Believe it or not, the Boston Red Sox led the American League in batting average this season. Bobby Dalbec, left, Rafael Devers, center, and Christian Vazquez, right, should figure prominently in the team’s lineup in 2021. Steven Senne/Associated Press

As the old saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

The process of figuring out who is part of the solution to the problems facing the Boston Red Sox is already under way. The team announced Ron Roenicke would not return as manager before the season finale on Sunday, with Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom saying “this was really about looking forward.”

It seems like we’ve been talking about the offseason since July. That offseason is mercifully here. It’s time to figure out who is going to be part of the solution as the Red Sox try to rebuild a playoff contender for 2021.

There’s no doubt Boston has a foundation of position players who should provide enough offense next season. As bad as things were in 2020, the offense produced. You might be surprised to learn that the Red Sox had the best batting average and most hits in the American League.

Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Alex Verdugo had productive seasons amidst the chaos and should be fixtures at the top of the order next year. J.D. Martinez struggled for most of the year, but finished hitting better and said he was confident he had identified what was wrong with his swing. He also said he’s not leaning toward opting out of his contract, meaning he should be back to hit cleanup. Christian Vazquez has become one of the best-hitting catchers in the game.

Jackie Bradley Jr. had the best offensive season of his career. He is also a free agent. We don’t know where he’ll wind up next year, but in the final days of the season it sounded more and more like it won’t be here.

“Ultimately I’m going to do what I think is best for my family,” Bradley said over the weekend. “We’ll see how that plays out.”

If Bradley leaves, the Red Sox will need to find another outfielder. They will also need Andrew Benintendi to find the form that made him such an exciting young phenom in 2018. After a disappointing 2019, Benintendi had a 2020 he will want to forget. He played in only 14 games before suffering a rib cage strain. Since the start of last year he has only hit .255 with a .751 OPS.

Bobby Dalbec showed big-league power down the stretch and should be the primary first baseman next season, and Christian Arroyo showed enough to get the inside track at second. Yairo Muñoz and Michael Chavis will battle for a utility spot.

The bigger problem is pitching. Boston spent most of the season with the highest ERA in the American League. It improved late in the season, when there were hints that some young pitchers might help fix that problem next year. Twenty-four year-old Tanner Houck was nothing short of sensational in his first three big-league starts, winning all three and giving up just one earned run in 17 innings of work. He struck out 10 Braves in his final start of the year on Saturday night.

Nick Pivetta, the righty acquired in last month’s trade with the Phillies, is three years older than Houck and gave up just two runs in 10 innings of work over two starts with the Sox.

Nathan Eovaldi was terrific when healthy this year, and needs to stay healthy in 2021. Martín Pérez led the team with 12 starts and should be a good fit in the back end of the rotation next year.

Eduardo Rodriguez is expected back, but will start his offseason from scratch having been completely shut down from any physical activity after battling myocarditis, which he developed as a complication from COVID-19. It’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go.

Chris Sale won’t be ready to start the year. The hope is he’ll join the team after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at some point in 2021.

So the Red Sox need to add a starter. That should be the focus for Bloom in the coming months. He’ll also need to add two to three dependable relievers to the bullpen. Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier have taken over the late-game duties, but are you sure they are the guys you want there for 162 games? Bloom’s answer to that question will dictate how much work he faces rebuilding the bullpen this offseason.

In the end, the solution to Boston’s woeful 2020 might not be as daunting as we thought as recently as a month ago. This strange, disappointing season is over. Here’s to better days, and better baseball, ahead.

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

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