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Report: Red Sox among numerous teams in on Brian Fuentes

12.28.10 at 3:19 pm ET
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According to a tweet from SI’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox “have company” as far as trying to sign free agent reliever Brian Fuentes goes.

Heyman lists the Blue Jays, Rays, Rockies, Mariners, Twins, Pirates, Phillies, Brewers, Yankees and Mets as teams with an eye on the left-hander, who remains unsigned as the new year draws closer. Fuentes has pitched for three of the teams on that list, as he broke into the majors with the Mariners before spending the next seven years in Colorado. He finished last season with the Twins after being acquired from the Angels and allowed three hits and no runs in nine appearances for Minnesota.

Fuentes had a career-high 48 saves with the Angels in 2009. His 2.81 earned run average between the Angels and the Twins last season was the third-best mark of his career. He posted ERAs of 2.73 and 2.75 in 2008 and 2003, respectively.

If the Red Sox were to bring in the 35-year-old, he would join Bobby Jenks as another major addition to the Sox’ bullpen. The Sox signed Jenks to a two-year, $12 million deal earlier this month.

Read More: brian fuentes, Daniel Bard, Hot Stove, Jonathan Papelbon

Nolan Ryan suggests Rangers may take a run at Adrian Beltre

12.28.10 at 1:02 pm ET
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During an interview on Dallas radio station SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket, Rangers president Nolan Ryan stated that his team may have interest in free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, but would have to move some pieces around.

Ryan said regarding Beltre, “Well, when you have a player of his caliber out there, you have to have an interest if it’€™s realistic within what your budget is and how he would fit into your ball club and how you would hit him in the lineup and stuff of that nature. So, obviously with our ball club, it wouldn’€™t be nearly as clear-cut as somebody else, say whether it be the Angels and the rumor is that Oakland has made him offer. I would say if you looked at the free agent market right now, he’€™s probably the premier free agent that’€™s still unsigned.”

Beltre signing with the Rangers would be the best-case scenario for the Red Sox due to the fact that both the Angels’ and A’s first-round picks are protected, not allowing the Sox to receive them as compensation for the third baseman signing with another team. (For more on that, click here.)

To read the complete interview, click here.

Read More: Hot Stove,

Hot Stove live chat with Rob Bradford, noon

12.28.10 at 8:47 am ET
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Join Rob Bradford in talking all things Hot Stove and Red Sox Tuesday at noon. Bring your questions, comments, and analysis as we edge further away from the offseason drama and closer to spring training. Click below to participate:

Hot Stove Chat

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Source: Former Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito to sign on with Brewers

12.27.10 at 12:59 pm ET
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According to Nikkan Sports (via NPBTracker), former Red Sox relief pitcher Takashi Saito has agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers worth $3 million. According to a source, the Sox expressed some interest in Saito but not to the point where any negotiations got serious.

Saito (who will turn 41-years-old on Feb. 14) pitched for the Braves last season, turning in a remarkably similar season to the one he finished with in 2009 with the Red Sox. With Atlanta, the righty went 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 56 appearances. He struck out 69 and walked 17. With the Sox, he also pitched in 56 games, totaling a 3-3 mark and 2.43 ERA.

The reported deal would pay Saito just $200,000 less than what he made in ’10 with Atlanta. The pitcher had signed on with the Red Sox prior to the ’09 season for one year and $1.5 million, having battled through elbow ailments.

Saito would figure to help set-up Milwaukee closer John Axford.

Read More: Hot Stove,

Phillies reportedly have deal with J.C. Romero

12.27.10 at 8:16 am ET
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Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero re-signed with the Phillies, according to a report from CSNPhilly.com. Romero, 34, had his $4.5 million option declined by the team two months ago, and the new deal is expected to be for much less.

The onetime Red Sox reliever went 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 60 games last season. He has pitched just 53.1 innings the last two seasons, walking 42 batters and striking out 40. He has done well against lefties, though, holding them to a .174 average over the past three seasons. He joined the Phillies in the middle of the 2007 season after being released by the Red Sox, who had signed him as a free agent six months earlier.

