In his year-ending evaluation of the Red Sox, general manager Theo Epstein praised free agents-to-be David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon for their impact on the team on and off the field. Following a season in which Ortiz hit .309 with a .398 OBP, .554 slugging mark and .953 OPS with 29 homers and 96 RBI, and one in which Papelbon converted 31 of 34 save opportunities while producing a 2.94 ERA, striking out 87 and walking 10, Epstein suggested -- without going into detail -- that he would like to see both players in Red Sox uniforms in 2012.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, in an assessment of the state of his organization in the aftermath of the dramatic end of his team's season just after midnight on Thursday morning, said that the Sox "don't believe in scapegoats" and that "no one blames [manager Terry Francona] for what happened in September," when the Sox saw a nine-game lead over the Rays evaporate while going 7-20. 

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein confirmed that Kevin Youkilis will undergo surgery to repair his sports hernia and added that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will have the screw in his left foot -- inserted a year ago to promote healing -- removed on Friday. He is expected to face a four- to six-week timetable for recovery.

Those were the only two planned surgeries he noted, though he did say that there were other players who would require "follow up on some nagging issues and issues that have healed but [that] we want to make sure they heal completely during the offseason."

With all the questions swirling around the Red Sox in the aftermath of their historic collapse, baseball Hall of Famer Peter Gammons compared it to other similar downfalls. "It may never be the same," he said. "I was thinking about the 2007 Mets who were never the same. The 1995 Angels who blew a comparable lead and by the middle of the next season Marcel Lachemann was gone and there was total change in the franchise. The '64 Phillis were never the same. Gene Mauch was hearing about the '64 Phillies when he was 75 years old. You wonder a little bit."

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was a guest on the Dennis & Callahan show in the wake of the Sox' epic collapse and he put the blame squarely on the players. "There are 25 guys that need to go home this winter and say I've got to change," Schilling said. "That is not going to work."

Schilling, however, does not feel that the blame lies with manager Terry Francona. 

BALTIMORE -- Those few remaining members of the Red Sox who have been with the organization since 2003 have experienced the greatest pinnacles the franchise has ever known, and lessons that instilled hope in seemingly the bleakest of circumstances.

BALTIMORE -- It's cliche to say nobody deserves the fate the 2011 Red Sox found themselves with. But that's not true. Many, for various reasons, did.

BALTIMORE -- In his nine years in Boston, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been a central participant in the most significant era in franchise history, a time that has included both championships as well as some crushing defeats. While the loss in Game 7 of the 2003 World Series had set the standard for misery during Ortiz' tenure with the Sox, the 35-year-old said that the completion of the Sox' historic September collapse had raised the bar.

BALTIMORE -- Moments after allowing two runs in the ninth inning of the Red Sox' season-ending, 4-3 loss to the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards, Jonathan Papelbon talked about the fall-out from blowing the save, and how he will be approaching his future.

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona, minutes after his team had completed the biggest September collapse in history, said that he was still struggling to process what had transpired both over a remarkable tailspin as well as in the season's final contest, a 4-3 walkoff loss to the Orioles that concluded moments before the Rays claimed an 8-7 walkoff victory over the Yankees in St. Petersburg.