Red Sox Notes: Contract Specifics, John Maine, Off-Season Grades, Rotation Options

The latest out of the Red Sox camp includes some extensive contract specifics by Ian Browne and is well worth a look, a longer look at John Maine as well as questioning the rotation over at Over the Monster, and an off-season ranking by Nick Cafardo that suggests the Red Sox are better because they don't look as good on paper. (That sounds ridiculous to me as well, and is dangerously in the heart/grit/attitude explanation for 2011 instead of the terrible-rotation explanation, but hey.):

Boston Red Sox - For what they’re worth, the winter standings - Nick Cafardo | The Boston Globe
RED SOX - They don’t look as good on paper as they did at this time last year, and that may be a good thing. Papelbon is a significant loss, but they feel that adding two end-of-the-bullpen arms in Mark Melancon, 26, and Andrew Bailey, 27, will suffice. Bailey needs to stay healthy. The Sox go into the season with a funny situation at shortstop, where heavy-legged Mike Aviles and utility man Nick Punto could platoon. Crawford will start the season on the disabled list after wrist surgery, but Cody Ross’s righthanded pop should help. A healthy Kevin Youkilis is key to the fortunes of this team, and a big question is whether Daniel Bard can become an outstanding starting pitcher.

The State Of Boston's Pitching Hunt - Over the Monster
There is one ray of hope, however. As Matt mentioned earlier today, Bud Selig has taken over the Theo Epstein compensation talks, and according to Nick Cafardo at least one AL GM is expecting a significant return for the Sox. I'm not saying we should expect Matt Garza to be left outside Fenway wrapped up with a bow, but it's possible that this gives them the leverage they need to pull off a deal at a reduced cost, or to pick up someone like a Randy Wells. It's hardly a sure thing, but at this point it would be foolish to leave any stone unturned.

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