Lowell and Schilling Return: Boston Red Sox Still Intact, and Maybe Stronger?

Matthew KacergisContributor INovember 20, 2007

IconEverything has fallen back into place for the Boston Red Sox.

Mike Lowell and Curt Schilling—the team's two most high-profile free agents—have both agreed to contracts for the 2007-2008 season.

This will be Schilling's final season, and the beginning of a new three-year contract for Lowell.

Both players could have gotten more money—and in Lowell's case, a longer contract—elsewhere, but they decided to remain in Boston. The reason is clear—the Red Sox are the best team in Major League Baseball.

They play in the heart of one of the nation's greatest cities. They are run by a front office that knows how, when, and on whom to spend their money. But most of all, they have a team dynamic which is unbreakable.

One could convincingly argue that next year’s team will be better, stronger, and even more unstoppable than this year's champions. It is difficult to find any weakness in their possibly-six-deep starting rotation. Lester is back in good health, Matsuzaka has had a season to adjust to the Major Leagues, and Schilling will spend the off-season working to get in the best shape of his career.

The re-signing of Lowell also keeps the same winningIcon starting line-up that swept the World Series intact. However, it would be a surprise if the Sox did not trade Coco Crisp and put Jacoby Ellsbury in his place. In addition to showcasing his impressive speed last year, Ellsbury proved to be an excellent fielder and a strong hitter.

Yes, things are looking good for the Red Sox. Their offseason to-do list will consist of finding a couple of strong arms to fill out their bullpen—and should include a contract upgrade and extension for Terry Francona!