Having faced their most disappointing season since 2006 by being bounced by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, the Red Sox faced a few issues as they got ready for their next season. The broken corpse of Mike Lowell would need to be replaced at the hot corner, the pitching void left by Curt Schilling would need to be filled by somebody more talented than the combination of John Smoltz and Brad Penny, and a replacement for free agent left fielder Jason Bay would need to be found.
When Jason Bay refused Boston's two year deal, General Manager Theo Epstein thought long and hard about sacrificing that position. If he could make a move for John Lackey, then his pitching staff would be good enough to survive the lack of a powerful left fielder. He could sign a mediocre player, someone like Mike Cameron would get the fans excited. However, when he logged on to a Boston Sports blog, Over The Monster, he noticed a very persuasive poster, who presented an argument he could not ignore. Lackey's falling strikeout rates and decrease in his performance would spell disaster for whichever team signed him as a free agent. If the Sox were going to add wins, it should be from the other big-name Free Agent, Matt Holliday. Besides, one canadian commenter added, John Lackey was a total tool, he wasn't a guy we wanted on the Red Sox at all.
Instead, Theo decided to upgrade his pitching staff another way, working out an astounding trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There had been rumblings that a trade would go down between the Tigers and the Diamondbacks, but Theo swooped in, sending pitching prospects Felix Doubront, Drake Britton, and first base prospect Lars Anderson to Arizona for pitcher Max Scherzer.
Having upgraded the pitching staff without spending money, Theo turned to the question of the left side of his team. There was no way to avoid it, Matt Holliday was going to get paid, and get paid a lot of money, but Theo was able to steal Holliday away from the Cardinals for seven years and 130 million dollars. Finally, on January fifth, Theo signed the other big part of his offensive and defensive upgrades, inking Adrian Beltre to a one year, ten million dollar contract with a five million dollar player option. Beltre, coming off a disappointing year with the Mariners, would be allowed one year to try and bounce back, if he did he would be able to walk, or he could stay a second year with the Red Sox for five million.
WIth his upgraded pitching staff, bolstered by a breakout year from Clay Buchholz, and a dynamite offense spurred on by performances from Beltre, Holliday, and a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox stormed through the season, winning the American League Wild Card before winning a hard-fought battle with the Rangers in five games, then trouncing the Yankees in six before stomping on an all-pitch, no bat Giants team that stumbled into the playoffs. Jonathan Papelbon recorded the last out of the World Series in front of an ecstatic crowd, winning the first World Series in front of a Fenway crowd in 92 years, and Boston's third crown in seven years.