Pesky Red Sox Have Successful, If Minor, Offseason

JerseySenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2009

The Red Sox are, unfortunately, a very good team. They didn't need a Mark Teixeira to fix their lineup, or a CC Sabathia to head their rotation. No, they're pretty set, and needed some smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.

The Yankees have out-offseasoned them this winter, but that's because they had to. The Red Sox haven't made such big moves, but they've made a few smaller ones that have really solidified their roster.

Their first was dealing Coco Crisp to the Royals for Ramon Ramirez. While I'm not sold on Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox are, and instead of letting Crisp rot on the bench, they spun him for a quality reliever. They then went and added Rocco Baldelli to fill that fourth-outfielder role.

I see Baldelli as a very minor move, the kind that won't make too much of a difference, but it's still a decent signing. More important, though, was the other signing they made that day—one John Smoltz. Smoltz may be coming off an injury, but when he does pitch, he's great. They signed him to a cheap deal that will only grow if Smoltz makes it to the mound. I actually really like that move. Actually, I hate that move, because I hate the Red Sox, but you understand what I'm trying to say.

They did sign another starter, Brad Penny. A lot of people think it was a shrewd under-the-radar move, but I don't think it was so great. But still, he did come cheap, and if it works out, they made yet another solid, cheap signing.

And then, most recently, the Red Sox signed Takashi Saito to a small contract. He may be old, but he has pitched well, and like the Smoltz contract, Saito's is packed with incentives. It's another cheap signing with upside, another strong move for Boston.

Their biggest hole remains at catcher. Even if they do bring back Jason Varitek, the dude is old and bad. They lost backup Kevin Cash to the Yankees, although with Tim Wakefield apparently headed to the bullpen, they won't need to rely on Cash's knuckleball-catching abilities as much. But still, they're now left with Josh Bard and... Josh Bard.

So they've got a hole to fill, and they're not sure what to expect from Mike Lowell, who is still injured. David Ortiz also seems to have lost a little something. But with a slew of smaller deals, the Red Sox have solidified their team, and have had a successful offseason.

Damn it.