The Red Sox loading for what passes for bear in 2011

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Could the Red Sox be biding their time this offseason and waiting to score big in the 2010-2011 offseason? MLB.com’s Ian Browne — and payroll math — suggests so.  After noting the blah free agent class this year, Browne writes:

. . . if you fast forward to next year at this time, general manager Theo
Epstein and his crew of assistants will be in a far more enviable spot,
one that could land them major stars who may have the impact that the
Yankees felt from CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett en route
to a 2009 World Series championship . . . When you add up the 2010 salaries of David Ortiz ($12.5 million), Mike
Lowell ($12 million), Josh Beckett ($12 million), Victor Martinez ($7
million), Jason Varitek ($3 million) and Julio Lugo (the Red Sox owe
their former shortstop $9 million in ’10), that leaves a potential $55
million that will come off the books.

So who’s available next year? Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Lance Berkman, Carlos Pena,
Carl Crawford, Halladay, Brandon Webb, Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee.

Um, well, that’s no Teixeira and Sabathia, is it?  I mean, Mauer is probably going to sign in Minnesota, right?  Jeter and Rivera are old and would never go to Boston anyway. Berkman ain’t young. Pena is not an impact player for a team like Boston. Crawford is nice but has likely peaked, as have Werth and Cliff Lee, in all likelihood. Halladay, maybe. Webb, maybe, if he recovers from injury. But none of those guys are game changers.

Nice theory, I guess. And of course, payroll flexibility is always a good thing. But it strikes me that if the Sox are going to make a splash, it’s going to be via trades, not signings.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.