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Hot Stove live chat with Lou Merloni, noon

01.03.11 at 11:04 am ET
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Join WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni in talking all things Red Sox and Hot Stove Monday at noon. To participate in the live chat, click below:

Merloni Hot Stove live chat

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Nothing ‘remotely imminent’ with Rangers, Adrian Beltre

01.03.11 at 7:50 am ET
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According to MLB.com, the report out of the Dominican Republic stating that Adrian Beltre had agreed to a six-year, $96 million deal with the Rangers is premature, and that while Texas does have interest in the former Red Sox, nothing is ‘remotely imminent.’

The Rangers have continued to express interest in Beltre since the winter meetings, but, unlike some of the other teams who have pursued the free agent, don’t have a natural fit in their lineup. Michael Young is currently slated to be Texas’ starting third baseman. Rangers’ officials told MLB.com that Young, who is signed for three more years at $16 million per season, has not been approached about switching positions.

“As of right now, Michael Young is our third baseman,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com Sunday night. “We haven’t done anything.”

Texas chief competition for Beltre’s services figure to be the Angels, with Oakland having reportedly recently pulled its offer for a second time.

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Report: No deal (yet) between Adrian Beltre, Rangers

01.02.11 at 3:02 pm ET
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A report from piodeportes.com in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning suggested that Adrian Beltre had reached a six-year, $96 million agreement with the Rangers, pending a physical. However, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via twitter) cited a source who said that the report was inaccurate.

“Source: DR report is untrue. Rangers have no agreement with Beltre,” Grant tweeted.

Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com added (via twitter) that the “Rangers are still talking with Adrian Beltre, but there is no deal in place, source says.”

Coming off the second-best offensive season of his career, in which he hit .321 with a .919 OPS, 28 homers and 102 RBI for the Red Sox, Beltre was viewed as one of the top free agents on the market. Instead, reports suggest that teams that were interested — such as the Athletics and Angels — have pulled their offers (though the Angels reportedly remain willing to re-open talks with the 2010 All-Star), while the Red Sox’ interest in Beltre ended with their acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez.

From a Red Sox perspective, the Rangers represent something of a best-case scenario, since their pick in the first round (No. 26 overall) is unprotected, meaning that the Sox could get it if Beltre (a Type A free agent, whom a team must give up a first-round pick to sign) lands in Texas. Both the Angels (No. 17) and Athletics (No. 18) have protected first-round picks, meaning that the Sox would get no better than a second-round pick from those two clubs should they sign Beltre.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Hot Stove, Rumor Mill, texas rangers

Source: Red Sox close to bringing back Hideki Okajima

12.31.10 at 3:56 pm ET
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According to a baseball source, the Red Sox are close to bringing back Hideki Okajima on a one-year deal. The 35-year-old Okajima, who has been with the Red Sox since 2007, was non-tendered by the team in Nov. He went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 56 games last season.

The agreement would be for a major-league deal, meaning the Sox would have to make a corresponding roster move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the lefty.

The Boston Globe was first to report the development. For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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A closer look at the Red Sox’ interest in Brian Fuentes

12.30.10 at 5:33 pm ET
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Of course Brian Fuentes would make a nice addition to the Red Sox bullpen. If the free agent were to sign with Boston, he would give the Sox something they do not currently have: An experienced left-handed reliever with a long history of dominating lefties (while also remaining reasonably effective against righties).

Both Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks were very good against left-handed hitters in 2010. But Fuentes was in another category from the two right-handers.

While pitching for the Angels and Twins in 2010, the 35-year-old held left-handed hitters to an anemic line of .128/.222/.149/.371 in 55 plate appearances (right-handed hitters had a .203/.293/.403/.696 line). He was so good against them that opposing managers would simply turn to their bench (sending up 21 pinch-hitters, 20 of them right-handed) rather than have a left-handed hitter step to the plate against Fuentes.

If the Sox were to have a perfect design for their 2011 team, it might well include Fuentes — or a pitcher like him — in the bullpen.

However, while the Sox do have interest in the left-hander (as has been reported by, among others, Jon Heyman of SI.com (via twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com), their interest is of a very defined type. Specifically, at a time when the team has committed $142 million to Carl Crawford, is likely to commit in excess of $150 million to Adrian Gonzalez, passed $12 million in the direction of right-handed reliever Jenks and another $3 million to fellow righty Dan Wheeler, the Sox, according to a major league source, are “not in a position to pay a premium” for another reliever.

The Sox, according to multiple team sources, are open to what they would perceive as a good value signing — likely meaning less years and average annual value than what Fuentes is reportedly seeking. (Rosenthal said that the 35-year-old wants a multi-year deal for in excess of $5 million a year.) While there may be such a deal down the road, depending on what the market for Fuentes ultimately looks like, the pitcher’s asking price and what the team is willing to offer do not currently match up.

One other consideration that could work against Fuentes’ interest in the Red Sox: If he is to take what would be perceived as a good deal, the presence of closer Jonathan Papelbon as well as a pair of setup men who are capable of closing (Jenks and Daniel Bard) could diminish Fuentes’ interest in the Sox. Whereas a player like Adrian Beltre had an incentive to come to the Sox on a one-year deal to build his value, Fuentes might find that other teams would permit him a greater opportunity to showcase his talents for his next deal. For instance, the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Rays are pursuing the veteran — who led the American League in saves in 2009 — as a closer.

All of that is to suggest that, while the idea of Fuentes coming to Boston cannot be dismissed, and the Sox’ interest in adding him is genuine, the likelihood of the Sox adding him to their rebuilt bullpen seems fairly low at this moment.

Read More: bobby jenks, brian fuentes, Daniel Bard, Hot Stove

Hot Stove Live Chat with Alex Speier, noon

12.30.10 at 11:30 am ET
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Join WEEI.com’s Alex Speier in talking all things Red Sox and Hot Stove, Thursday at noon:

Merloni live chat

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Joakim Soria won’t block a trade to Yankees

12.30.10 at 11:01 am ET
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Although Royals closer Joakim Soria has a no-trade clause in his contract, the pitcher told a Mexican newspaper that he would not block a trade to the Bronx if the opportunity arose. Soria told Vanguardia that his agent listed the Yankees among other teams as a strategy, but if the Royals were willing to part with the All-Star closer, Soria would welcome a trade to the Yankees, or any other team interested.

Soria has recorded 132 saves to go along with an impressive 2.01 ERA in four years with the underachieving Royals, and would potentially be used as a setup man for Mariano Rivera, the 41-year-old closer, before eventually taking over Rivera’€™s role. Rivera signed a two-year contract worth $30 million to remain in New York this offseason.

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