Theo Epstein added depth to the rotation in John Lackey, and a Gold Glove winner with a productive bat to the lineup in Mike Cameron.
But the Red Sox don't appear to be done dealing yet. Third base is still up in the air, as are the future contracts of some of the players on the roster.
John Lackey's five-year, $82.5 million contract doesn’t seem like the kind of deal Red Sox GM Theo Epstein usually makes in terms of length or dollar amount. Do you think it's evidence of a change in thinking in Boston's front office?
— Tim, Wrentham, Mass.
No, I don’t think it is too much of a change. In years past, they have been willing to spend this much, but with the exception of Daisuke Matsuzaka, they really have not had to. Don’t forget, they were going to offer Mark Teixeira big money but were beaten out.
Prior to the offseason, I think the Red Sox quietly mapped out in their minds who is worth what to them and who is at the top of their list. I am surprised by the Lackey signing only because I really did not see that coming. You hear so much about Roy Halladay or trading for Adrian Gonzalez that Lackey’s name, while out there, was not considered that much publicly here.
As it turns out, it’s a great signing for the Red Sox, creating an amazing and deep rotation. I do think the one change on policy has been the partial no-trade aspect in the more recent contracts, if the reports are true.
What position will Kevin Youkilis be playing on Opening Day? Do you think he is better at third base or first base?
— Julie, Quincy, Mass.
It is still early in the process, but it seems as if third base is where he is headed. The Red Sox may find a more affordable answer at first to fill the void. There has been a lot of talk about Adrian Beltre, but he is really going to be expensive, and they have spent so much already.
I think Youkilis, given the opportunity to stay exclusively at one position, could win another Gold Glove at first or third. While Youk was incredible in making the transition during this past season, it no doubt hurt his overall work. The consistency of one or the other will make him a Gold Glove candidate again.
Are you surprised by the possibility that the Red Sox may execute this deal with Texas for Mike Lowell?
— Brendan, Framingham, Mass.
I am very surprised by this and by the amount of money the Red Sox are reportedly willing to eat. I guess they are most concerned by his lack of range these days and his inability to get around as well as he once did. It was great to have his bat in the lineup, even if getting to second base on doubles was a challenge, at times. I know he was unhappy early during the season and mostly late when his playing time decreased.
I just think his bat and clubhouse presence is too good to move him, especially if you are going to have to pay out so much to another team to take him. Also, my guess is his hip will be better as he is another year removed from surgery. The thumb issue is something that, according to reports, has held up the deal.
Where do the Red Sox stand on contract extension negotiations with Josh Beckett?
— Fred, Manchester, N.H.
Not sure, and it is tough to read. You sign a guy like Lackey long term, and one wonders how much and how long the Red Sox are willing to offer Josh, if he is, in fact, in their long-term plans. With Lackey and Lester signed, you would think that if the Red Sox deem Beckett’s numbers and cost to be too high, they then could move on.
One of the determining factors will be whether or not they move Clay Buchholz this offseason.
Do you think there's any real possibility of Jason Bay signing with the Yankees?
— Derek, Boston, Mass.
Sure. I never say never when it comes to the Yankees. I long ago stopped being surprised by who or mostly how much they are willing to spend to get someone they want. I am also amazed by how little they are mentioned until the 11th hour, and then they swoop in and everyone is left to wonder what just happened. Johnny Damon seems to make more sense for the Yankees short term. But Johnny is thinking long term, so maybe Bay is a possibility. Stay tuned.
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