Most new general managers inherit a bit of a mess, otherwise the old guy would still have his job. In this case, Ben Cherington takes over a team that won 90 games and has a roster laden with All-Star players.
But the new GM of the Red Sox still has a lengthy to-do list on his desk. Here are some of the chores he needs to accomplish in the coming weeks:
• Negotiate with Theo Epstein on compensation for Theo Epstein.
• Hire a new manager and coaching staff.
• Decide whether to pick up the team options held on shortstop Marco Scutaro and righthanded reliever Dan Wheeler. Those decisions come due after the World Series.
• Find someplace — San Diego, San Francisco, the moon — to send John Lackey.
• Determine to what degree the team will fight to retain in-house free agents Jonathan Papelbon, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Erik Bedard, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.
• Determine to what extent the medical and conditioning staff needs to be overhauled given the injuries and issues of the last two seasons.
• Decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Mike Aviles, Daniel Bard, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before the Dec. 12 deadline.
• Mend some fences with Carl Crawford, who was shuffled around the lineup all season by Terry Francona then heard that John Henry never wanted him in the first place.
• Make whatever hires are needed in the baseball operations and player development staffs.