I've read in a number of sources today that it would appear that Jason Bay's time in Boston is over. Bay has rejected Boston's latest contract offer and is currently considering superior offers from other teams. Boston was considered an ideal destination for Bay, whose pull hitting works well in Fenway Park and whose overall creepiness (this guy definitely drives around in a white van) blended seamlessly into the Boston landscape.
There wouldn't appear to be many good options to replace Bay. I think most people believe that Holliday would not succeed in the AL, especially the AL East. I'm sorry, he sucked in Oakland, and there's no excuse for that. It has been said that, in Oakland, the pressure of having to be 'the guy' got to him. But when you're the best player on a team going nowhere fast, your only job is to pad your stats. There is no pressure to win or be 'the guy.' Holliday is an outfielder, you really think the team's success was riding on his shoulders? He's not that good a hitter, even at his best. And Oakland fans could care less if their team wins or loses. They're Cali fans, and Cali fans are nothing like AL East fans. In Cali you could go 0-1 Million in the post-season, single-handedly blow the World Series by yelling out what pitch was coming to the opposing players during every at bat, and the average Cali fan would still be like, "oh well, maybe next year. Ooh, it's sunny again." An AL East fan will threaten you with violence if he notices you're not shifting your weight efficiently with your new leg kick. Holliday would not be a good fit for Boston, which pretty much leaves nobody with even the potential to make-up for Bay's production.
Boston is right not to give Bay the five year deal that he's seeking. It would be good in the short-run, but that's one of those contracts you regret later and is impossible to move unless you're willing to pay most of the salary (hi Mike Lowell). With the Yankees having seemingly improved with the acquisition of Granderson, with Damon still a possibility to rejoin, and with the Yankees still looking to add another starting pitcher, it is unclear how the Sox plan to be competitive in the coming season in what should be a tough AL East (the Rays are still there guys). The more this offseason progresses, the more it looks like the Sox, who are a smart organization, are building more for 2011 than for 2010.