Last night the Sox agreed to a one year deal (with a player option for a second) with Adrian Beltre, 3B formerly of the Mariners and Dodgers. He's okay with a bat, but apparently he was signed for his glove. To summarize several thousands posts on Sons of Sam Horn, you can win more games by either scoring more runs or preventing more runs, and the Sox seem to have decided that the more cost-effective way is to pursue the latter. Indeed, this off-season they acquired a big name pitcher (Lackey) while signing two position players with excellent gloves (Beltre, Cameron) while not really pursuing two sluggers, Jason Bay & Matt Holliday. At least in theory, the theory is sound. By several fielding algorithms, the Red Sox have a chance to be a historically good run prevention team.
My concern is that, last year, the Sox were woeful not at scoring runs (they were 3rd in the AL, and 872 runs is a lot of runs) but in scoring runs against good pitching. Basically, they beat up on bad pitching but were stymied by good pitching -- and while this is true across the league (it is what defines the good and bad pitching!) the Sox differential was far more extreme than most teams. The lack of hitting is what sealed their fate against the Angels, as they scored exactly 1 run in the first two playoff games. So one is left wondering if that differential is something that is predictable going forward or was just a fluke.