In response to RedsoxProspects' comment:
Not saying it's going to happen but this is what I would do:
Rather than speculate on trades which may or may not be realistic, and factoring the real salary limitations the team has ( They are not going over the luxury tax limit this year guys ), I think we really need to think about getting the most value from our off season spend. What results in the most wins?
Given: $30 mil in available resources roughly against the luxury tax limit
Option A: Make a $52 mil bid for negotiating rights to Tanaka. If he accepts keep it under $60 mil for at most for 5-6 years. If it's really the top 3 bids having an equal shot at Tanaka make it a $42 mil negotiating bid.
I go with this first to see if it works. The guy was 17 - 0 last year if I remember correctly with an ungodly low ERA and he's 25. He sure appears to be decent from the numbers and since no one has seen him in mlb he probably at least starts well in mlb and we are in win now mode. He appears to be Koji or Kuroda with better stuff! And a starter. Teams pay a fortune for talent like that and he needs to be target A on this team. It's like acquiring the rights to the next Felix Hernandez potentially. You know what, he might just be incredibly good and in his prime. He costs no picks and much of the money doesn't count against the luxury tax limit, no small consideration. Of course he is Option A. Sometimes you just have to roll the dice if you want to win. It may fail but the potential upside is so great that it is worth this risk.
If that falls through and we lose out on that opportunity go to:
Option B; Make Kuroda think seriously about joining a World Championship team with Koji and Junichi by offering him $20 mil to join the Sox. We may not get him either but if the Yanks do at least they will have to pay big bucks for him. The Yanks only paid $15 mil last year. Why wouldn't Kuroda consider $20 mil this year, to join a championship level team? My bet is that he wants that kind of cash still. And he joins a world championship team with international success and popular Japanese players already. It's not crazy to think that $20 mil might get that done. And he is possibly one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. Consistently great numbers for the last 4 years in a row in the AL east, in a park not suited for his game. If anything, he should be even better in Fenway. I recognize he is 39 but he has been consistently solid every year.
If either of these two options take place, and preferably Tanaka's since it's $10 mil less against the luxury tax limit, we trade Peavy who actually costs more than Tanaka against the luxury limit probably. Even Kuroda would essentially only cost us $4-$5 mil or so against the $30 mil we have to spend to keep us under the luxury tax limit. We want those revenue sharing dollars badly. It's important that we stay under the luxury tax limit and we probably even get some talent back in the Peavy trade.
Hopefully Napoli declines soon and we pass on his option but use that money for a 2 year deal with Beltran. He's better Papi protection than Napoli by a significant margin. Much better numbers. Helps bolster our OF with the loss of Ellsbury. Make him our primary LF option. Move Nava to 1st, with Carp and Ortiz as backup. I think that is fine at 1st. We can probably sign Youk as deep backup for 3rd and 1st for $3-$5 mil.
Sign Rajai Davis as our 5th OF. So the OF would be Beltran, JBJ, Victorino with RH subs of Davis and Gomes. I think Davis costs $5 mil per year but he is the best available pinch runner we can get for late inning opportunities when we need a stolen base. That alone gets us 2-3 wins a year and he's a decent hitting sub also. I think this keeps us under the luxury tax limit and maximizes our team's opportunity for success.
Kuroda/Tanaka ( adding no more than $4-5 mil against the luxury tax limit if we sign Kuroda and trade Peavy. We gain money against the luxury tax limit if we sign Tanaka )
Possibly the best rotation in baseball.
Beltran/Gomes ($14 mil per year for Beltran, less per year if 3 year deal )
Nava/Carp/Youk ($3 - $5 mil per year as backup)
Ross/Lavarnway/Ruiz (If we can do Tanaka and trade Peavy, we then can sign a catcher like Ruiz for up to $8 mil per year and still have $3-$5 mil left over for contingencies )
JBJ/Rajai Davis ( $5 mil )
Every year since I have been a Sox fan, I have advocated a winter upgrade to one of the top 3 slots of our pitching rotation. This year, we have much higher need areas. With 6 veteran starters and several young arms knocking on the door, I don't see this as the way to go.
In your opening paragraph, you state "Rather than speculate on trades which may or may not be realistic, and factoring the real salary limitations the team has ( They are not going over the luxury tax limit this year guys ), I think we really need to think about getting the most value from our off season spend. What results in the most wins? " But, your whole plan hinges on trading Peavy.
I'm not saying your plan is a bad one, in fact I kind of like the philosophy behind it, as trading good pitching should net excellent returns from desperate trade partners. But, you plan can never work unless we trade Peavy or Dempster or both.
The biggest weakness to your plan, in my opinion, is the 4 positions are being handed to rookies, young players, or clear downgrades from what we had in 2012 (assuming no Ruiz):
CF: Ellsbury to JBJ/Davis
C: Salty/Ross/Lava to Ross/Lava/Butler
1B: Napoli to Nava/Carp/Youk
SS: Drew to Bogey
(Also, 3B goes from Middy, Iggy, Snyder, Holt, Bogey to Middy/Youk)
We also become a worse fielding team at SS, 1B and C.
LF: from Nava/Gomes to Beltran
To me, the Nava/Gomes platoon represented one of our best offensive positions on the team in 2013, and that was the one slot on offense, you chose to clearly upgrade (on paper).
SP: The upgrade is not assuerd with either Tanaka or Kuroda, but on paper, I will concede that both are clearly better than Dempster and almost clearly better than Peavy.