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Noon Hot Stove live chat with Lou Merloni

12.07.10 at 11:43 am ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Join Lou Merloni in a Live Chat starting at noon Tuesday. Talk all things Red Sox and Hot Stove and Merloni reports from the winter meetings.

Hot Stove Chat

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Hot Stove roundup 10 a.m.: Nationals rumored to make run at Cliff Lee

12.07.10 at 10:13 am ET
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According to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Nationals may be preparing to make a run at free agent left-hander Cliff Lee. Reports to this point have made it appear the Rangers were the only team making a serious push to keep Lee from the Yankees. However, writes Olney: There is growing speculation among rival agents and executives that the Washington Nationals are going to throw a HUGE number at Cliff Lee.

Washington already made one splash this week, signing right fielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal that many have criticized as too excessive. On Monday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo responded to the critics.

“I don’t apologize for signing Jayson Werth,” Rizzo said. “I’m glad we have him in the fold. We’re a better ball club today than we were yesterday. I can understand some of the comments. We’re taking care of ourselves. We’re trying to build something special here.”

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Back to Cliff Lee: Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees won’t exceed the six-year, $161 million contract they gave CC Sabathia.

‘™¦ A report from FoxSports.com indicates that at least seven teams, including the Yankees and Rays, have inquired about 29-year-old pitcher Rich Harden, who played last season for the Rangers.

Read More: Cliff Lee, Hot Stove,

Hot Stove roundup, 9 a.m.: Rockies reportedly in serious negotiations with Ty Wigginton

12.07.10 at 9:10 am ET
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According to an ESPN report, the Rockies are in serious negotiations with free agent Ty Wigginton. The Rockies have been looking for a versatile right-handed bat able to split time at first base with Todd Helton and play some time at third base and possibly in the outfield. The 33-year-old Wigginton batted .248 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs last season with the Orioles.

While the Rockies also have talked to representatives of free agent Jorge Cantu at the winter meetings, they’ve apparently begun closing in on a deal with Wigginton.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Free agent pitcher Kevin Correia has reportedly reached an agreement with the Pirates for a two-year, $8 million contract, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The deal, which includes unspecified incentives, is contingent on Correia, 30, passing a physical exam. The right-hander posted a 12-11 record with a 3.91 ERA in 2009 for the Padres, before slumping to 10-10 with a 5.4 ERA last season. Correia, a fourth-round pick in 2002, earned $3.6 million last season.

‘™¦ The Brewers boosted their rotation Monday, reaching a deal to get right-hander Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays for infield prospect Brett Lawrie. Marcum went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA for the Blue Jays last season. He missed the entire 2009 season following Tommy John surgery. Marcum, who turns 29 next week, comes with a relatively low salary. He made $850,000 last season and isn’t eligible for free agency for another two years. This was the second trade between the Blue Jays and Brewers in a matter of days. The Brewers sent reliever Carlos Villanueva to the Blue Jays last Friday.

‘™¦ Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted that he hears the Nationals are remaining “ultra aggressive going after starting pitching.” The Nationals also plan to let teenage prospect Bryce Harper play in big league exhibition games during spring training. Harper was the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, and he batted .343 with six extra-base hits in nine games in the Arizona Fall League. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said the 18-year-0ld will be in major league camp this spring and get some at-bats. Harper is expected to start next season in Single-A ball.

Read More: Hot Stove, Ty Wigginton,

Hot Stove roundup, 7 a.m.: Rockies manager Jim Tracy collapses at winter meetings

12.07.10 at 7:12 am ET
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Rockies manager Jim Tracy collapsed early Tuesday morning at the winter meetings and was taken to an Orlando-area hospital for tests. Tracy, 54, collapsed near a set of hotel elevators at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. He was able to stand with assistance before leaving on a stretcher.

Tracy was the National League Manager of the Year in 2009. He has a 719-693 record in nine years managing the Rockies, Pirates and Dodgers. He’s under contract with Colorado through 2012.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ The A’s were unable to reach agreement on a contract with 29-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma during the 30-day negotiating period that ended Monday, sending him back to his Japanese team. Oakland had won the rights to Iwakuma in early November. The pitcher reportedly wanted a contract comparable to the $126 million, seven-year deal signed by Giants lefty Barry Zito before the 2007 season, but the A’s weren’t in the same neighborhood.

‘™¦ The Cubs named Mark Riggins pitching coach. Riggins, 53, served as the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator the past three seasons.

Read More: Hisashi Iwakuma, Hot Stove, Jim Tracy, Mark Riggins

Red Sox might be willing to pay a drafty price for Scott Downs

12.07.10 at 2:55 am ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Red Sox love their draft picks. The foundation of the club’s success in recent years has been largely driven by its young talent base, and so if possible, the team would no doubt prefer to avoid sacrificing picks for free agents. And, the prevailing wisdom goes, that would prove especially true of relievers — a volatile commodity for whom the team is reluctant to invest multi-year deals, let alone picks.

So does that rule the Sox out of the three Type A free agent relievers who would cost them a draft pick?

Rafael Soriano isn’t going to end up with the Sox. The closer, who led the American League in saves last year, will be looking for a closer deal at closer years and dollars. The Sox have a closer. There’s no fit.

Grant Balfour, another Type A free agent reliever, would also cost the club with whom he signs a draft pick, assuming he leaves the Rays. His decision to turn down Tampa Bay’s offer of salary arbitration meant that any team signing him would need to pay doubly — giving up dollars and a top draft pick — in order to sign him. While the hard-throwing right-hander’s numbers in the AL East the past three years (2.98 ERA, 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings, 2.8 walks per nine) are excellent, the Sox, according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking, aren’t interested enough to give up a pick to sign him to the multi-year deal he seeks.

But, according to that source, there is a reliever for whom parting with a pick would not represent a deal breaker. While the Sox wouldn’t give one up for Balfour, they might do so in order to sign free-agent left-hander Scott Downs. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: grant balfour, Hot Stove, matt guerrier, Scott Downs

Theo Epstein discusses the state of the Sox at the winter meetings

12.06.10 at 10:18 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, at the end of a hectic day that started in Boston with the press conference to introduce newly acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, discussed the state of his team’s offseason now that he has landed the superstar. He suggested that the Sox had done more to sort through their blueprint for the rest of the offseason than make actual headway in specific deals.

“The most important stuff we did was kind of prioritizing, figuring out what might be real vs. what was unrealistic and setting unrealistic stuff aside so we could maybe narrow our focus a little bit, both in trades and free agency,” said Epstein. “We didn’€™t get significantly close to anything but at least we have a smaller set of issues to go forward on, maybe do our best to get something done while were here if we can.’€

The Sox continue to remain in the market for relievers, a right-handed bat and perhaps another outfielder.

But while the Sox have been viewed as heavily involved in the sweepstakes for free agents Jayson Werth (before he signed with the Nationals) and Carl Crawford, Epstein cautioned that the team may end up pursuing more of a complementary player to join the team’s current outfield composition of J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Kalish (the latter of whom, Epstein suggested, he would prefer to have in Triple-A in the start of the season in a perfect world).

Foremost, Epstein — while not speaking directly about the Werth contract — made clear that the Sox will only pay a player what they consider fair value for him, and not more.

“Do you have the guts to walk away and get criticized for it, knowing it’€™s the right thing?” mused Epstein. “Some organizations do, some don’€™t.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, Hot Stove, Jayson Werth

Jed Hoyer talks Adrian Gonzalez trade

12.06.10 at 10:15 pm ET
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