The Red Sox really stepped up their game with all the incredible moves coming during the winter meetings and beyond. It's hard not to think about the upcoming season without getting excited, and with good reason. The Sox present a potent lineup from all angles, and it comes as no surprise that Red Sox fans are already itching for pitchers and catchers to report.
We may still have a lot of snow coming our way, but the Red Sox season is just heating up, and there is plenty of excitement on the horizon.
Did you see this offseason of amazing signing and trades by the Red Sox coming?
–Ron, Waltham, Mass.
Honestly I did not. I thought, really, the offseason moves would be minimal, with the major emphasis being on getting everybody healthy and ready to go for 2011. I figured there would be one free-agent signing and maybe some minor deals or signings to bolster the bullpen. I never imagined that Carl Crawford would be in a Red Sox uniform. Everything I had heard was that he was headed to the Angels, where he would be a good fit. Not only is he now a member of the Red Sox, but Adrian Gonzalez is on the team as well. I am very surprised at how little the Red Sox had to give up. I really thought it was going to take a starting pitcher and maybe Jacoby Ellsbury — or both — to get it done.
After playing for the Padres in Southern Cal, how will Adrian fare on the big stage of Boston?
— Kerry, Nashua, N.H.
When he was traded, I had the chance to sit down and interview him. I was really impressed with how he handled everything at the news conference and his level of excitement to now be a part of all this in Boson. We have a mutual friend in Dave Roberts who, like others, truly believes this move could elevate his amazing talents to a new level and that his swing is designed for Fenway Park. All good! I can't wait to see him play every day. Having watched him from afar over the years, you sort of wondered what he would do with some protection around him in the lineup. We will soon see for ourselves. I think he will handle it well and has the personality to flourish here.
Do you think Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be the everyday catcher?
–Dan, Milford, Conn.
I think there were some interesting comments from Terry Francona at the winter meetings and after, in regard to Jason Varitek and how he will see significant time and will not be your typical backup. It sounded to me like Varitek will play more than was expected of him last year and Saltalamacchia will play but also learn from Varitek on a daily basis. To Varitek's credit, he was very good with Victor Martinez and helped him adjust on the fly to the pitching staff he inherited, despite losing playing time. I expect Varitek will be as helpful for Saltalamacchia and will also see plenty of playing time of his own.
How much of an adjustment will it be for Red Sox pitchers to adjust to new pitching coach Curt Young?
— Erik, Falmouth, Maine
I think it will be easier for the veterans. I think the younger pitchers on the staff really relied on John Farrell's assistance a great deal. Namely, Clay Buchholz. I think Curt Young will do a great job, though. He has the benefit of watching and being a part of the spring training process, and that will go a long way to how he and the pitching staff will collaborate during the season. I have had many people who have worked with or on the staff of Curt Young in the past, and all have told me how lucky the Red Sox are to have signed him this offseason.
Are you and Jerry ready for 2011?
— Tracey, Cambridge, Mass.
I am very excited about this season. I cannot think of another year where there has been this much excitement revolved around getting the season started. We have a large number of spring games on tap and lots of daily live coverage from the Fort. I have had enough of the snow and cold. Let's get it on!