Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington suggested he's not planning any seismic moves this offseason and provided an update on where talks stand with his own high-profile free agents, David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday.
Cherington told reporters that he has been in contact with both Ortiz's and Papelbon's agents, but that talks with Ortiz have been more specific because the market for the designated hitter is considerably smaller (no National League teams).
"I've actually traded messages with David but I've spoken with his agent a couple times," Cherington said. "I think with David, I think it's in some ways a little bit more clear in terms of what his market could be. It's a little easier to have the conversations earlier in the offseason and start to get into what we might be able to do, so we're starting to do that. I still don't know when there will be a resolution, but there's been more dialogue because I think it's a little bit easier to frame what the market probably is.
"With Pap, it's a little bit more difficult, because more options in terms of the National League, more unknown about what's out there," Cherington told reporters. "So less dialogue with him, but keep the door open certainly and we'll talk again I'm sure next week."
Cherington said he didn't necessarily expect the Papelbon camp to give the Sox a chance to match another team's offer if the closer nears an agreement elsewhere.
"Those things can happen fast sometimes," Cherington said. "He doesn't owe us a call. I don't think we expect that. We expect we'll keep the door open and keep talking. But if he gets something that he really wants and there's a deadline on it he can take it."
As far as the rest of the free-agent market, Cherington downplayed any thoughts the team would make a big splash after signing big-ticket players Carl Crawford and John Lackey the last two offseasons.
“This offseason is going to be more about fixing what’s under the hood than it is about buying a new car,” Cherington said. “We’re going to make moves and we’re going to build pitching depth and we’re going to be active.”
Cherington didn't limit the areas the Red Sox would try to improve.
“Across the board,” Cherington said. “It’s really early. The vast majority of the market is going to see what’s out there and that process unfolds over time and it’s still very, very early in the offseason.”