One thing that has been synonymous with the Red Sox since the Epstein era began is an emphasis on offense.
This has obviously been highly successful for the Red Sox, who finished first in the AL in runs scored from 2003 to 2005, as well as second in 2008 and third in 2007 and 2009.
However, with the Yankees a newly efficient machine, and a lackluster crop of big bats in free agency, Sox GM Theo Epstein jumped on board the most recent Sabermetric-induced market arbitrage: defense.
Forgoing the opportunity to give a monster contract to Jason Bay (or Matt Holliday), Theo shied away from giving big money to power hitters on the wrong side of 30, instead electing to offer smaller contracts to effective role players like Mike Cameron (left), Marco Scutaro, and Adrian Beltre, and using the savings to pay market value for John Lackey.
This, however, has caused dissension among much of the Boston media, upset with Epstein's plan of running the Red Sox cost-effectively instead of sticking with the 2003-09 model.
Nevertheless, the Red Sox should have a good offense. Where this "defense wins championships" angle should be interesting is on the other coast, in Seattle.
Jack Zduriencik has been fantastic in his stint as GM of the Mariners, taking a franchise that had no hope and, within a season and a half, turning it into a serious contender.
He continued his excellent run this offseason, signing Chone Figgins to a sub-market deal (and away from division rival Los Angeles), bringing in Ryan Garko for cheap when the Giants non-tendered him*, turning Carlos Silva's whopper contract into the solid (albeit slightly unstable) Milton Bradley, and bringing in Cliff Lee to give his rotation two legitimate Cy Young candidates.
However, the Mariners' offense is a massive question mark, as it should be: Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system projects the M's to score 727 runs, and the fewest in the league. Can a team win with a 3-4-5 of Bradley, Jose Lopez, and Ken Griffey Jr.?
*edit - Ryan Garko was waived by Seattle after this article was written.