming off a huge season of his own. As the Red Sox try to make sense of their climb from worst to first, the fact that the franchise never truly lost its lure to available players is a huge outcome of last year’s team and their unlikely championship.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Boston Red Sox