By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV SportsBy Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) -It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy world of off-season baseball.

Millions of dollars are getting thrown around at players that are good, but not great. Want to fix your team and sell some tickets? Go sign “Player A” and problem solved. Doesn’t matter if it’s $15, $20, or $25-million per year or whether it’s for 6, 7, or 8 years.

In the past, we have seen Theo Epstein and the Red Sox get caught up in this. Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez (through trade but then given his mega-deal), John Lackey… on and on.

However, I have to give credit to Sox ownership and to Ben Cherington for showing some restraint this winter. Cherington signed both Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino to three-year, $39-million deals. Now, both may not be worth $13-million per season, but Boston had to overpay to keep the deals at three years, with both players getting four-year offers from other teams.

That’s exactly what you want to see from the Red Sox after they shipped out their mega-deals to the Dodgers in August.

No Josh Hamilton unless they can give him three years. To me, I would pay Hamilton three-years at $90-million or so rather than go 4-6 years. That way you can still get him in his prime, but not watch him age.

It’s refreshing to see (at least on paper) that the Sox will allow Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Bryce Brentz, Matt Barnes, Allen Webster and others to grow up in Boston. Let’s see the kids. Remember, the Yankees were dominant for so long because of homegrown talent like Posada, Jeter, Pettitte, and Rivera.

Will Myers? I would take him in a heartbeat. Why? Because how often do you get a chance at a “Minor League Player of the Year” that could be a 3-4-or-5 hitter with power for 10 years. If I’m Cherington, I explore anything and everything that will develop a great, young, controllable (Contract-wise) core.

And, keep bringing in the older players that are good in the clubhouse (Napoli, Ross, Victorino); guys that will lead and show the younger players how to perform 24/7 in the big leagues. Guys that love the game — that’s what this team needs.

Then, you can add your key superstar free agents when you’re “that close” to contending for a World Series on an annual basis.

So, keep up the good work Ben and Co. Don’t give in to these agents and stay the course. I think Red Sox fans will appreciate it and actually get excited.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.


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