It will be necessary to upgrade the bullpen, figure out the right side of the infield and make some big (and difficult) decisions about some players on the roster headed to free agency.
But if the Red Sox are going to turn things around this off-season, the bulk of their work will have to begin with the team's starting rotation.
Make no mistake: the Red Sox are where they are -- several furlongs out of first place, and at the very edges of the wild card race -- because of the failure of their starting pitchers. The Red Sox spent a lot of money on their rotation and envisioned it as the primary strength of their roster.
Instead, Red Sox starters carried a ghastly 5.09 ERA into Thursday's game. The projected Big 5 of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovladi and Eduardo Rodriguez have combined for just 40 quality starts -- or about one every three games.
Sale, Price, Eovaldi and Rodriguez will be under the team's control for the near future. Whether that's viewed as good or bad news depends on your confidence that the veteran starters can turn things around.