John Donovan over at SI.com has put together his American League Hot Stove Grades.
Boston gets a C, for reasons that you can read about in the article. Baltimore also got a C.
I don't agree with his assesment. One example:
Josh Beckett is the picture on the article, with the subtitle "former World Series MVP". Strangely enough, Beckett merely becomes "potential ace" later in the piece.
The bullpen was greatly improved, while the "casting off of old stalwarts" in Mueller and Damon also included trimming the dead-weight in Millar, Bradford, etc. Donovan discredits the Sox for not having a shortstop or a leadoff hitter, both of which are potentially taken care of. Who needs a "lead-off hitter"???? SOMEONE will hit first.
Of course, as he points out, we don't have a CF at the moment, and I suspect that he feels that the "big holes" are what's keeping the Sox from a better "grade".
Yes, losing Damon hurts, but resigning him at a high price would've been a dumb move too. If Edgar Renteria was such a dissapointment to Donovan, why don't the Sox get more credit in their move for Marte?
I feel that Donovan is focusing too much on the things the Sox didn't do and not enough on the big moves.
Added top of the rotation starter (substantial)
Replaced Bill Mueller with Mike Lowell
Replaced Graffanino/Bellhorn with Loretta (a deal with Donavan, to his credit, calls a steal)
Replaced dead weight in bullpen
Hole in Center Field
"Hole" at Shortstop
I just didn't think that we should have gotten the lowest grade in the AL East.