Defensive statistics are obviously an inexact science, but for Red Sox fans, they're at least offering a sign of hope.

John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions and a publisher for ACTA Sports, released his stat of the week, which says the Red Sox' talk about improving their defense should have some very tangible results.

The report says that in 2009, the Red Sox had the second-worst runs saved mark with -47. The main contributors to that mark were shortstop (-19), third base (-18) and center field (-10).

As it just so happens, the Red Sox filled those positions with three fielders with a plus rating. Last year, Adrian Beltre saved 22 runs, Marco Scutaro saved 12 runs and Mike Cameron saved three. The combined 37 runs saved is a difference of 84 runs from those three positions last year. Ideally for the Red Sox, if those three can replicate their performances from last season, the team can win eight or nine more games (using the theory that 10 runs saved equals one win).

Dewan also notes that moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left field is an upgrade over Jason Bay — a move that will add to their improved defense.

It's something that GM Theo Epstein clearly had as part of his plan this offseason.

"I think there are a couple of parts that will allow us to throw a really good team defense out there which will help our pitching staff, help our run prevention," Epstein said at the introductory news conference for Cameron.