Theo Epstein and the baseball staff have to be asking themselves - is this team, as currently constituted, good enough to win again? If not, how much of the farm system are they willing to try to get the necessary pieces? How much will this disrupt the clubhouse?
Realistically, Varitek and Damon have been outstanding, and Manny and Ortiz have produced at expected levels. Nixon has been a disappointment (you wouldn't trade him for Carl Crawford in a nanosecond?), and the infield has been near catastrophic, with mediocre defense (including Edgar Renteria), and very limited production.
The pitching has varied, barely adequate in the rotation, with problems everywhere except Timlin in the setup role (inherited runners?) and Myers as LOOGY - lefty out of the pen to get one guy. Schilling doesn't look anything like last year's version with either command or velocity, and that's the reality.
Okay, so the Sox are in first. That and $4.25 will get you a bottled water in Fenway.
In parts, the team has grown old, and is not very 'athletic' as a whole. Too many of the parts are purchased not developed.
We can't leave 'em, but it's hard to love 'em as they are, and they certainly aren't good enough to win the AL (never mind the whole enchilada) without a substantial retooling. Sorry to burst your bubble, Dr. Pangloss, but that's how it is.