The Major League Baseball offseason is officially here. This week, general managers from the 30 big-league teams are gathering in Arizona for their annual meetings. There will be plenty of tire-kicking as GMs look to see what may be available in the trade market as each team looks to improve its chances of making the 2017 playoffs.

Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s president of baseball operations, doesn’t really have a lot of holes to fill. He’s got a relatively stable roster returning after a 93-win season and an American League East title. Of course, it’s a roster that lost five of the final six regular-season games before being swept by Cleveland in the AL Division Series.

The one big void on the roster is designated hitter. David Ortiz is gone, his Papi-pallooza fading out along with Boston’s playoff hopes in October. Will Dombrowski look to acquire an established big-name bat to replace Big Papi?

Ortiz is on the record recommending Toronto free-agent Edwin Encarnation as his replacement. Yet Encarnacion will be 34 in January and will be looking for a deal of at least four or five years. Will Dombrowski really want to be handcuffed by a megadeal that would see him paying a 38- or 39-year old DH megabucks at the end of the contract?

More likely, you’ll see Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval spend time as the team’s DH, with Travis Shaw playing both corner infield positions while 23-year old prospect Sam Travis – a career .303 hitter in the minors who suffered a season-ending injury in May – gets a chance to join Boston’s youth movement.

Dombrowski’s primary focus this winter will be to bolster the bullpen. While Craig Kimbrell returns as Boston’s closer, the key late-inning setup core will change. Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler are all free agents. Ziegler will be in demand and will likely cost too much for Boston’s liking.

There are top closers available on the free-agent market. Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jensen, and Mark Melancon could all be had for the right price. And with closers, that price is high. You have to wonder, though, if Dombrowski would consider using some of the payroll flexibility created by the loss of Ortiz to bring in someone who could serve as the lock-down setup man before Kimbrel.

We saw what Andrew Miller did for the Cleveland Indians. Terry Francona used him in all situations while keeping closer Cody Allen for the ninth. Someone like Jensen could serve the same role for Boston, and he’d undoubtedly be fine with the role if he was being paid like a closer. Miller – making $9 million annually in Cleveland – never complained about pitching in the seventh or eighth inning for the Indians.

Even if he doesn’t open up the checkbook and sign a closer, Dombrowski will have to spend to rebuild the bullpen. Greg Holland missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery and could be worth a run. There are plenty of other relievers out there, such as Drew Storen, J.P. Howell, Neftali Feliz and Joe Smith. Ziegler showed what he can do in his short time with Boston.

It would seem that Dombrowski is happy with his starting rotation, especially after picking up the 2017 option on Clay Buchholz’s contract last week. Bringing him back means Joe Kelly and his 100 mph fastball can stay in the bullpen.

After a three-and-out run in the postseason, it’s hard to think everything is fine with the Red Sox roster. But Dombrowski knows he is dealing from a position of strength. He is always looking to improve the bottom of his roster. This winter, that is all about making the bullpen better – even if it means avoiding the big splash to replace Big Papi.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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