For the Red Sox front office, the offseason is about to end. Thanks to changes in of MLB calendar, Theo Epstein and other general managers will get busy earlier in November than they have in the past.

The free-agent filing period now begins five days after the end of the World Series, a full 10 days sooner than past years.

That means we’ll know the team’s true intentions about David Ortiz, Victor Martinez, and Adrian Beltre soon enough.

The trio provided the vast majority of the team’s power in 2010, hitting 80 of Boston’s 211 homers and recording 283 of the team’s 782 runs batted in.

They might not mean as much to the Sox as Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce mean to the Celtics, but what Epstein does with this offensive big three will determine how this offseason progresses for the team.

Here is a look at what the team must consider about each man in the days ahead:


DAVID ORTIZ: The team holds a one-year, $12.5 million option on the DH, who is coming off another strong year.

After an ice-cold start, an April that had some fans calling for his release, Big Papi finished the season with 32 HRs and 102 RBI. His .898 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) was one of the best on the team.

Why sign him? Thirty HR/100 RBI guys are hard to come by. The Sox could be losing power at other positions and could certainly use him in the heart of the lineup.

Why let him go? He struggles against left-handed pitching (the OPS drops to .599 vs. LHP, and only two of those 32 homers came against southpaws.)

Also, he has made it clear he wants a multi-year extension, and if there is an extension it will be for much less money. If there is not an extension, does the team want to hear the ruckus if he gets off to another slow start?

Early guess: One way or another, the Sox will figure out a way to bring Big Papi back.


VICTOR MARTINEZ: Despite battling a mid-season broken thumb, Martinez finished with 20 HRs, 79 RBI, and an OPS of .844. He proved adept at handling pitchers, and dramatically improved his ability to throw out base runners in the second half of the season. He is one of the best offensive catchers in the game, and one of the most popular players in the clubhouse.

Why sign him? With the potential loss of Jason Varitek, and the uncertainty of Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s catching skills, losing Martinez could be a huge blow to this team. He owns left-handed pitching, hitting 12 of his 20 HRs and posting a 1.173 OPS against lefties. Switch-hitting skills like that are hard to find, especially in catchers.

Why let him go? No reason. The only way he leaves is if other teams dwarf Boston’s offer. The Sox should do everything they can to bring him back.

Early guess: Tough one here. There are already rumors of a four- or five-year deal from the Tigers. The Sox will want him back but won’t want such a long contract.

• ADRIAN BELTRE: The offensive MVP of the Red Sox in 2010 played 154 games, posting a .919 OPS with 28 HRs and 102 RBI.

He played a strong defensive third base, and could launch homers out of the park on one knee. Clearly showed that Fenway Park is a perfect home for his ability to hit for powers to all fields.

Why sign him? Had a great season at the plate, and would be in the MVP discussion had the Sox been a playoff team. Was the most-feared hitter in the lineup.

Why let him go? The only other comparable season Beltre has had was in 2004, his contract year with the Dodgers. His OPS that season was 1.017, and he hit 48 HRs and 121 RBI while finishing second (to Barry Bonds) in the NL MVP voting. That season earned him a five-year, $64 million contract with Seattle.

In those five years, he never hit .300 or drove in 100 runs in a season.

He will be one of the most sought-after free agents on the market, and you’d have to be concerned about tying up a long-term deal with him.

Early guess: Beltre will wind up somewhere else, with a Scott Boras-engineered deal of five or more years.


Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.