It was very different. It was noticeable early, but when you win, winning heals all the wounds. But we definitely didn't have the right attitude in a lot of ways. We were worrying about things that we shouldn't have been worrying about and not playing the game of baseball. I think this year, with the coaching staff that's coming back, they saw things we can change. We're going to all can sit down and talk about it ... It's exciting to have [Bobby Valentine] on board. He's really pumped. It's fun to have him going. It's going to be a tougher spring training. We're going to be working our butts off with Bobby. Not that we didn't before, but I think we're going to be hitting a lot more of the fundamentals.Valentine:
How September happened in Boston, I'll never know. But when it happened I knew I was going to get a chance to do something special. And we're going to do something special next year. Fans feel disrespected. I think the guys get it. ... They went home with a bad taste in their mouth and are going to do everything they can to get that taste out.Well, according to numerous reports, the players did not "get it" even as the season was acting like the Titanic in mid-September, so we shall see what got got over the winter.
A Red Sox team with a lot to prove could give us a summer of fun - and some of the early projections (found in this flip-floppy Jonah Keri article*) paint a rosy picture for the Red Sox. Clay Davenport (formerly of Baseball Prospectus) has Boston winning 98 games and finishing six games ahead of the Yankees:
most runs in MLB yet again and have baseball's second-best record (behind the Rangers' 102-60 mark). ... CAIRO puts the Red Sox at 94 wins and in first place by a whisker. ... ZiPS calculates Boston for 89 wins and a wild card battle with the Angels.
* - Shorter Keri: Trading Scutaro was stupid, unless the deal works out and makes the Red Sox a better team, which could totally happen, thus making it a great decision.
Roy Oswalt is leaning towards signing with the Cardinals. ... Edwin Jackson says he has received some three-year offers, but is considering a one-year contract that would put him back on the market next winter, Beltre-style.