The last time Ben Cherington worked the general managers meetings in Frank Sinatra's old stomping grounds was seven years ago, when he was job-sharing with co-GM Jed Hoyer. The duo laid the groundwork then for one of the more monumental trades in recent Red Soxhistory: Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez to the Marlins for Josh Beckett [stats] and Mike Lowell.

Cherington now is solely in charge and the only piece of that 2005 trade still in Boston, but one constant remains: The Red Sox [team stats] are going to be looking for an impact trade. That would mean trading center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury [stats], and while the odds never favor a blockbuster, the Sox have a recent track record of being very active on the trade front, large and small.

If they have not yet approached teams about Ellsbury, they should, listening to any and all inquiries. Sometimes, trade destinations crawl out of the woodwork at the oddest times and places.

"We've already had a lot of conversations on the phone," Cherington said earlier this week. "But face-to-face, we'll talk a little more about concepts, both free agent concepts and trade concepts."

That the Red Sox prefer and always have preferred to make trades is not in doubt. In August, they dumped on the Dodgers Nick Punto, along with Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the latter of which was the centerpiece of the previous Red Sox blockbuster just two offseasons ago with the Padres and then-GM Hoyer.