Thursday January 27, 2011 | 12:04 PM

The Red Sox have enjoyed the most exciting off-season in years.

The Yankees look weakened (for now). And while GM Brian Cashman recently said Boston is better on paper, this is still the Yankees. They have prospects to trade and money to spend.*

(*Always must add an asterisk to claims about the Yankees money since, to my friends in Tampa Bay, Boston is also filthy rich. True. It's just that the Pinstripes are in their own category).

The Jays should be better and are now relieved of Vernon Wells' crippling contract.

The Rays just picked up Johnny and Manny.

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman looks at the "21 winners of the winter," listing the members of the Jays, Red Sox and Yankees Nos. 1-2-3, and Rays GM Andrew Friedman No. 17. It's a good read.

The New York Daily News has the almost-daily report of Cashman saying something or clarifying something he said.

On him earlier saying that the Red Sox are a better team, Cashman offered: "But I'm not saying they're going to beat us ... They might be a finished product, where we're an unfinished product. But you don't win championships in the winter."

And there are the folks in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area wondering if Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will make a difference. St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton offers his take.

Enjoy the links.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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