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Sports

November 5, 2013

Sox make $14M offers to Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew

BOSTON — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell would like to keep the World Series champions together for another run at a title. And yet he knows that’s unlikely to happen.

“That was felt when we got off the duck boats, knowing this was one last chance to celebrate with a million people in the city,” Farrell said yesterday, two days after the team’s victory parade and hours before the deadline to make qualifying offers to four free agents who were key to the team’s title. “Hopefully we’ll be able to retain all of them. The reality is that might not work out.”

One year after a midseason and offseason overhaul that turned a last-place team into World Series champs, the Red Sox began building for 2014 yesterday by making $14.1 million qualifying offers to free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew. General manager Ben Cherington said the team decided not to make an offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, though he would like to re-sign the catcher.

“There’s interest in every one of them,” Cherington said. “I also think it’s unlikely that every one of them will be back. ... We’re going to keep the conversation going with all of them, and also with alternatives, and see where the market shapes up. In a vacuum we’d like to have all of them back.”

The Red Sox went from worst to first a year after dumping three of their biggest contracts — Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford — on the Los Angeles Dodgers at a savings of about $261.7 million. Instead of making a big splash in free agency last offseason, they signed mid-market players like Napoli, Drew, Shane Victorino and Koji Uehara.

Cherington said the lessons learned from their successes and failures won’t be forgotten.

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