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A look at the Red Sox’ interest in outfielders

12.07.10 at 2:54 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Red Sox GM Theo Epstein made clear that his club could proceed in a number of directions in addressing its outfield.

–The team could stand pat, using the same corps of J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Ryan Kalish that it already has under contract.

–The team could pursue a “complementary move” for a player that would permit them to send Kalish back to the minors.

–Though Epstein did not articulate the possibility, the Sox could also still make a splash and pursue Carl Crawford, far and away the best outfielder on the market.

So, realistically, where do things stand? Based on conversations with a handful of industry sources, here is a look at some of the options that exist.

THE CARL CRAWFORD SWEEPSTAKES

There has been some suggestion that the seven-year, $126 million deal that Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals could take the Sox out of the market for Crawford. And if both Crawford and the industry ends up using Werth’s deal as a baseline to affix a value to Crawford, perhaps resulting in something along the lines of an eight-year, $160 million deal, then it seems likely that the Sox would pass on the dynamic left fielder.

But, according to multiple sources, it is premature to say there is no chance that the Sox sign Crawford. They have no doubt determined what they consider a fair value for the outfielder. If he is open to taking a deal on those terms, they could land him. But, as the Sox have demonstrated already this offseason with Victor Martinez, they are willing to affix a value to a player’s services — even one who they really like — and walk away if he wants (and gets) more from elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: carl crawford, carlos beltran, Hot Stove, josh willingham

Hot Stove roundup, 2 p.m.: Brian Cashman frustrated by lack of progress with Cliff Lee

12.07.10 at 2:44 pm ET
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Brian Cashman‘s No. 1 priority is to sign free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, and according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees general manager is upset he hasn’t already done so.

Rosenthal writes that the Yankees are taking the stance of, “When Lee is ready to make a deal, we’re here.” The team has not made an offer to Lee yet and according to Rosenthal, Cashman has “privately expressed his frustration to others at the winter meeting about the team’s inability to move the negotiations along.”

The lack of progress in the negotiations may be a result of Lee’s camp wanting the bidding between other teams to go up, writes Rosenthal. The report also states that Lee will receive a seven-year offer.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that when the Yankees do make their offer to Lee, it will be for six years.

‘™¦ The Rockies and Indians are both interested in free agent infielder Adam Everett, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The teams view Everett as a backup shortstop/utility man. Everett played in just 31 games last season, hitting .185/.221/.247 with four RBI prior to being released in June. He has been a free agent since.

‘™¦ According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays and Orioles are discussing a trade that would send shortstop Jason Bartlett to Baltimore. The Orioles would have to give up more than Nolan Reimold.

‘™¦ According to SI’s Jon Heyman, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter wasn’t thrilled with how he was portrayed when he was a free agent. Heyman tweets that Jeter “didn’t like to be seen as greedy or egotistical.”

‘™¦ The Pirates inquired about Orlando Cabrera, but they are not interested in signing the free agent shortstop, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Hot Stove roundup, 1 p.m.: LA judge rules in favor of Jamie McCourt in Dodgers ownership dispute

12.07.10 at 1:29 pm ET
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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of Jamie McCourt, denying Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers in their divorce case. Judge Scott Gordon granted Jamie McCourt’s plea to throw out a 2004 marital agreement that would have left her without an ownership share in the team.

Frank McCourt already has indicated he plans to pursue a different approach in his attempt to be recognized as the team’s sole majority owner.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman tweets that Cliff Lee does indeed have an offer of seven years, but it’s not from the Nationals, who were rumored to be preparing to make a run at the left-hander.

‘™¦ ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima does not have a deal in place to return to Japan, despite rumors. Crasnick indicated Okajima is considering offers from major league and Japanese teams but is “not close to a deal with anyone.”

‘™¦ After daring Derek Jeter to test the free agent market, the Yankees announced on Tuesday that they have finalized a three-year, $51 million contract with the shortstop. Jeter and the club reached a preliminary agreement Saturday on the deal, which includes an $8 million player option for 2014. The Yankees have scheduled a news conference for 2:30 p.m. at their spring training complex. The 36-year-old Jeter was coming off a $189 million, 10-year contract and was initially offered a $45 million, three-year deal by the Yankees. Jeter had a .270 batting average with 10 homers this past season, down from a .334 average and 18 homers in 2009. While his RBIs increased by one to 67, his on-base percentage fell from .406 to .340.

