Theo Epstein finally got his guys last night. After weeks of speculation, the team finally announced that they have signed outfielder J.D. Drew. In addition, one of the worst kept secrets in baseball the last couple years was the GM’s fascination with Julio Lugo, who had been rumored to be coming here several times via trade. Lugo also agreed to a contract with the club last night, giving the club the shortstop they had needed since deciding not to bring back Alex Gonzalez.

Tony Massarotti reports on the signings and also the growing possibility that Manny Ramirez will remain with the Red Sox in 2007. Gordon Edes also looks at the signings, and talks extensively to Tampa Bay people about Lugo’s character, and everyone has nothing but good things to say about the guy, despite the incident in Houston involving his ex-wife. Sean McAdam has more on the Red Sox shelling out $100 million for the two players. Jeff Goldberg also has a look at the two signings, and what they mean for the lineup in 2007.

Nick Cafardo insists that J.D. Drew has gotten an unfair rap, and says that Boston fans need to give this guy a chance. Massarotti follows up on his premise that Ramirez is likely to stay in Boston with a piece on that topic. He also has a quick look at what the lineup could look like for the Sox in 2007.

Despite the signings, the best news that the Red Sox and their fans received yesterday was that Jon Lester’s cancer is in remission and he plans to be at spring training in February. Jeff Horrigan has a look at the great news about the promising lefty. Alex Speier says that Lester is looking forward to resuming the normal title of Red Sox pitcher. David Borges notes that all the other news of the day “seemed rather inconsequential” compared to Lester’s news. Edes says that one of the first things Lester did when he got the news that he was cancer-free was pick up his glove and go play catch. McAdam also reports on Lester looking to spring training to return to baseball. Goldberg has more on the positive news for Lester, his family and the Red Sox. Goldberg also looks at the four young women behind The Lester Project, trying to raise money for cancer research and awareness. Joe Haggerty has more on the good news for the young lefthander.

Chad Finn weighs in with thoughts on the winter meetings and the most recent additions to the Red Sox.

Michael Silverman’s notebook says that the Red Sox still have a ways to go in their attempts to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka before the December 14th deadline. McAdam’s notebook says that the Sox have not received an acceptable offer yet for Manny.

Patriots

Michael Felger has his weekly Patriots Insider column and leads off with Rodney Harrison’s proclamation that he intends to come back this season and being a “big contributor.” Mike Reiss looks at the return of the hurry up offense for the Patriots on Sunday and wonders if it marks a return to a style that has been very effective for the club the last few seasons. Shalise Manza Young looks at the top four teams in the AFC, noting that they all have weaknesses, but that the Patriots are as good as any of them. With the Bills, Jets and Dolphins playing their best football of the season, Michael Parente notes that the AFC East doesn’t look all that weak anymore. Glen Farley looks at the Patriots jockeying for position in the AFC.

Farley also has a very good article stating that it is time for the Patriots to retire Steve Grogan’s number – an honor he feels is well overdue. I agree, if only so we don’t see Vinny Testaverde wearing it on the Patriots sideline. Eric McHugh checks in with another look at Ty Warren, who has really blossomed into a force this season. Mark Farinella checks in with the Voice of Doom, who projects a worst-case-scenario on everything Patriots related – including a way the Patriots could finish second in the division and not make the playoffs. David Pevear has a look at Reche Caldwell, who has earned Tom Brady’s trust and blossomed in his own right.

In preparation for this weekend’s matchup with the Dolphins, Bill Barnwell on BSMW Game Day explains why Chris Chambers is the worst wide receiver in football.

Reiss’ notebook looks at Daniel Graham’s appointment as a team captain, which he says shows how highly the team thinks of his skills. As Graham is a free agent after the season, the appointment could also be meaningful. McHugh’s notebook examines a sharp improvement in Tom Brady’s numbers in the shotgun this season.

Celtics

Mike Fine says that the Celtics struggles should not be pinned on Doc Rivers. He says that the biggest problem with the Celtics is that they’re simply too young, and if someone is to be blamed for that, it is Danny Ainge. Shira Springer has some strong words from Kendrick Perkins, as the Celtics young center is frustrated and calls out his teammates for self-centered play, too many mistakes and being soft. He says they need to be more team-oriented as a group if they’re going to grow. Scott Souza notes that because of injuries, Rivers is being forced to play the kids…something that he has bristled at in the past. Peter May reports that Rivers worked the team hard in practice yesterday as punishment for their play in Chicago. He says it’s a move that may backfire with a busy slate of games coming up.

Bruins/College

Stephen Harris looks at patience and hard work paying off for Tim Thomas, who is probably the Bruins’ MVP to date as he has lead them back into the playoff hunt. Fluto Shinzawa talks to Scott Bradley, the club’s director of amateur scouting about the Bruins property spread all around North America. A new addition of the BSMW Power Play looks back at the exciting win against Montreal.

Bob Ryan says that the BCS system simply isn’t working. Lenny Megliola notes that the bowl season has gotten out of hand. Jennifer Toland reports on the Holy Cross basketball team heading into Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke.

FSN has Grizzlies/Celtics at 7:00. ESPN has Sixers/Bulls at 9:00. ESPN2 has Holy Cross/Duke at 7:00. CN8 has BU/UMass at 8:00.

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