So one minute, we’re sitting around, touching up our series of John Marzano-inspired oil paintings, and watching helplessly as Jason Bay’s agent holds our nuts to the fire.

The next, we discover that Theo’s landed John Lackey and Gold Glover Mike Cameron, who hit .250 with a .795 OPS last year and is one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He was also quite excellent playing Matthew Abaddon on Lost.

Like Chad Finn, I’m impressed with all this stealth maneuvering:

Landing both players — neither of whom was thought to be atop the Sox’ wish list by most if not all of the hot-stove pundits — completed one heck of a misdirection play by Theo Epstein. In this real-time information age of MLBTradeRumors and Twitter and The Buzz and the life-altering MLB Network, which delights in interrupting its regularly scheduled programming to feed a fan all the news and rumors one could wish for, the Red Sox general manager managed to keep his true intentions on the down low until Lackey was within city limits and being poked and prodded by some doctor. The deal was a formality before most of us even knew it was a possibility.

I’m also impressed how, after the madcap back-and-forth that marked the Teixeira debacle, Theo simply nodded his head and unlocked the back door for Bay when his agent started up with the “surely you can do better than that” routine. If Bay really did want to stay, but left the posturing and strategy in the hands of Joe Urbon (“Don’t worry, kid. I know how these things work. They’ll be by with a bigger sack of money any minute now”), the Untanned Canadian may be shopping for a new agent in 2010. Or at the very least, sliding a couple “Piss Frisbees” under Urbon’s door on Christmas Eve.

Although adding both of these players goes a long way toward reducing the number of runs teams plate against us, neither really boosts our offense–the one place we clearly need help. But now that we know that the lights are on at Red Sox HQ, the most tantalizing possibility we have to ponder throughout holidays is if a bat is next on Theo’s hit list. With Lackey secured, the likes of Clay Buchholz become expendable, giving us even more to offer up for Adrian Gonzalez, if you even wanna try to dream that hard.

Regardless, one of the best things I’ve read regarding the Lackey deal is this quote from the LA Times:

Torii Hunter was unaware of the reports that free-agent pitcher John Lackey was on the verge of signing a five-year deal with the Boston Red Sox when a reporter phoned him Monday morning.

“Oh man,” the Angels center fielder said. “That’s not good.”

We’ll see. I just pray the guy’s still pitching his ass off at age 36.

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Continuing the countdown to Christmas with the Top Twelve Christmas Songs Ever (in my humble and alcohol-induced opinion): Number Eleven: “Father Christmas,” by the Kinks. In these cash-strapped days, the thought of young toughs mugging Santa cuts close to the bone. But the cool guitar work makes it all worthwhile.