The Red Sox started preparing for 2015 in July with all the moves they made at the trade deadline. General manager Ben Cherington said Monday that his staff has been working for weeks evaluating free agents and potential trade targets.

“Obviously the front office has been working hard doing all the preparation for the offseason,” he said. “Over the course of the next two to three weeks, we’ll move into kind of a meeting phase to gather opinions of our scouts and opinions of folks in the front office, formulate a strategy.

“Meet with ownership at some point in October to discuss that strategy and then be prepared to try to execute it as we get into the first of November when the offseason opens up.”

There is money to spend and payroll flexibility beyond 2015. Even if Cherington holds some payroll space in reserve for midseason moves, the Sox could invest $65 million-$70 million in free agents or in players obtained via trade.

The holes in the roster are obvious. The Red Sox need at least two starting pitchers and a lefthanded hitter or two to balance a lineup that is almost entirely righthanded. Ideally, the Sox would find a third baseman and catcher who bat lefthanded. They also could create avenues to add lefty hitters by trading one or more of their outfielders or even first baseman Mike Napoli.

Here is a look at the available free agents who fit their needs as things stand today and whether they match up with the Sox:

STARTING PITCHERS

LHP Jon Lester: The best move to fix the team and energize the ticket-buying fan base would be to bring back Lester, a tested ace who can handle pitching in Boston. But the Sox blew their chance in spring …read more