Good morning from Logan Airport. We're waiting for a flight to Fort Myers and the start of spring training. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12, but players have started to gather and it's time to start reporting on the 2013 Red Sox.
A few thoughts on the Red Sox as camp prepares to open:
• The Red Sox do not appear to be preparing any major roster additions before camp breaks. But there could be some shifting once the players assemble.
Ben Cherington has a surplus of relievers, particularly if Daniel Bard has himself back in working order. Cherington also has an extra catcher, particularly if Ryan Lavarnway looks good in camp. Scouts will be keeping a close eye on Andrew Bailey.
• At this time last year, the Sox had an unsettled rotation. Felix Doubronbt, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and assorted non-roster players were competing for two spots. Now the Sox have five starters they believe in and most of their depth is in the form of legitimate prospects like Rubby De La Rosa and Alan Webster.
That seems like a positive sign. If one of the starters stumbles or becomes injured, it's much preferable to have a prospect get those innings instead some last-hope veteran. The Red Sox wasted a lot of innings last season on pitchers who had no chance of returning for this season.
• John Farrell is interviewing for bullpen coaches and a decision is expected soon. Minor league instructor Chad Epperson and minor league coach Rich Gedman are the two obvious candidates. The Sox are almost certain to hire from within this late in the process.
• It'll be interesting to see whether John Lackey had more velocity on his fastball. Pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery often add a little zip because they spent a year building up the muscles in their arms.
Lackey averaged 91.5 mph with his fastball in 2011 while pitching much of the season with an injury. That's in line with the rest of his career. But the year off and rehab work could boost him him up a little.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka, as of this morning, is still a free agent. The fall from "best pitcher on the planet" to "should we take a shot?" was pretty steep.
• Wonder how much Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez will be around camp? As of last week, their schedules were still being worked out. In essence, both have the right to dictate how much (or how little) they want to be around.
• Really looking forward to seeing Jackie Bradley, Xander Bogaerts and some of the other position player prospects. After a fallow period caused in part by a change in draft strategy, the Red Sox have a group of young players that are worth getting excited about.
A few non-Red Sox thoughts:
• The spring training playlist (a work in progress) includes "Anna Sun" (Walk The Moon), "Runaways" (The Killers), "Stay Useless" (Cloud Nothings), "Here Comes My Man" (Gaslight Anthem), "No Light, No Light" (Florence + The Machine), "Take A Walk" (Passion Pit), "Closer" (Teagan and Sara), "Teenage Icon" (The Vaccines), "Yeah Yeah" (Willy Moon) "Saturday" (The Enemy) and "World Wide Rebel Songs" by Tom Morello.
Recommendations are welcome.
• By the way, if like alternative tracks, you really should be listening to Radio BDC here on the site.
• Bringing a few books to spring training. Have "The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver and "The Liberator" by Alex Kershaw.
• Watched the Super Bowl with no rooting interest beyond being in a few pools. Happened to be in my car during the first quarter and it was amazing how quiet the streets were. As much as we all love baseball, the NFL rules the world.
• Was it me or were the commercials largely forgettable? But Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Beyonce were tremendous. The kids from Newtown, too. Heartbreaking to see them and think back to that awful day.
• Spring training is a good time to catch up on Oscar contending movies. Not sure "Amour" will be playing in Fort Myers, however.
That's it for now. It's just about baseball season. Hope you hang out with us for the ride.