Read More: Hot Stove, J.C. Romero,

History says there are still moves for the Red Sox to make

12.27.10 at 12:50 am ET
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The immediate needs for the Red Sox 25-man roster appear to be dwindling. Priorities most likely reside in seeing what might be available in another lefty reliever, and perhaps a jack-of-all-trades, infielder-outfielder. But just because the meat and potatoes of the offseason may seem to have come and gone, that doesn’t mean a few meaningful transactions won’t be in the mix before the truck heads to Fort Myers.

Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors’ Transaction Tracker, the following is a list of notable moves made by the Red Sox between Dec. 25 and Feb. 10 since Theo Epstein became the team’s general manager. (Note: Many of the deals were agreed to well before the announced date. An example of this came when the Red Sox came to terms with free agent Bill Mueller on Dec. 20, 2002, but chose not to announce it until two weeks later, having hoped to avoid an uncomfortable dynamic by trading starting third baseman Shea Hillenbrand. No deal could be struck, and it wouldn’t be until five months later that Hillenbrand was finally traded to free up a starting spot for Mueller.)

Brad Penny (Dec. 28, 2008): Coming off an injury-plagued ’08 campaign, Penny signed a one-year, $5 million deal to become a part of the Sox’ rotation. He would make 24 starts before being released on Aug. 27.

Ramiro Mendoza (Dec. 31, 2002): After a solid ’02 season with the Yankees, making 62 appearances, Mendoza was inked by the Sox to become part of their bullpen-by-committee. The righty struggled in ’03, finishing with a 6.75 ERA in 37 appearances.

Joel Pineiro (Jan. 4, 2007): Having been non-tendered by the Mariners, the righty was signed to a one-year, $4 million deal by the Sox to potentially become a late-inning reliever with Jonathan Papelbon having been temporarily been moved to the starting rotation. He would be traded to St. Louis midway through the ’07 season after making 31 relief appearances.

Adrian Beltre (Jan. 4, 2010): The third baseman agreed to the much-publicized “pillow contract,” signing on with the Sox for one year at $5 million (with a vesting option that kicked it up to $10 million). Up until Beltre’s commitment, the Red Sox were prepared to start Casey Kotchman at first base with Kevin Youkilis moving to third. Beltre turned in one of the best offensive seasons in the American League, hitting .321 with 28 homers and a career-high 49 doubles.

Nick Green (Jan. 5, 2009): Signed as a minor-league free agent, Green was scheduled to start the ’09 season in Triple-A Pawtucket, but when both Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie went down with injuries, the infielder was pressed into service as the Sox’ starting shortstop for much of the season’s first-half. He would play in 103 games with the Sox before suffering a season-ending back injury.

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The Texas Rangers find their Plan B: Brandon Webb

12.26.10 at 7:20 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, free agent pitcher Brandon Webb has agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers, with only a physical standing in the way of the acquisition being completed.

The 2006 National League Cy Young Award winner (and runner-up in ’07 and ’08) is far from the top-of-the-rotation no-doubter Cliff Lee represented, but Webb could represent significant upside for the Rangers. The 31-year-old has thrown just four innings over the last two seasons due to surgery on his right shoulder.

It is believed that Webb ultimately decided on the Rangers over the Reds.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE RED SOX

In case you forgot, the Sox play the Rangers in both teams’ first series of the 2011 season, in Arlington, Texas. While it is far from a certainty that Webb will pitch in one of the series’ three games, we can look at how the sinker-baller has fared against some of the players who figure to be on the Sox’ roster when the teams meet. (Webb has never faced the Red Sox.)

Carl Crawford: 4-for-6 (.667), 2B, BB, K

J.D. Drew: 6-for-12 (.500), 2B, RBI, 2 BB, K

Adrian Gonzalez: 12-for-33 (.364), 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 8 BB, 6 K, GDP

Mike Cameron: 9-for-36 (.250), 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, BB, 10 K, GDP

Marco Scutaro: 0-for-2 (.000), BB, K

It will be interesting to see if Webb’s presence allows Texas to keep closer Neftali Feliz (who has allowed one run in 7 innings against the Red Sox, striking out six and walking one) in the back of its bullpen. Currently, the Rangers’ rotation also consists of C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hunter, and Colby Lewis.

