We're a few weeks into spring training, all. What have we learned? Well, turns out that Jose Iglesias is the best shortstop on the team. Pedro Ciriaco is in fact David Ortiz, circa October 2004. Daniel Bard is clearly doomed as a starter, and Jon Lester can't find the strike zone. We've also learned that the only thing less reliable than spring training stats is spring training narratives.
Fortunately, hereabouts we don't worry about such things. Spring training is a time for reflection, for the watching of meaningless games with a well-hopped brew. Why force storylines when there just aren't any to be had? Especially when there's so much actual baseball fun to be discussed.
To the cartoons! Nope, no cartoons. Damn. To the recap, then!
The real key to spring training is, oddly enough, training. Getting the kinks worked out and the dust knocked off the baseball tools that've been sitting on a shelf all winter. And the Red Sox are well supplied with tools. Matt Sullivan wrapped up his analysis of the team's best individual tools with a look at Best Stuff. Votes were pretty divided, mostly a reflection of that ancient debate over pure stuff vs. results. A debate which a season's worth of Andrew Miller will probably do nothing to alleviate. And if you're looking for an overview of the entire Best Tools series, you're in luck; Matt wrote that up too, complete with a full chart of the OTM writers' votes. Because at the end of the day, we know you value our opinion above all other things.
Marc Normandin's been going over the Sox roster, trying to find the little things that could spell the difference between October glory and another winter of beat reporters criticizing fans for being insufficiently sad at home losses. On Monday, he covered reliever of mystery Matt Albers. Tuesday's man was Mark Melancon, the man traded for a Legend. Returning backup catcher Kelly Shoppach got a taste of the spotlight on Wednesday. Thursday it was Felix Doubront's turn under the magnifying glass. The week closed (see what I did there?) with a look at Andrew Bailey, who, according to his Twitter feed, has just discovered Draw Something. This may not bode well for his late-inning focus.
In disappointing news, the Theo Epstein compensation saga is one step closer to completion. I know, I know. You were all hoping it'd keep rolling on and on, never quite figuring out where it was going, but leaving you entertained all the same, like the last hour of The Dark Knight. But alas, the Red Sox had to go and get a useful piece, acquiring live relief arm Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs. Fortunately there's still the PTBNL going the other way to determine.
Impromptu poll! First thought when you heard the Red Sox had signed Nick Punto. And please, this is a family site, so be sure to use words like "shucks" and "darn." Well, sure, he's not quite the model of a modern major-league slugger. But he, like new teammate Ryan Sweeney, can work an at-bat. And as Matt Sullivan discussed, that could well prove useful to the Sox.
Another thing that could prove useful to the Sox is a supply of reliable rotation arms. Cee Angi gave us some insight into Clay Buchholz, the pitcher who could take Boston from a "Beckett and Lester and pray for zombie Spahn and Sain" rotation to a pretty solid one. Marc covered the transition of Daniel Bard from setup man extraordinaire to potential fourth starter.
Matt Kory sent us a dispatch from the Red Sox' new spring training home at JetBlue Park. This reminds me mainly that I need to start making enough money to get down to Florida some March. Perhaps every March. And maybe most of January and February.
Speaking of money, did you guys hear that the Red Sox are concerned about the luxury tax threshold? I assume you did, since you're presumably 1) alive; 2) interested in Boston sports; and 3) a fan of this site. Marc spent a few paragraphs examining the implications of the new luxury tax rules and what this might mean going forward for Boston.
Have a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day, all (or Evacuation Day, for you Revolutionary War buffs). Wear all the green you like, so long as there's also a Sox cap involved, and you don't drink anything green. Please, don't drink anything green. 19 days till Game One in Detroit.