I haven't talked about the Red Sox in a little while, so I thought I would write something about them today. I heard that Alex Cora has agreed to a new deal with the club, probably with a similar role he had last year. And it sounds like he will sign a two-year deal as well. I think that is a good move (despite what those dingbats at Rotoworld.com say) to have a utility guy like Cora, who knows how to play the game and will always give you good defense, and won't cost you a lot of money, on your club. The Sox also re-signed Mike Timlin for another year, and you have to figure his role will be as a 6th or 7th inning reliever, and he will probably also become the unofficial bullpen coach as well. I thought Sarge might hang it up after his struggles last season, but I have no problem bringing him back in a different role for 2007.
The word on Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester is good so far. Terry Francona said yesterday during the press conference to introduce new pitching coach John Farrell that Pap's right arm was feeling good, and that Lester was doing "fantastic," but declined to go into any specifics about him due to privacy issues regarding his illness (and I can certainly respect that). The rumors about the Red Sox going after free agent SS Julio Lugo are getting stronger, as Theo Epstein has always liked him. He's got a good bat, is a good leadoff hitter with speed. But he doesn't have a strong glove. They may let Alex Gonzalez, as well as Mark Loretta walk away, as they are both free agents as well. The Mets maybe Loretta's landing site.
I also saw in the paper that former Red Sox pitcher Jermaine Van Buren and infielder Alejandro Machado both signed minor-league contracts with the Washington Nationals yesterday. (My friend Jules will be disappointed to hear about Machado's departure.)
The Hot Stove League should start to get cooking very soon, as the Winter Meetings will be happening the first week in December. The Sox should be busy. It will be Theo Epstein's most important offseason of his general managing career.