Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox president of baseball operations, identified the team's off-season needs in a general way: a bat to take the place of retiring DH David Ortiz; the bullpen; and additional starting pitching depth.
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"The bullpen is an area where we lose a lot of people (Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler are all free agents),'' Dombrowski said. "Somehow, we'll have to look at replacing some of that, either through (re-signing) them or elsewhere. We also lose the big guy (Ortiz) in the middle of the lineup. I don't think you ever replace David Ortiz with what he brings to an organization or a community. He's an icon, one of a kind. But we'll do our best job to replace the offensive aspect, however we can. I'd say those are two areas that are obvious.''
Clay Buchholz has a club option for $13.5 million that the Sox must exercise shortly after the conclusion of the World Series and it's been widely assumed that the Sox will pick that up given how well Buchholz pitched in the final two months of the season. But Dombrowski didn't tip his hand much either way.
"We still are in a position where we haven't made a lot of major decisions,'' Dombrowski said. "As fas as the future of some of the guys on the club and the free agents and the options that are attached -- those are areas we have to discuss. We have until five days after the World Series and we'll be prepared to make those decisions by then.''
When the Red Sox ripped up bench coach Torey Lovullo's deal last winter and gave him a significant raise, it was with the provision that he couldn't pursue other managerial jobs.
That was done to protect the Red Sox in the event that Farrell had a health setback and wasn't able to manage the club, Lovullo would be the logical replacement -- as he was when Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma in August of 2015.
Now, however, that provision has expired and Lovullo is free to interview for managerial vacancies if teams ask permission from the Sox.
"I hope he stays with us,'' said Dombrowski, "but I also understand that if people come and ask us to talk to Torey, that we would be open to granting that request.''
Dombrowski also said that he expected that Brian Bannister, who shifted from a Baseball Operations job to an in-uniform, on-the-field position in July, would remain in the latter role for 2017.
In regards to filling the DH vacancy, Dombrowski was asked whether he views Hanley Ramirez as the DH or the team's first baseman again.
"He might be both,'' Dombrowski said. "To me, he did a fine job at first base. Personally, I like the option of doing both because if you have that flexibility, it probably fits with us better given our personnel. But we also have to have conversations with Hanley, too, before we get to that point.''
Dombrowski intends to have a conversation with Ortiz about his role with the Sox in retirement.
"We haven't had (a talk),'' said Dombrowski. "David Ortiz can have a job in this organization anytime he wants. He can probably write his job title if he'd like. We'd love to have David Ortiz in our organization. But I also know that he has a lot of other opportunities.
"I'm hopeful that he'll remain with us, no matter what because I also know he's going to be given opportunities in broadcasting and sponsorships and all those type of things. But yes, we'd love to have him.''