(We now have a counter. Now we get to measure how many times we visit this page in a day. Apparently we have to pay for the counter if we exceed 9000 hits a day, so there's some incentive to actually work.)
So anyway, the Hot Stove seems to have, for the most part, cooled down. Some big-name free agents, lots of medium-name free agents who got treated like they were big-name free agents...and most of them have signed. Really just two really big names out there, both who insist on looking stupid: Clemens (who wants more money than anyone not named A-Rod has gotten) and Delgado (who has "narrowed his list" down, to only the teams that have any interest in him).
For the most part I'm impressed how the Sox came out of this. Probably going back to 2002 or so, we've been reading Gammons discussing this offseason in apocalyptic terms for the Red Sox (damn 2005 seemed so far away then). The list kept changing of course, but we read about how the Sox could lose Nomar, Nixon, Varitek, Pedro, Lowe, and Ortiz (and a bunch of others, like Cabrera, bullpen pitchers, etc. who came and went). The overtones (to me at least) of this constant reminder was that "the Red Sox need to win before 2005 because the team will be broken up". Well, obviously they did -- you know, them being World Champions and all -- but the 2005 season is almost upon us, and I feel the team is still together.
Which is weird: Nomar and Pedro, long thought of as the "heart" of the team the last 5+ years, are gone, and yet the team still feels like the Red Sox. Never would have guessed that would be the case.