‘™¦ Rangers manager Ron Washington says he wants Josh Hamilton in left field next season to save wear and tear on the AL MVP. Hamilton made 107 starts in center field in 2008,  dropping to 55 starts in 2009, and then to only 29 this past season. Hamilton missed most of the final month for the AL champions after breaking two ribs when he ran into an outfield wall. However, he did start in center throughout the playoffs and World Series. Washington said Monday that Julio Borbon would likely take over the spot in 2011. Hamilton hit .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs.

‘™¦ Sources have told ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Dodgers have agreed on a one-year, $2 million contract with right-hander Vicente Padilla, pending a physical examination. Padilla, who spent the past season and a half with the Dodgers before becoming a free agent this fall, will presumably pitch primarily out of the bullpen, as the Dodgers already have five established starters, or he could be a swing man who could step into the rotation if another starter is injured. Sources also said that Padilla could be a candidate to fill the closer’s role if Jonathan Broxton continues to struggle. In 16 starts for the Dodgers last season, Padilla was 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA and missed significant time with two different injuries. The new contract could also include performance bonuses that would increase the value.

‘™¦ Last week in the Houston Chronicle, Zachary Levine said that the Astros and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez were discussing a multi-year contract. There is now word that general manager Ed Wade has heard offers for some of the arbitration-eligible players on his club, specifically Rodriguez, Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence. Rodriguez has one year left before free agency and is expected to garner a raise from the $5 million he made last season. He went 11-12 with a 3.6 ERA in 2010. Levine writes this week that it is more likely the Astros would deal Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Keppinger, who are also arbitration eligible.

‘™¦ The Mets are close to signing backup catcher Ronny Paulino, a source close to the situation told ESPN’s Jorge Arangure Jr. Tuesday. Last season Paulino hit .259 with four home runs and 37 RBIs for the Marlins before being suspended 50 games by MLB after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He served 42 games of the suspension last season and will miss the first eight games of 2011. The Marlins non-tendered the 29-year-0ld after signing free agent John Buck. If completed, Paulino’s signing would mark the first free agent major league signing by Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ new general manager. Alderson told reporters that he didn’t expect the Mets to be big players during this week’s winter meetings, but according to the source, they are still looking at several low-cost relief options to shore up their bullpen.

‘™¦ The Mets also are mulling their options regarding center fielder Carlos Beltran, who is entering the final year of an $18.5 million contract. Jon Harper of the New York Daily News says it makes sense for Alderson to place a call to A’s general manager Billy Beane, who needs an impact hitter to be a legitimate contender again in the AL West since losing out on Lance Berkman and Adam Dunn.

‘™¦ Also on the A’s radar is Hideki Matsui. Susan Slusser of the San Fransisco Chronicle reports Tuesday that Beane met with Matsui’s agent, Arn Tellum, on Monday. Unlike other A’s targets this winter, Matsui is believed to have a strong interest in signing with Oakland. The Mariners, Rangers and Twins are other teams that could also be interested in adding Matsui.

Read More: Derek Jeter, Frank McCourt, Hideki Matsui, Hideki Okajima

Matt Diaz’ agent: ‘Could happen today’

12.07.10 at 12:26 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Larry Reynolds, the agent for free agent outfielder Matt Diaz, wouldn’t confirm if the Red Sox were one of the suitors for the righty hitting outfielder, but did say “there are a lot of teams interested,” and that he thought a deal would be done in the “next couple of days, even today.” The 32-year-old would seem to be a good fit for the Red Sox, who, according to general manager Theo Epstein, a complementary-type right-handed hitter. Diaz who was non-tendered by the Braves, is a .335 career hitter against lefties.

The left fielder had a solid season in 2009 for the Braves, hitting .313 with 13 homers and a .878 OPS. Diaz suffered a right thumb injury which hindered in ’10 season, playing in 84 games and hitting .250 with seven homers. He spent time on the disabled list in May.

Read More: Hot Stove,

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,
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