FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the past week, giddy Red Sox players have begun talking about the possibility of the 2011 team winning 100 games -- something no Red Sox team has done since 1946.
Josh Beckett was the first to raise the prospect and Mike Cameron Thursday morning echoed the sentiments.
General manager Theo Epstein was asked Thursday if some of the players weren't getting a little ahead of themselves. Epstein didn't exactly slam the brakes on the enthusiasm, but he did managed to tap them once or twice.
"I think it's nice that those players feel good about themselves and their teammates and what we have here," said Epstein. "But let's be honest. We haven't done anything yet. All we have is a bunch of guys in the clubhouse here, trying to set out to do a job.
"We've got a lot to prove. We've got to prove we're not a third-place team. We've got to prove we can stay healthy. We've got to prove we can have repeat performances, what guys have done in the past -- come out and do it again in 2011 or improve upon that. We've got to prove we can come together as a team.
"We don't have win No. 1 yet. We have a lot to prove and the work has just started. That said, I like that these guys feel good about themselves and their teammates and our chances. I don't think they're getting ahead of ourselves."
Over the offseason, even after obtaining two superstars and a 160 million payroll. Epstein said there isn't necessarily a perfect solution to every problem.
Case in point: the team's catching depth.
The Sox intend to have Jarrod Saltalamachia as their primary catcher, with Jason Varitek as his backup. But if injuries or performance issues arise, the team doesn't have much in the way of major league-caliber catching in the system.
"We have a lot of young guys who we feel pretty good about," said Epstein, "who are on the cusp of being major league-ready, so we're going to take this camp in the early part of the season and determine which of them, if any, are big league ready in case of injury."
The Sox also signed journeyman catcher Paul Hoover, 35, who has played 40 major-league games over seven seasons with Tampa Bay, Florida and Philadelphia.
"That's an area we'll monitor closely and continue to scout other camps as the need arises. We hope to first have internal answers; if not, we can always go outside the organization."