Fast forward to 2009. The Red Sox seem to have lost the power battle, but may be winning the arms race, with potential starters including Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Penny, Tim Wakefield, John Smoltz, Clay Buchholz, and Michael Bowden. If momentum 'lasts as long as the next day's pitcher, then the Sox could have plenty.
In the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon anchors, with plenty of help from Takashi Saito, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez, Justin Masterson, Hideki Okajima, and Javier Lopez.
In the game of finding new ways to skin the proverbial cat, the Sox have opted to double up on the run prevention side of the baseball ledger, without abandoning the offense.
Amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression, the Sox have economized while waiting for the development of Lars Anderson, who could project to be another Justin Morneau-type player.
Yes, the Sox continue to have a hole at catcher, and it remains to be see who will become the fungible piece necessary to fill that hole via trade. Whether Jason Varitek and Scott Boras have worn out their collective welcome remains to be seen.
The key questions for the team offensively are:
- Who is the real Jacoby Ellsbury?
- Is Big Papi ready to resume his usual form with good health?