This winter will be full of big decisions for the Red Sox: Will they retain Dave Dombrowski as the team enters a period of transition? Will the Sox sweeten J.D. Martinez's deal to dissuade him from opting out of his contract? Will they make any progress approaching Mookie Betts with a contract extension?
Those issues will take precedence and the resolution to those questions will go a long way in determining how quickly the Red Sox can return to championship contender status.
A smaller matter -- but one with significance -- is what to do with Brock Holt.
On a list of the team's potential free agents, Holt is hardly the most prominent name. Rick Porcello and Mitch Moreland have longer resumes and bigger profiles. But Holt, like the others, is hurtling toward free agency, his future uncertain.
Second base has been a position of uncertainty for each of the last three seasons, in large part because of Dustin Pedroia's unavailability. Pedroia was in Denver visiting with the Red Sox Tuesday, walking with the aid of crutches. After yet another surgical procedure earlier this month, Pedroia had more work and rehab to complete, though this time, it's almost certainly with an eye toward quality of life, and not continuing as a major league infielder.
In Pedroia's absence for all but nine games in the last two seasons, Holt has performed admirably. In Tuesday's 10-6 win over the Colorado Rockies, he quietly added three more hits. Since June 1 -- or not long after he returned from a long IL stint that cost him most of the first two months of the season -- Holt is batting .366 (53-for-145), the highest average for an American League player with a minimum of 165 plate appearances in that span.
With a slash line of .329/.403/.468, Holt is enjoying his finest season. He and his family have established roots in the Boston area, opting to live in New England throughout last winter. Holt is most active with the Jimmy Fund and other philanthropic pursuits.
He will not cost a huge amount of money to retain. A very modest bump from his $3.5-million salary for this year would likely be more than enough — it's hard to envision Holt turning down, say, two years and $7.5 million, a figure that wouldn't burst the Red Sox' budget.
But how does Holt fit in? And where?