Will Sox pursue Hamilton? GM Ben hedges

General manager Ben Cherington tip-toed around a question Monday about whether the Red Sox -- now flush with cash after unloading more than $260 million over the weekend -- would be players for top free agent Josh Hamilton.

In an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI, he seemed to signal the team would be open to signing a big-ticket slugger like Hamilton while reiterating the mantra that the Sox would be more disciplined about spending.

“We have to look at anything,” he said Monday morning when asked whether he’d be interested in a player with Hamilton’s pedigree and price tag. "Yes, we’ve had several conversations, we have some ideas, guys that we think might be available, either through free agency -- and those are the guys you know are going to be available -- or in trades -- guys you think might be available in trades. ... Obviously this trade changes to some extent the types of opportunities we could pursue.

“The fact is we gave up a fair amount of offense in this deal and we have to find a way to replace that offense. We may need to try to do it over more than one position rather than just acquire one guy.”

Hamilton, who leads the American League with 111 RBIs and is second with 35 homers, headlines the upcoming free agent class. The 31-year-old outfielder is in line for a huge contract, likely along the lines of the deal the Sox gave to Carl Crawford a couple of winters ago.

Cherington sent Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers in a blockbuster that gave the Red Sox nearly unprecedented financial flexibility. Whether the Sox use some -- or all -- of the $260 million they saved to sign another elite free agent or trade for a top-paid player will be the most significant storyline of the offseason.

“It’s like getting a big tax refund,” Cherington explained. “You can’t just go spend it in one place or you end up in the same place you were. We have an opportunity now, we just have to make the best of it.”

He added:

"It will be exciting to find ways to complement that core of talent (we currently have). We've got to be smart in doing it. We can't just go and try to fill the void in one or two fell swoops. We've got to try to build a team and do it in a smart way and do it in a way that reflects what we believe in."