The Red Sox were the best team in baseball back on Sept. 1, 2011, when summer turned into a bleak fall after the 7-20 collapse and final-day elimination. That spun out into stories of clubhouse ignominy, the firing of manager Terry Francona, the exile of general manager Theo Epstein and a last-place season in 2012 bookended by the hiring and firing of manager Bobby Valentine, who now knows how presidential candidate George McGovern felt in November 1972, as Valentine's ravaged September roster lost its final eight games and finished with 93 losses.
With the deal for reliever Joel Hanrahan completed -- and if and when the Mike Napoli signing is cleared medically and legally -- the Red Sox have added eight and maybe even nine players. They have brought former pitching coach John Farrell back to manage with some new, energetic coaches. They get John Lackey back after a missed season because of Tommy John surgery, David Ortiz back after missing half a year due to an Achilles injury, near-2011 American League MVP Award winner Jacoby Ellsbury back after missing 88 games due to a shoulder injury and Dustin Pedroia healthy after playing through a myriad of injuries, including broken fingers on each hand near the end of 2012.
But because the media perceives there to be a lack of things to talk and write about, the Boston offseason has created all the excitement of the changeover in the toll-taking system on the Mass Pike.