Sunday November 03, 2013 | 09:33 AM

The same day the Red Sox celebrated their World Series title with a parade, the team also announced that they were not picking up the contract option on reliever Matt Thornton.

Just a reminder that this is a business.

Every general manager knows that you cannot fall in love with your players. There is turnover every year and difficult decisions must be made - whether you love a player or not.

We look at the Red Sox options in today's column.

Boston has five free agents to deal with:

1B Mike Napoli. Made $13-million in 2013, which included base salary of $5-million, plus incentives.

SS Stephen Drew. $9.5-million this season.

OF Jacoby Ellsbury. $9-million.

P Joel Hanrahan. $7-million

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia $4.5-million.

The guess here is that Boston makes offers to at least three (Napoli, Drew, Ellsbury), with chances of two of them (Napoli and Drew) coming back.

It would be an upset if Ellsbury is back, assuming some team is going to offer a ton over a lot of years.Boston will save the money, take the extra draft pick and insert Jackie Bradley Jr. into the lineup.

Napoli will likely require a multi-year contract (will two do it?).

Drew might go for another one-year deal, with a considerable raise. If someone is offering multiple years at similar money, then he could go.

Saltalamacchia is a wild card. Had a good season. But will Boston invest in him  when it has David Ross and a bunch of young catchers coming up?

Hanrahan is coming back from Tommy John surgery. No idea what he can do in 2014 so he could get an incentive-laden deal.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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