Red Sox Nation Rooting for Rangers After They Ruined Yankees' Dream of Repeat The baseball gods are smiling on Boston.

Even though the Red Sox won’t win the World Series this season, neither will the Yankees. That’s the next best thing for Red Sox Nation.

Even better news is that the Red Sox can be the team to beat in 2011.

The Rangers’ win over the Yankees in the ALCS is proof of that.

The Red Sox went 89-73 in 2010. The Rangers were one better at 90-72, but Boston went 4-6 against Texas, and one of those losses (a 10-9 defeat on Aug. 13) came in 11 innings. If the Red Sox had won that game, they would have split the season series with the Rangers, the team that will be representing the American League in this year’s Fall Classic.

There were a lot of “what ifs” associated with the 2010 Red Sox.

What if Dustin Pedroia didn’t miss half the season?

What if Kevin Youkilis played more than 102 games?

What if Victor Martinez didn’t hurt his toe?

What if Tim Bogar held a few more runners at third?

What if John Lackey was consistent?

What if Josh Beckett won more than six games?

What if the bullpen had been reliable?

What if Jonathan Papelbon didn’t blow eight saves?

If a few more breaks had gone the Red Sox’ way, they could be awaiting the winner of the Giants-Phillies series to play for all the marbles.

The Red Sox were a very good team this past season, but Boston doesn’t celebrate third-place finishes and moral victories.

Theo Epstein has a lot of decisions to make.

Do the Red Sox bring back David Ortiz?

Do they add Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth?

Do they go after Cliff Lee?

Do they re-sign Adrian Beltre?

Do they re-sign Victor Martinez?

Do they stick with Marco Scutaro at shortstop?

Do they add some new relievers?

Do they make a trade for Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder?

Some of those decisions will be determined by economics. The Red Sox had a 2010 payroll of $161 million, second only to the Yankees’ $207 million. The Rangers had a payroll of $55 million, 26th in the majors. Only the A’s ($51M), Diamondbacks ($48M), Padres ($38M) and Pirates ($35M) had lower payrolls than the AL pennant winner.

Money doesn’t guarantee championships as the Yankees have shown. Good starting, solid relief, timely hitting and quality defense do.

A World Series title wasn’t meant to be for the Red Sox in 2010, but they weren’t as far away as the sky-is-falling set like to think. By making the right moves this offseason, Boston could be planning another duck boat parade next November.

For now, Red Sox Nation can take solace in knowing the Yankees won’t be repeating and give thanks to the team responsible.

Go Rangers.

What do you think the Red Sox need to do this offseason to win the World Series in 2011? Share your thoughts below.