With the deal for reliever Joel Hanrahan completed -- and if and when the Mike Napoli signing is cleared medically and legally -- the Red Sox have added eight and maybe even nine players. They have brought former pitching coach John Farrell back to manage with some new, energetic coaches. They get John Lackey back after a missed season because of Tommy John surgery, David Ortiz back after missing half a year due to an Achilles injury, near-2011 American League MVP Award winner Jacoby Ellsbury back after missing 88 games due to a shoulder injury and Dustin Pedroia healthy after playing through a myriad of injuries, including broken fingers on each hand near the end of 2012.
But because the media perceives there to be a lack of things to talk and write about, the Boston offseason has created all the excitement of the changeover in the toll-taking system on the Mass Pike. One columnist constantly reminds everyone that this is still a last-place team. Another suggested the Red Sox should have given Josh Hamilton $150 million because at least he was someone to write and talk about.
Yet everyone in New England should remember that the Red Sox are two years removed from "The Winter of Buzz," when they expended nearly $300 million and three players for Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, who have since been traded to the Dodgers in what was a make-good deal with the bonus factor of two outstanding pitching prospects. That remembered, no one really knows what the 2013 Red Sox will be.
All the players acquired thus far will be 30 by Opening Day. Three of them -- Hanrahan (2011, '12), Shane Victorino (2009, '11) and Ryan Dempster (2000, '08) -- have been All-Stars. All, especially David Ross and Dempster, are considered chemistry upgrades.
Let's run down the list. First, Cherington dismissed manager Bobby Valentine and hired John Farrell. There are dozens of reasons Valentine and the Red Sox were a bad marriage. Rather than pretend otherwise, the Sox cut their losses.
Farrell knows the organization and its players. He has their confidence and respect. How much progress the Red Sox make will depend largely on Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey having productive seasons, and hiring Farrell, once one of baseball's most respected pitching coaches, is a step in that direction.
As for everything else, Cherington filled pretty much every need. Depth for the rotation? Ryan Dempster has averaged 200 innings the last five seasons.
Bullpen? Cherington signed free agent Koji Uehara and is close to trading for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. The Red Sox likely will have three left-handers in the bullpen, giving Farrell an array of late-inning options.
The Red Sox are still attempting to finalize a deal with Mike Napoli, who can play first or catch. Like most of the others, he's a respected clubhouse presence who has been to the playoffs.
If there are no more changes in the current depth chart, only four Red Sox everyday players who started on Opening Day in 2012 -- Pedroia, Ortiz, Ellsbury and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- will be back at their same spots in 2013.
I think the sox can compete and will compete for a wild card. Injuries are always a factor but I believe this team is capable of 88 to 90 winsI agree that 90 wins is the ceiling for this team. Even if things don't break just right, we should still manage 80 wins. 2014 will be the year the Sox start taking leaps forward when the prospects start making their way to Boston.