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Article Teaser: Despite winning 86 games last season, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein knew that his team needed a bigger infusion of power and speed. As much as the fans at Fenway respected the hard-working Alex Gonzalez and loved long-time Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, Epstein knew that in order for his team to get to the next level, they needed more.

Keep reading below...

Red Sox Offense For 2007 Season Ready To Strike

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

Despite winning 86 games last season, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein knew that his team needed a bigger infusion of power and speed. As much as the fans at Fenway respected the hard-working Alex Gonzalez and loved long-time Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, Epstein knew that in order for his team to get to the next level, they needed more.

Acquiring Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew this offseason, Boston now has both the necessary power to complement David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez and the speed to give them the base-running options they didn't have last year. Now with Lugo and Drew in the lineup, the Red Sox have a high octane offense that is capable of holding it's own with any team in the league; a far cry away from a slugging Sox team last season that relied on the long ball and had absolutely no speed at all.

Aside for Coco Crisp, who stole 22 bases last season, the Red Sox were a team that plodded around the bases. Using first baseman Kevin Youkilis as a lead off hitter at times last season because of his high on-base percentage, the Red Sox weren't able to execute many hit and runs and forced themselves to produce extra base hits. With Lugo now in the lineup leading off, the Red Sox can now safety hit Crisp in the eighth spot and as a result now have a much better balance of power and speed. Averaging over 25 steals the past three seasons with the Devil Rays and Dodgers, Lugo's speed will be as big a weapon to Boston as the bats of Ortiz and Ramirez.

"His athleticism shows up often, whether it's in the field or on the bases or at-bat. He's someone who's had a good track record in our division," Epstein told MLB.com after Lugo joined the team. "He's had success in our ballpark, though that's not a huge factor any time you make a decision. It's kind of a nice fringe benefit. We think he fits. We think he fits on our club."

Lugo's presence in the Sox lineup also gives the team a potent 1-2 combination at the top of lineup with Youkilis. Looking very similar to the Mets duo of Jose Reyes and Paul LoDuca, Boston now has the ability to get even more runners on for both Ortiz and Ramirez, thus giving them even more opportunities to put huge innings together and give their pitching staff the support needed to win.

As far as Drew's thoughts on his role on the team are concerned, the former-first round pick feels that hitting in the fifth spot behind Ortiz and Ramirez will be the thrill of a lifetime and will give him an opportunity to win a championship, something that has eluded him during his 10-year Major League career.

"I think the Red Sox have made a commitment to winning and I'm excited to be here," Drew told MLB.com. "I got a chance, in signing a five-year contract, of putting a ring on my finger and hopefully, in more years than one. I'm excited. For me, it's the little things. I've always tried to play the game right and have been taught that way, to do things fundamentally correct. I'll go out and play with these guys, but I'm more than anything anxious to get to Fenway and learn that corner down in right field. I think those are things that you necessarily can't work on down here in Spring Training. I'll do all the other fine-tuning when we get there and add that in."

While Red Sox manager Terry Francona sees big differences in the mannerisms of his two newest stars, he was quick to say that he respects their attitudes in the locker room and loves what they bring to the team on the field.

"Lugo is a little more outspoken, a little more easygoing. J.D. is quieter. But they've both been model citizens. It's our job to get to know them," Francona told MLB.com. "J.D. shows up and gets hits. Lugo has been a little more vocal and infectious with his personality, but they've both been tremendous."

With both Drew and Lugo in the Rex Sox lineup, Francona will almost certainly have the necessary firepower to guarantee his team a place in the postseason mix.


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Internal ID: #4706
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