First, for anyone who bothers to come here, you must read Bill Simmons at http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/051223
Now that's off my chest, so we can move on.
Who's actually in charge? Oh yeah, that would be the Overlord - TheoSlayer, with Ben and Jed mixing the drinks, running some spreadsheet projections, and reading Sox fans suggestions that they trade Matt Clement for Johan Santana and throw in some cash. Thus far, with roughly seven weeks to go before Spring Training, the Sox remind me of the old joke, "what's the difference between the Boy Scouts and the Navy?" Adult leadership.
Obviously, there is no established (read overpaid) shortstop (I'm really okay with Alex Cora), no centerfielder (please do not suggest Trot Nixon), and no first baseman. J.T. Snow? Why don't we get Willie McCovey? A .709 OPS in a declining 37 year-old glove man smacks of one theme only, "economy."
A few points are in order. The presumptive rotation is Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Wakefield, and Arroyo, pending any other acquisitions and/or departures. Trading Lester is a no-no, but Leisure Suit Larry seems bent on screwing up the entire team, so it could still happen. As for Wells ('leave' or 'retire') or Clement (persona non grata after getting hit in the head), the market doesn't seem that keen. On Wall Street, the smartest guys buy cheap and sell dear, and John Henry knows that. Maybe he's more focused on platinum and soybeans than baseball.
The Sox are now well-stocked at reserve catcher, with Flaherty, Huckaby, and Shoppach. Aren't you comforted by that? If anyone gets their fingers broken by Tim Wakefield, we'll easily fill the position with a good-field no-hit guy. Of course, the sense is that the Sox have 'plenty of offense' so now they can have defensive players at first, shortstop, and centerfield. Last time I checked, Trot Nixon wasn't playing like Stan Musial, and Mike Lowell barely hit Ortiz' weight. So the offense comes from Ortiz, Manny (oh, they're trying to trade him), the Time Machine versions of Loretta and Lowell, and maybe first half of the season Varitek.
Maybe the master plan exists, the vision remains, and 2006 and beyond will reveal the Yellow Brick Road. But don't you wonder if the man with the vision has left and the pretenders remain?