The best part of hot stove talk for me is not the joy of signing free agents or the agony of losing a long time favorite player to another team.  No, its the endless speculation, fantasy style trades and signing every fan throws out and the shoulda, coulda, woulda, almost did moments that are talked about after.

One of those moments was just revealed as it was announced that the Boston Red Sox made an offer to free agent and long time torn in Boston’s side Mariano Rivera.  The Yankee legend was reportedly offered two-years, $30 million from Boston, the same contract he is reportedly set to sign with New York.

If the Sox did land Rivera, they were ready to non-tender current closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Coming off his worst season ever statistically, Papelbon’s 3.90 ERA and eight blown saves were career highs, and as a Red Sox fan no lead felt safe when Papelbon entered the game.

While I’m not surprised Rivera resigned with the Yankees, I am shocked that the Red Sox made a legitimate offer and were willing to part with a fan favorite.

Rivera is one of the best closers in the history of the baseball and the best in the postseason.  Any team in need of a closer would have been insane to not atleast take a look into landing him. 

I for one would have loved to have Rivera on the Red Sox.  He has a few good years left in him and seeing him in pitch against the Yankees would have been amazing.

The Sox also have hard throwing Rookie Daniel Bard, who acted as the 8th inning set-up guy last season.  While he may not be ready to take it over immediately, Bard is poised to be the Sox closer of the future.

This is the first of what is sure to be many what if moments of the 2010 offseason, and the first that I wish had gone differently.