Every offseason has one day that seems to define it. 356 days ago, it was the day John Lackey signed. It started out quiet, built steam, and by the end of the night the Sox had picked up not only a new star pitcher, but a starting center fielder in Mike Cameron, too. The deals were relatively quick and simple, with little build up but plenty of mixed reactions.
Today was entirely different in just about every way. The day started with the Adrian Gonzalez deal done save for contract talks, spiraled into chaos, and then redeemed itself with the defining trade back in place. We have our newest star to the team, it's the one guy we've wanted for over a year, and reactions are almost entirely positive.
It's in that same vein of differences that I hope the end results will be different, too.
There are, of course, some sad pieces to the puzzle. Especially for those of us who follow the minor leagues. While I've never been Reymond Fuentes' biggest fan, losing Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo is a tough blow. There will be no more Casey Kelly days, and Rizzo will no longer be the "after the jump guy". The system, buoyed by the success of the 2010 draft, remains strong. But it has lost two of its best.
And, of course, there will be no more Adrian Beltre in Boston come 2011. We've lost both sides of the head-rub pair that kept us laughing during the worst days of 2010, to say nothing of one-knee homers.
Like last year's day, the baseball world changed elsewhere, too. There was nothing so monumental as the Roy Halladay - Cliff Lee trade today, but the Jays did trade away a strong young starter in Shaun Marcum. And the Cardinals' offer of 8/127 to Matt Holliday, also coming on 12/14/09? Well it doesn't look nearly so bad after the Nationals' insane deal with Werth.
Regardless of what other teams are up to, though, for the Red Sox, the offseason has been defined. Even if the Sox make a move for Carl Crawford, I can't imagine it surpassing today in terms of drama and excitement. Regardless of what WAR tells you, especially for Boston, Carl Crawford just isn't Adrian Gonzalez. In 10 months, if the Sox are in the World Series, chances are it's going to be today we're all looking back on.