From CBS Sports. And Then, Of Course, My Comments.
I'd like to comment, briefly, on each of these five points from an on-line article by CBS Sports. My comments start and end with three stars (***). Enjoy, my buddies.
Red Sox: Five things to know
By Scott Miller
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Miller from Red Sox camp
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Five things to know about the Boston Red Sox:
1. Manager Terry Francona is entering the final season of his three-year deal, and the Red Sox are expected to extend him sometime this spring. If they don't, it simply will add to the usual controversies that pop up during the course of the regular season around Fenway Park. Besides, he deserves it -- name another Boston manager who has won a World Series since 1918. And Francona did a terrific job down the stretch last summer without closer Keith Foulke or a healthy Curt Schilling.
***A positive. Tito deserves an extention, and he'll get one.****
2. The Red Sox turned over their entire infield over the winter, going to Mike Lowell at third, Alex Gonzalez at shortstop, Mark Loretta at second and either Kevin Youkilis or J.T. Snow at first. One attraction to Loretta in GM Theo Epstein's quest to build a lineup of good on-base guys is that he saw an average of 3.92 pitches per at-bat.
***Another positive. The infield is better in every way, every day, and we, the fans, should be delighted. I still think Loretta should be leading off.***
3. So far, so good for closer Foulke, who is coming off of surgery on both knees. If Foulke falters, Mike Timlin is Boston's best bet to close.
***A MASSIVE positive. A 40 plus save season is what I see. It seems his zip is back, which will prevent the "all change up' season of 2005.***
4. This is a team that will undergo a total personality change, with Johnny Damon now playing in New York for the Yankees and Kevin Millar in Baltimore. "Like every year, the personality of the team takes hold over time," team captain Jason Varitek says. "It's something you develop as the season goes along. You don't have a personality that is set going into the year, because every year there's a different mix."
***And yet another developing positive...We're entering Spring training. The players are new, except for the small core of '04 and '05ers. But that does not bode bad news to come. By the middle of April, hell the beginning of the month, these guys will be a cohesive and deadly unit capable of knocking off any foe in a variety of ways.***
5. At third, Lowell is coming off of the worst season of his career, batting .236 with eight homers and just 58 RBI. Refusing to believe he's finished at 32, Lowell radically changed his workout regimen over the offseason. "I was as baseball-specific with the weights as I've ever been," he says. He also started hitting earlier than usual. "I wanted to come to camp and be competitive," he says. "You usually have the luxury of spring training to get ready, but that didn't bode well for me last year."
***Positive. He has incentive. A new club, a good one at that, maybe great. Mike Lowell is in shape and I fully expect him to post the offensive stats that he is capable of.***
Peter here. I wanted to give you my thoughts on these points. Well, you got 'em!