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Red Sox so far: More depth than talent as they buy time

Stephen Drew: just more depth for the Red Sox bridge?
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

If you are among the many who feel the Boston Red Sox are losing the off-season – having "missed out" on the likes of Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke – then consider this long list of big-leaguers that they either have signed or are about to sign for the 2013 season and perhaps a few years beyond:

Stephen Drew (today’s headline)
Ryan Dempster
Shane Victorino
Koji Uehara
Jonny Gomes
Mike Napoli (apparently still)
David Ross

Add to this an even longer list of high-minor-league players that they have brought into the fold and you can see quite clearly that this team has done anything but stand still.

But here's the thing: with the possible exception of Victorino and Uehara, these names are most notable for being what on a good team would represent depth rather than front-line talent. At the plate, Napoli is probably the best of the bunch, and his career batting average is just .259 – just six points less than Drew’s, who’s .265 tops this list. And on the mound, well, there’s only Dempster and his career 4.33 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.

Are there other qualities that they bring to the table? Absolutely, among them plate discipline and positive clubhouse presence, both of which were notably absent during last year's sorry campaign. But for all general manager Ben Cherington's protests that 2013 won't be what we once would have called a bridge year, his moves thus far sure do make it appear as if he is literally buying time until such highly regarded prospects as Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Bryce Brentz, and (dare I suggest it) Jose Iglesias percolate up to the majors and stay there.

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