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As long as it’s still January, then we still have time to look back at 2010. Earlier this week we told you our winner for 2010 Player of the Year (Tom Brady), and now it’s time to look back at the big story of 2010. Many big stories happened…whether it was the media circus surrounding Brett Favre and “Little Brett,” the Randy Moss saga with his trade, release, and disappearing act, or even LeBron’s “Decision” to take his talents to South Beach and shake up the balance of the NBA.
In an extremely tight vote, the staff writers voted for a dramatic Red Sox offseason in which the team grabbed superstars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in separate mega deals that could catapult them back into the playoffs and beyond. LeBron, as usual, did not win, finishing second in this vote like the Heat will in the Eastern Conference. Zing!
The Red Sox offseason got off to a rough start, with Victor Martinez signing quickly with the Tigers and Adrian Beltre reportedly fielding offers from the A’s, Angels, and Rangers. With the team’s top two free agents unlikely to return, the Red Sox made a huge splash, trading prospects Casey Kelly (P), Anthony Rizzo (1B), and Reymond Fuentes (OF) for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who should slot in as the team’s No. 3 or No. 4 hitter.
The two-time Gold Glove winner also carries a big stick, as he has clubbed at least 30 home runs for four straight seasons despite playing his home games in spacious Petco Park. Last season, A-Gonz batted .298/.393/.511 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI.
In the biggest shock of the offseason, the Red Sox swooped in and signed Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal. The Angels thought they had Crawford signed, and the Yankees may have viewed him if they failed to sign Cliff Lee, but the Red Sox had the need and made the move.
Crawford became the first player to land a nine-figure contract without ever registering a 20-homer season (he had 19 HRs last season). Last season, he hit .307 with those 19 HRs and 90 RBI last season as the team’s No. 3 hitter. He also stole 47 bases and scored 110 runs.
First, Adrian Gonzalez comes over for prospects that probably were never going to be used anywhere close to the near future. Then, Carl Crawford signs in another huge move to provide OBP, some more power, and give Ellsbury a tag team partner on the basepath. This will all cut down on the errors (which were too plentiful at 3rd by Red Sox standards) and with Beltre gone, he won’t be injuring any more Boston ribs.
Bobby Jenks also signed to help shore up Boston’s bullpen, and while he should be quite helpful, I’d prefer the rest of the help to come cheaper with the money committed to Crawford and in all likelihood to Gonzalez. Though a Papelbon trade to a closer-needy team could help that on all fronts, and get Daniel Bard closer to the closer role.
And the best part? Those are all pieces the Yankees don’t have. And thanks to the fans dissing Cliff Lee’s wife, they don’t even have that good a pitching staff overall. Boston and Philly will meet in the World Series, providing Beckett isn’t terrible again. – John
The Red Sox for years have played second-fiddle to the New York Yankees when it came to off-season acquisitions. But no more. The Patriots recognized every weakness from 2010 and went out fixed it. No third baseman? Move Youk to third and make way for Adrian Gonzalez. A weak outfield? Try Carl Crawford running the bases alongside Jacoby Ellsbury. Bad bullpen? Meet Bobby Jenks. The Red Sox finally accepted the reality of their financial resources and went out and used them to build a team that is the odds-on favorite to win the 2011 World Series. After a season in which both ratings and general interest plummeted, the Red Sox are back on everyone’s mind again, and people are already counting down to Opening Day. – Matt G.