The proverbial hot stove finally got fired up in Boston with the acquisition of Pablo Sandoval and a reported deal with Hanley Ramirez by the Red Sox. It was a loud – and somewhat surprising – statement by General Manager Ben Cherington to get the offseason started.

By some accounts Sandoval and Ramirez were the top two hitters available via free agency this year. You’d expect fans to stand up and cheer over moves like this.

Yet the immediate reaction on Boston radio and social media was negative. Red Sox Nation was quick to point out that this felt like December 2010, when the Sox made a huge splash with the signing of free agent Carl Crawford and the trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Those moves didn’t work out well. Both players were part of the Collapse of 2011, a 7-20 September that is remembered for beer and chicken in the Sox clubhouse.

This is different. Both Crawford and Gonzalez were products of small-market teams.

Sandoval was an integral part of three championship teams in San Francisco and was MVP of the 2012 World Series. Ramirez came up in the Sox organization before going to Florida in trade that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. He won the National League rookie of the year award with the Marlins in 2006, and hit .356 with a 1.031 OPS in the postseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The question remaining in the wake of these reported signings is what Cherington will do with the rest of the roster. Xander Bogaerts is – at this point – Boston’s primary shortstop. Ramirez could play in the outfield, but would have to fight for time with Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts, Allen Craig, and Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Sandoval becomes Boston’s third baseman, meaning Will Middlebrooks and Brock Holt will be relegated to the bench.

In other words, the Sox have a surplus of position players on the roster. One would assume this means some of them will be moved in trades. Cespedes, with one year remaining on his contract, would be a nice addition to a package that would bring in a top of the rotation pitcher in return. Some of the outfielders listed above would undoubtedly be part of that package as well.

While the Sox continue to be part of the Jon Lester sweepstakes, they need more than just one pitcher. They need at least two to stabilize a rotation that saw four of Boston’s five starters traded away in 2014. Cole Hamels has long been rumored to be available, and the Sox would have to move a handful of prospects to land him. Now, more than ever, they have enough offensive depth to make the move.

Or, they could make a move for Johnny Cueto or Matt Latos of the Cincinnati Reds. Or a Seattle starter like Hisashi Iwakuma.

It’s too early to make a judgment on the Red Sox roster in the wake of the news regarding Sandoval and Ramirez. They are the first two steps in an offseason meant to bring the Red Sox back to the top of the AL East.

If nothing else, Cherington has sent a clear signal to the fan base – and the baseball world – that he will not stand pat this offseason. He plans on recreating the Red Sox roster with veterans who have proven success. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.