The Red Sox' offseason options: the less complicated, the better

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Ken Rosenthal’s latest column spends some time looking at what the Red Sox might do this offseason.  The biggest possibility — and its not clear if this is from a source with knowledge or if it was pulled out of Rosenthal’s, um, imagination — is that the Sox could forgo signing Adrian Beltre to an extension (he’ll likely reject his $10 million option), move Youkilis to third base, get a stop gap first baseman and then go after someone like Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, or maybe even Albert Pujols after 2011.

Which is nice, but that sounds a bit too much like the stuff fans say when they call into talk radio to me. I can’t say for certain how front office people think, but most of the well-run teams tend to act rather conservatively and pragmatically, don’t they? They realize that you can’t count on anything specific happening, especially with free agents, and thus they don’t make plans assuming good results in that regard two years down the road.

One of the few things that went right this year for the Sox was Adrian Beltre showing up every day, raking, and picking it like crazy at third base. Why wouldn’t the Sox try to re-sign him, and go with Youkilis at first base, taking 2011 before they think about 2012?

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.