Jon Lester, Red Sox. He had a huge innings jump last year, so that is a bit scary. But he is a strike-throwing, fearless horse with well-above-average stuff.
Evan Longoria, Rays. I see a 40-homer Gold Glover winner, and it is possible his top competition will come from teammate B.J. Upton.
...BEST FREE-AGENT SIGNING
John Smoltz, Red Sox. This signing may not work for everyone. But once the Red Sox's bid failed on Mark Teixeira, they had plenty of cash. And for a big-market team, a one-year, $5.5 million gamble on a motivated, athletic star who also happens to be among the best big-game pitchers ever, works.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Terry Francona, Red Sox. He has a lot of moving parts in a difficult atmosphere, but always seems to have a firm grasp on his roster, and that should be even easier in his first full season without Manny Ramirez. "
Francona really shouldn't win manager of the year since he's got all the Cy Young winners and best free agent signings.
When the Red Sox win 135 games, it will primarily be because of all the great Red Sox players and not so much the manager.