As Cherington steps in, plenty to do

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.

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• 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.