Read More: Hot Stove,

Minor Details Ep. 5: The human element of being traded

12.24.10 at 2:44 pm ET
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The blockbuster deal between the Red Sox and Padres that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston was examined from any number of angles. Almost all of them, however, revolved around the on-field impact of the players moving to the two clubs.

But there is also a very real human component of these deals, especially in the case of a trade involving prospects with far-reaching relationships to their organization. In this episode of Minor Details, we talk to prospect Anthony Rizzo, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen and Red Sox scout Laz Gutierrez (who details how the Sox unexpectedly discovered Rizzo in the 2007 draft) about the human relationships involved in a deal of a prospect.

We also talk to Baseball America’s Jim Callis about the state of the Sox system in light of the deal, as well as the two relievers selected from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft: left-hander Cesar Cabral, who was drafted by the Rays, and right-hander Daniel Turpen, who was taken by the Yankees. To listen to the episode, click here.

Previous episodes of Minor Details:

Ep. 4: Evaluating prospects and making blockbusters, with former Diamondbacks GM/Red Sox Assistant GM Josh Byrnes and former Red Sox manager Butch Hobson (who was Jeff Bagwell‘s manager in the Red Sox system when he was traded to the Astros)

Ep. 3: Red Sox catching prospects, with Sox roving catching instructor Chadd Epperson, as well as a conversation with Arizona Fall League manager Mike Sarbaugh about the Sox’ prospects in the AFL

Ep. 2: Red Sox trade chips with Keith Law of ESPN.com

Ep. 1: Baseball America’s list of the Top 10 Red Sox prospects, with Mike Hazen and Jim Callis

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, casey kelly, cesar cabral

Dlugach outrighted to Pawtucket

12.23.10 at 1:45 pm ET
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Infielder Brent Dlugach, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox to make roster room for Bobby Jenks, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The 27-year-old Dlugach hit .258 with an on-base percentage of .303 in 117 games for the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate in Toledo in 2010. He was acquired by the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations on November 4.

Read More: Brent Dlugach, Red Sox,

Report: Adrian Gonzalez promised Sox he wouldn’t chase Albert Pujols money

12.23.10 at 12:58 am ET
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According to ESPN.com, during negotiations with his new club, Adrian Gonzalez assured the Red Sox that even though the two sides did not finalize a contract before his trade from San Diego to Boston became official, he wouldn’t allow changes in the market to alter what he was seeking in a contract. Specifically, Gonzalez told the Sox that he would not let a potential contract extension for Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols alter what he sought. Instead, Gonzalez told the club that he would continue to use the same deals his agent mentioned early in the offseason — the eight-year, $180 million deal signed by Mark Teixeira, the five-year, $125 million deal Ryan Howard has with the Phillies and the eight-year, $184 million deal that Joe Mauer has with the Twins — to guide what he saw as fair market value.

From the article:

“I made a comment to Theo, ‘Make the trade happen by itself, and I promise you during the season I’ll negotiate,”’ Gonzalez said. “I’m not going to come here and be like, ‘OK, we’ll see you at free agency and see if you outbid the other teams.’ We’ll negotiate during the season. We’re going to be fair. We won’t be looking for record-breaking deals. We just want market value.

“We gave them our word that we were going to negotiate during the season in good faith. We’re not going to go in there and ask for Albert Pujols’ contract, something along those lines.”

Pujols’ presence was clearly felt at the table. The Red Sox couldn’t shake the notion that if Pujols signed a mega-deal, the shared parameters of what market value was could change overnight.

“That was one of their comments, what if he gets this humongous deal and you want to be closer to him?” Gonzalez said. “I said, ‘Trust me. What the market is today might change by then, but we’re going to negotiate based on what the market is today.”’

According to the story, Gonzalez and the Sox agreed that an extension did not need to be hammered out in order to finalize the trade. Instead, the first baseman and the club achieved an understanding of the financial parameters for a deal that Gonzalez sought, and agreed to revisit talks later, once Gonzalez’ had returned to the field in the spring following surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder.

The Sox currently control Gonzalez’ rights for the 2011 season, when he will make $6.3 million. While there is not yet a formal agreement for an extension, both sides stated unequivocally that they were all but certain that one would be inked before Gonzalez becomes eligible for free agency.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Contract, Hot Stove,
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