The more I think about it, the more I like what the Sox are doing this offseason. I guess I’m “drinking the Kool-Aid”. Looking at John Lackeys’ numbers, they are remarkably similar to Josh Becketts’. While spending the last 8 seasons with the Angels, Lackey has made 233 starts, going 102-71 with an ERA of 3.81 while Beckett has gone 106-68 with a 3.79 earned run average. We love Beckett, right? We could learn to love Lackey, as well. Apparently, Lackeys’ agent told Theo the righty was interested in Boston. His wife Krista attended the University of New Hampshire. That didn’t hurt. Also, Lackey was familiar with John Farrell, who recruited him when he was coaching the Cowboys of Oklahoma State University. Assuming Clay Buchholz is still a member of the Red Sox staff, Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Buch, with Tim Wakefield waiting in the wings. Formidable. Buchholz has to be tired of hearing his name mentioned every time there is a potential deal to be made. The latest features 27 year old Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres’ first baseman is already a two time All Star and a two time Gold Glover. He bashed 40 home runs a year ago in San Diego. Petco Park is considered a pitchers’ yard, so that makes it more impressive. He drew 119 walks, as well. We know how much the Sox covet men who get on base. The asking price of Buch and Jacoby Ellsbury is a little steep for my taste. Padres GM Jed Hoyer and his assistant, Jason McLeod are both former Theo Epstein assistants with intimate knowledge of the Sox’ players and the system. It creates an intetresting dynamic. Gonzalez, of Mexican descent, is immensely popular in Southern California, so does Hoyer want his first major move to be trading away the teams’ biggest star? Ellsbury is an All Star in waiting and Buchholz has Cy Young potential, no doubt. Slide Mike Cameron over to center field and he can keep the seat warm until Ryan Westmoreland is ready. Kevin Youkilis is the key guy to me. His flexibility allows the Sox to pursue any number of players. As he has proven, Youk is equally adept at first or third. The Gold Glove winner has truly established himself as one of the best (and most under-rated) players in baseball. “Hot Stove” really is the perfect name for this time of the year. It keeps us warm and excited while Opening Day is still four months away.