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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington expects payroll to be 'very large'

Will Josh Hamilton be part of the Red Sox's bid to add more payroll? (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Thursday that the team's payroll will be "very large" and among the league's highest at the end of the offseason.

"It's harder to predict this offseason than it has been in previous offseasons because in previous offseasons we've been closer to that, closer to where we'll end up," Cherington said in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI, according to ESPN. "Especially last offseason, when we were making more cosmetic changes.

"I know that we'll have a very strong payroll, a large payroll. I know that we're going to add to it this winter. I'm confident in saying that we'll be amongst the larger payrolls in the game. Exactly where it ends up, exactly what rank we are, I don't know that yet. I think it just depends on what we do. We're not going to shoot for an arbitrary payroll number just to say that we're going to get to this. We just have to look at each opportunity as it comes and figure out whether it's the right thing for the Red Sox."

The Red Sox come into the offseason with only about $45 million committed to their roster. That's because they shipped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the season, freeing up nearly $250 million in future salary.

Cherington would not say if he planned to make any "big splashes," but he did say he's been in touch with "just about every agent of any prominent free agent."

The Red Sox are reportedly interested in entering the bidding for free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton. And they also reportedly plan to target free agents Michael Bourn, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew.

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