The Baseball Show crew prioritizes what the Sox need to do to get back on a winning path.
While 2012 may have been the worst season in recent memory, the Red Sox are not as far away from contention as it may feel. The crew offers their keys to a successful off-season:
Dan Shaughnessy - Think outside the box and don't be afraid to make the unconventional move. No one is untouchable.
Sean McAdam - Get the managerial hire completed quickly. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Don't waste free agent money on big-name players like Josh Hamilton. Finally, don't look for the quick fix. Make the right decisions - the ones that position the franchise for long-term and sustainable success.
Lou Merloni - Don't be afraid to be boring. If the Sox are focused on impressing the fans, the media or anyone else, then they're not making the best baseball decisions. Make the smart decisions, not the flashy ones.
Bob Neumeier - The keys here read like a long grocery list: two above-average starting pitchers, a new shortstop, a first baseman, an outfielder, a couple guys who can mash the ball, and most importantly - high-character players.
PHOENIX -- The idea that Malcolm Butler could be traded by the Patriots before the start of the 2017 season has been floated for weeks. But if Robert Kraft had his way, he'd like for the hero of Super Bowl XLIX to stick around.
At the Biltmore hotel on Day 2 of the league's annual meetings, Kraft was asked if he anticipated having Butler back in New England for next season.
"I sure hope so," he said. "We have [a first-round tender] out to him, and I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick.
"I'm rooting, I hope, he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us. I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that."
The Patriots can't trade any player who isn't under contract, and they can't talk about a trade for a player not on their roster. Therefore, even if the Patriots hoped to deal Butler and get something in return for the Pro Bowl-caliber corner before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2018, it's not something that the owner of the team would be at liberty to discuss with dozens of microphones in front of his face.
The tender offer of $3.91 million for one season is still out there for Butler. He could sign it and play in New England. He could sign it and be traded. For now, Kraft says he's hoping for the former -- and insists that the Patriots didn't have designs on the latter all along.
"I don't want to, in any way, take away from his rights [as a restricted free agent]," he said, adding, "I want to be clear. I hope he's with us."
PHOENIX -- It sounds like Robert Kraft is hoping the Belichick-Brady Era will last forever. Or close to it.
He explained on Monday at the league meetings that he'd be more than happy to see Tom Brady play deep into his mid-40s. Almost in the same breath, he said he hoped Bill Belichick would coach for another decade or more.
"I hope he coaches until his 80s," Kraft said of his soon-to-be 65-year-old head coach. "I see Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch, and they're in their mid-80s, and they're performing at a pretty high level. We gotta keep Bill healthy."
During his "A Football Life" documentary, produced by NFL Films back in 2009, Belichick said that he didn't think anyone would have to worry about him coaching as a 70-year-old like former Bills sideline boss Marv Levy.
But with each passing year, as Belichick displays energy and enthusiasm during practices from training camp into January, it seems more than feasible that he could do another half-decade.
Fifteen years? That may be another story, but Kraft said back in February that he has insight into Belichick's plans that the rest of us don't.
"We have a pact that we don’t talk about that," Kraft told the Washington Post. "He knows and I know. But he won’t be done this year."