As the days creep closer to next week's Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., yesterday offered a sample size as to the kind of intrigue that will be awaiting the Red Sox in the not-so-distant future.
Here is what happened and how it affects Boston going forward:
* J.D. Drew, where are you?: The certainty that J.D. Drew was soon going to become a member of the Red Sox only seemed to get stronger yesterday.
According to league sources, it appears an announcement out of Boston could come as soon as Saturday, a day after the deadline to offer players arbitration. If Drew's former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, offers him arbitration, then the Red Sox would be forced to surrender their first-round pick in next year's draft in order to sign the 31-year-old.
Despite Drew's unquestioned ability and production with the Dodgers in '06, the buzz throughout baseball continues to suggest that Boston might not be the best fit for the right fielder.
"He's not going to react well if they start booing him," said one American League front office executive very familiar with Drew. "He's just a different kind of guy."
When contacted, various sources brought up concerns regarding Drew, ranging from an unwillingness to play through injuries, an infatuation with statistics, self-imposed isolation from teammates and a lack of fondness for the game.
Intangibles aside, Drew would appear to be a perfect fit in the Red Sox's lineup's No. 5 spot, which totaled just 14 home runs, 75 RBIs, a .231 batting average, and woeful .320 on-base percentage last season.
* The Daisuke Matsuzaka saga: Major League Baseball made it clear that no side deals involving Matsuzaka's Japanese League team, the Seibu Lions, and the Red Sox were going to be allowed. Ever since it was learned that Boston president/CEO Larry Lucchino was in Japan, it was speculated by some that he was working on brokering an arrangement that would have Seibu payback some of the $51 million posting fee paid by the Sox in order to help get the pitcher signed to a deal.
The thinking would be that Seibu's willingness to allocate some of the money sent by the Red Sox back to Boston would guarantee that the Lions get at least some of the payoff from the process. If Matsuzaka isn't signed then he returns to Seibu with the Sox not having to pay anything to the Lions.