Part Four: Assess the bullpen options

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Part Four: Assess the bullpen options

4) Assess the bullpen options.

As intrigued as they are with the promise of Andrew Miller, he can hardly be counted on to start the season with the major league team. For now, the Sox have few spots set in the bullpen beyond Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard.

FoxSports.com's Ken Ronsenthal reported Monday that the Sox are sending signals that they would be willing to move Felix Doubront (right), but some baseball officials have heard the opposite -- that the Sox see Doubront as an important part of the 2011 staff. Doubront could be a late-inning, lefty compliment to Bard, or, in the event of injury or a trade of Matsuzaka, the team's fifth starter.

Either way, the Sox need relief inventory. The problem is, most of the best free agent relievers (Scott Downs, Grant Balfour) are Type A free agents who will 1) cost the Red Sox a first-round pick as compensation and 2) require a multi-year commitment.

The latter goes against Epstein's instincts, believing, as he does, that middle- and set-up relievers are too inconsistent and unpredictable to deserve multi-year deals.

With the need to upgrade the bullpen, he may have to suspend that theory for at least one deal. And, given that Beltre and Martinez appear headed elsewhere, the Sox stand to get first-round picks back in compensation, easing the blow at least a little.

Previous: Make alternate plans for catcher and either first or third base

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.