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Epstein looks ahead to the winter

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 12, 2009 02:30 PM

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Had the Red Sox won yesterday, Fenway Park would be brimming with activity right now with batting practice about to begin before Game 4 of the ALDS. Instead the stands are empty, the mound and plate are covered and all is quiet save a few writers in the press box and some tour groups being escorted around.

Theo Epstein and Terry Francona just did a 40-minute autopsy on the season. The highlights:

Epstein said he expects John Farrell to be back as pitching coach. When Cleveland asked for permission to speak to Farrell about their managerial vacancy, Farrell told Epstein his desire was to stay in Boston. This might be the most significant development of the day.

Houston asked to speak with first base coach Tim Bogar and bench coach Brad Mills about their managerial opening and were given permission. There is a large field for that job. It's also not a great job given the impatience of owner Drayton McLane.

Epstein said it was safe to "pencil in" Clay Buchholz for the 2010 rotation.

They want Tim Wakefield back and the expectation is he would make "some" starts. Wakefield's surgery is expected to be later this week.

Victor Martinez is the catcher, period. As Epstein said, that was the expectation when they traded for him. "He's about as good as it gets," the GM said. As for Jason Varitek, discussions will be held.

Epstein termed the Jason Bay negotiations unusual in that the team wants the player back and the player wants to come back, yet no deal has been reached. The Red Sox could well make a deal before Bay enters the market. But history suggests that any player who gets this close to free agency usually takes the opportunity. It's difficult to get a gauge of your worth until there's a market for it. Given the lack of depth in the market, Bay could drive his price up.

Epstein said that 2010 could be the last chance for the core players to "make a run" before significant changes are made. While the Sox do not have many MLB-ready players in AAA, they have prospects who could be ready by 2011.

Epstein said it was possible that Alex Gonzalez could be back at shortstop. But he spoke highly of Jed Lowrie and the need not to lose faith in young players. Still, as Epstein said, Lowie has yet to prove he can stay healthy in the majors.

Epstein, Francona on 2009

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