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Sunday, December 2, 2012
Five moves Sox should pursue

By Gordon Edes

NASHVILLE -- They won’t all happen this week at the winter meetings. Maybe none of them will before Ben Cherington leaves here Thursday. But here are five moves the Red Sox should make that would go a long way toward addressing their needs:

Re-sign Cody Ross, or turn the page quickly.

The Sox should have found a way to get this done before the end of the season. They wanted him back; he wanted to return. Clearly, the dividing line is length of contract, but he absolutely fits the mode of team concept the Sox are so vigorously trying to push. Despite all the rumors you’re hearing, the Sox are only on the periphery of the Josh Hamilton market; they'll jump in only if the market for Hamilton falls apart and they can get him for short years.

If they can’t strike a deal with Ross, the Sox should consider switch-hitting Shane Victorino, who played with a bad hand last season and would give the Sox a great deal of flexibility. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Sox add two outfielders, as a hedge against Ryan Kalish not making it back from his shoulder issues.

Sign Mike Napoli.

His signing hinges on whether he can get a fourth year elsewhere. The Red Sox are wise to draw the line at three because there are other options at first base. Free agent Adam LaRoche is one. Mike Morse, also of the Nationals, is another. But Napoli would be the best fit, if Joe Mauer is merely wishful thinking.

Sign Dan Haren or Ryan Dempster for the back end of the rotation.

Ryan Dempster
Even at 36, Ryan Dempster would help stabilize the Red Sox rotation.
Haren has had back issues; Dempster is 36. But either could give the Sox rotation some stability while the team sees whether Franklin Morales is a legit starter who can surmount his shoulder issues while waiting for young arms such as Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster and Matt Barnes to advance. It’s nice to talk about John Lackey returning to form, but he remains a huge question mark.

Hold onto Jon Lester.

Teams already have made inquiries, and will continue to do so, but it says here that Lester has more value to the Sox at the top of their rotation than he would in any trade. Lester has a huge chip on his shoulder that will translate into a big year in 2013, IMO.

Add another shortstop.

There are indications that the Dodgers would move Dee Gordon, the son of Tom, which would give author Stephen King a sequel to the "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon." Gordon has great speed but slumped badly last season, which could leave the Sox with two shortstops who can’t hit. Perhaps a better move would be to add a veteran backup such as John McDonald, unless the Sox decide to make a bigger play and go for Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera.

Your turn: Which of Gordon Edes' suggestions do you agree with? Sound off in the comments section.