The Boston Red Sox shifted into full sellers mode on Thursday as the non-waiver trade deadline came and went.
Out with Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Andrew Miller, in with Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly (among others). Stephen Drew is also gone. The Red Sox are making way for more pop in their lineup and for more youth on the roster. That does not mean, however, that the Red Sox are shifting into rebuilding mode.
This team likely still sees itself as a contender in 2015, and as such, they will be on the market for a new ace in their rotation. There are some grumblings that Boston will try to bring Lester back as a free agent, but unless they change their stance on the amount of money they are willing to offer him in his seasons past age 30, that is unlikely.
Who might they target instead? Free agent James Shields might be an option. The issue is not available money, after all, but rather their philosophy on where that money should go. Interesting though it is to consider, the Red Sox might be more willing to offer that money to Shields.
Buster Olney of ESPN writes that many rival executives expect the Red Sox to make a big push for Shields this winter in free agency (subscription required). Olney cites Boston’s desire to add an innings-eater and a staff leader.
Boston will be a team to watch this off-season, both in their pursuit of Shields and in terms of what they might do in other areas of the roster with their newly acquired flexibility.