Part Three: Make alternate plans for catcher and either first or third base.


Part Three: Make alternate plans for catcher and either first or third base.

3) Make alternate plans for catcher and either first or third base.

Increasingly, the chances of retaining Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez (right) seem more and more remote. Beltre is looking for a five-year deal and would prefer to play on the West Coast. He's likely to get such offers from the Angels and A's. As for Martinez, a bidding war could break out involving Texas, Detroit and the White Sox, all of whom seem to be more comfortable giving him a four-year deal than would the Red Sox.

Together, Beltre and Martinez supplied 48 homers and 181 RBI. Those numbers won't be easy for the Red Sox to replace.

The likely plan is to shift Kevin Youkilis to third for 2011, since there are far more short-term options at first base than there are at third. The Sox can choose from among Adam LaRoche, Lyle Overbay, Aubrey Huff and Derrek Lee as possible first base solutions.

As for catcher, the Sox have to make a determinaton about Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Would the Sox be comfortable going into 2011 with Saltalamacchia targeted for 110 or so games behind the plate?

If the answer to that is 'yes,' than the Sox could bring back Jason Varitek in a backupmentor role. If, on the other hand, they think Saltalamacchia isn't ready to handle that load, they need another short-term solution behind the plate. John Buck and Miguel Olivo are among their choices on the free agent market.

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Next: Assess the bullpen options

McDaniels: Garoppolo still a long way from a 'finished product'


McDaniels: Garoppolo still a long way from a 'finished product'

FOXBORO -- As the Patriots move forward with their process of preparing Jimmy Garoppolo for Week 1 of the regular season, there's plenty of refining the third-year quarterback needs to make to his game. 

But that's what training camp is for, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels explained on Wednesday.

"We're a long way from where we want to be in terms of the finished product in terms with he and a lot of guys on our team," McDaniels said. "There's nobody that's as good as we can make them. We're excited to have the opportunity to work with all of those guys and try to improve everything we can."

Garoppolo seen plenty of work as Tom Brady's backup over the last two years, both within the Patriots offense and as the "look team" quarterback, impersonating the likes of Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Now, as Bill Belichick explained on Wednesday, Garoppolo's development as the team's starter is a priority.

How far Garoppolo has to go before he's ready remains to be seen. But McDaniels seemed to indicate that if Garoppolo can continue on the track he's been on in terms of his desire to improve, he'll be where he needs to be when he needs to be there. 

"He's worked extremely hard," McDaniels said. "He's gotten a lot of opportunities in his first two-plus years here, in practice and in spring football. This will be his third opportunity at training camp. He's got a great work ethic. He's got a great approach. He tries to get better and improve every day, and he's made progress." 

He's made so much progress that Belichick didn't even venture to get into the details of the road the Eastern Illinois product has traveled since arriving as a second-round pick in 2014.  

"Experience, everything," Belichick said. "It’s everything. All of the things that go into playing football: preparation, execution, knowing the opponent. We could sit here and talk about it for a day. Everything."

Garoppolo's teammates have noticed his progress, too. While both safety Devin McCourty and special teams ace Matthew Slater were careful not to compare Garoppolo to Brady, they praised the work they've seen behind the scenes from the backup-turned-starter. 

"The cool thing seeing Jimmy, I was a veteran when he was coming in," McCourty said. "You see a rookie, he's just been developing. Each time he steps on the field, he gets better and better so I think it's probably very exciting for him knowing the work he's put in. 

"And I think for other guys on the team, you know he's a hard worker so I don't think it's worries or anything like that. He's a confident kid, and he's been out here practicing hard. We see him a lot all throughout the year when he's on the look squad and being different quarterbacks . . . It's tough for me to really break him down and compare him. I think Jimmy's just a guy who's come in here and learned everything he could under Tom and just keeps getting better."

"I know that he's been working hard, just like the rest of us have," Slater said. "He's prepared himself for a moment to play since he got in this league. He's worked hard for it. We believe in his talent and his abilities, and we know he's going to go out and give us everything he has."