The 2006 Red Sox were no more than some ideas wrapped up in an enigma (Theo Esptein) and more questions were being asked, and more hours among fans and the media, spent flogging the entire Theo-gate issue than, it seems in retrospect, were justified.
From my perspective, the following things do not matter:
- who was responsible for what signings or non-signings or trades. That is for the Red Sox history (consipiracy) buffs.
- whose starting pitchers are better, Red Sox or Yankees. The on-paper arguments are fun for the scribes and some rabid Yankees fans, but what really matters is how spring training goes for both bunches. (I read that Pavano may start the year late.)
- Mike Lowell's hitting. The man had a bad year, for various reasons. He is too young to have hit the wall and fallen down. He will hit .300 or better.
- Josh Beckett's arm. I have heard him described as damaged, injured, suspect, etc. Let the man throw one pitch or two in anger before the negatives start flowing.
- JT Snow. He is a better first basemen than anyone on the Sox for years. Let Kevin Youkilis learn the postion from an All-Star first baseman; if that turns out to be the only value Snow brings (and it will not be), that is still great value.
- Manny Ramirez' status. He is going to play and play for the Sox; there is simply no deal out there worthy of his being traded. One may develop but I am sure the Sox will not let him go once the season starts and the numbers pile up for him and Papi.
- Alex Gonzales' batting average. This may be going too far back for many people, but many teams in history managed to win and win the World Series with very low-average hitters (e.g., Mark Belanger, Ed Brinkman, Dal Maxvill, Bud Harrelson). Gonzales will benefit from not having to worry about his offense on this team and may actually improve his average as a result of being in this lineup.
- Curt Schilling's personality. He pitches, he makes no excuses, he has strong opinions. Let him speak and pitch, in reverse order. Who cares what he says? He is a baseball player not a politician.