Contrary to popular opinion, the players weren't bad guys.
You can take a horse to water, but you get make a veteran union slob work. The players were responsible, and a manager can do little with cancerous veteran bandwagon leaders. Part of it is now gone, but some of the garbage remains. Unless Lackey performs well by early summer, management should try and unload him and some cash in exchange for farm scraps. If Slackey isn't tradeable at that time, they should release him.
If Ellsbury performs well, trade him, regardless of whether or not the team is a playoff bubble team. If Ellsbury performs poorly, put him in the doghouse and make a qualifying offer and take the draft compensation. Some GM will offer him more than the qualifying offer, and putting him in the doghouse will make certain he takes the other offer and leaves town.
If Salty performs well, trade him. He's a terrible defensive catcher. If he performs poorly, offer him a one year lower single digit MLB contract to be a platoon 1st base, and backup catcher and pinch hitter bench guy.
If Dumpster performs well, trade him, he's old and carries himself as a loser. Use the 13.25 million more wisely for 2014. Ditto, on Shane. If the Red Sox don't have something better than old Shane, for 2014, they need to fire a bunch of player development people.
Any other veteran player who will beomce a FA at season end, see "hanrahan", trade them. The moment S. Drew has a few weeks of decent performance, they should fire sell him.
Clear most of the payroll if the team is floundering through the first 3 months.
LF (acquire a top young slugging OF'er via trade market from smaller market team) 15M
Bradley, Jr. CF .5M
Platoon Gomes and Kalish or other RH farm hand who demonstrates MLB proficeincy) 6M
3B Middlebrooks if he's not seriously hurt, again, otherwise, next farm hand up and sign a one year cheap single digits placeholder 3B'man .75M
SS Iglesias (knock off the slugging SS nonsense, it's never worked) + Ciriaco UIF 2.5M
2B Pedroia 14M
1B Budget about 10 million and acquire a 2nd tier RH first baseman on a one year deal and sign a veteran LH hitting 1st baseman to a cheap one year deal
C D. Ross and promote the best farmhand catcher 4M
DH Ortiz is on the books for about 13M (rotate the position of Ortiz washed up in 2013)
Since the trade is a done deal, may well keep Carp and use him on the 2014 bench as a 1B/corner OF bench guy. .75M
Lester (if healthy enough, pick up 13M option for 2014)
From the Farm .5M
Budget 10M to sign veteran pitchers to MLB and minor league contracts
Budget about 15M for the pen
Construct the 2014 Red Sox on a budget of about 100 million, give or take 10 percent. There is nothing on the labor market that will deliver any value beyond this. Any GM who can't construct a playoff winning and title contending team from this budget and the farm, well, he needs to be fired.
So many words, so little substance...