Spring training is just around the corner, although the weather doesn't feel like it.
Somehow, I'm getting that Gene Hackman moment in Hoosiers when he announces "this is your team". Did anyone really doubt that J.D. Drew would be on the Red Sox roster come opening day? Note that being on the roster and in the lineup aren't the same for Drew.
That doesn't look bad at all, presuming that a healthy Crisp is a .300 hitter, that Lugo returns to AL form, and that Pedroia morphs into something unlike Pedroia 2006. Maybe Lugo has a career year, with buddy David Ortiz and 81 games at Fenway to bring more life into his stick.
If the rotation looks something like Schilling, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Papelbon, and Wakefield that's pretty good, too.
The downside to the upside? Every team has question marks, and the Sox pitching question marks revolve around age (Schilling and Wakefield), health (Lester), and the functionality of the bullpen, which has lots of depth and questionable quality.
Let's do the matchup comparison with the Evil Empire.
C Posada vs Varitek...edge Bombers
1B Giambi versus Youkilis...edge Bombers
2B Cano versus Pedroia...edge Bombers
SS Jeter versus Lugo...edge Bombers
3B A-Rod versus Lowell...edge Bombers
LF Matsui versus Manny...edge Sox
CF Damon versus Crisp...edge Bombers
RF Abreu versus Drew...edge Bombers
DH Cabrera versus Ortiz...edge Sox
Well, that wasn't so pleasant, was it?
P Wang versus Schilling...even
P Pettitte versus Beckett...even
P Mussina versus Papelbon...even
P Igawa versus Matsuzaka...edge Sox
P Pavano versus Wakefield...no line on Pavano
Mussina was outstanding last season, but like some Sox starters, he is long in the tooth. Does age start to catch up with him?
Does Andy Pettitte's return to New York 'work' with rumors of personal issues?
Does Mariano Rivera ever age, showing the accumulated mileage?
Can the Yankees break the mysterious curse placed upon them in 2001 by a former employee's wife?
Can Jonathan Papelbon make a successful transformation to starter, bringing on a third pitch (slider) or a fourth (changeup)?
Will Kevin Youkilis have a breakout season?
If the Red Sox trade for Todd Helton, have they truly become the full mirror of the tax and spend New Yorkers? Helton's power numbers have dropped off the planet, and his salary remains an obstacle as well as the Rockies insistence on top bullpen prospects.