Decisions Await Red Sox New Management In Dallas

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The Red Sox's new leadership team gets down to business at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings in Dallas this week.

The team's new general manager, Ben Cherington, and the new manager, Bobby Valentine, will be rubbing elbows with the rest of the baseball world, including former Red Sox GM Theo Esptein.

Esptein left for a job with the Chicago Cubs, after the Red Sox's historic September collapse, which cost Red Sox manager Terry Francona his job.

Cherington and Valentine are beginning their process of shaping the team's roster for 2012. Valentine also needs to finalize his first Red Sox coaching staff, with the selection of a new pitching coach probably his most important decision.

For Cherington, pitching is also front and central. He must replace departed closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies after this past season. Cherington could turn to a current member of the staff, reliever Daniel Bard. Beyond the bullpen, there are also questions to address when it comes to starting pitchers.

"We're continuing to work on pitching depth," Cherington said. "We're talking to free agents and getting a feel for the landscape of the market this winter. There will be additions to the pitching staff."

Red Sox fans may be wondering if free agent Tim Wakefield will count as an addition. The 45-year-old knuckleballer told the Boston Globe he wants to pitch one more season for the Red Sox, after last season's disappointing 7-8 record.

Wakefield's agent said he'll pitch somewhere in 2012 season even if the Red Sox don't want him. Wakefield needs six more wins with the Red Sox to tie the franchise record shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young.

Valentine spent some time with Wakefield and free agent designated hitter David Ortiz over the weekend in the Dominican Republic, where Ortiz held a charity golf tournament.

This program aired on December 5, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Alex Ashlock Twitter Producer, Here & Now
Alex Ashlock has been a producer for Here & Now since 2005. He started his WBUR career as senior producer of Morning Edition in 1998.