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Johnny Damon clears the air about the Red Sox

12.08.10 at 5:17 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Johnny Damon would love to come back to Boston.

J.D. has been around the Winter Meetings. I talked to him by phone earlier today about his interest in returning to Boston, as well as the reasons why he turned down an opportunity to return to the Sox last season.

J.D. wanted to make it clear that his decision to refuse the waiver claim by the Red Sox in August was never about the city of Boston, the Red Sox organization or the fans. There is no ill will there. It was solely about his desire to remain with a Tigers team that he loved. He loved the team, he loved his teammates, and he hoped to stay with the Tigers beyond 2010.

“You know me. I’ve always been extremely loyal to my teammates,” he told me. “A lot of them expressed their desire to keep me around. My intention was to return there this year, but they had other plans.”

Just because Johnny decided not to return last season, it doesn’t mean he’s closed the door. In fact, he’d love to come back.

“Obviously, I’d love to return to Boston,” he said. “I loved playing there, and I think it would be a perfect fit, with the chance to win again. I know I could do that in Boston.”

Physically, J.D. feels great. He spent a lot of last year as the Tigers DH. The only stress he put on his body was trying to score from first on doubles. He still feels like he can play left field regularly, and he feels like he can still hit against lefties.

It may be a long shot for the Red Sox to bring Johnny back. However, it was important for him and Red Sox Nation to know that the decision to stay in Detroit was never anything personal.

Read More: Detroit Tigers, Hot Stove, Johnny Damon,

Sources: Red Sox not at Magglio Ordonez workout

12.08.10 at 5:00 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, the Red Sox did not have a representative at the workout Magglio Ordonez participated in Wednesday in Florida. While Ordonez’ agent Scott Boras said that the goal of the workout — set up by head of the Boras Corporation’s fitness division, Steve Odgers — was to show that the outfielder was in good health after experiencing an ankle injury in 2010, and that the Tigers were going to be attending the event, the workout wasn’t on the Red Sox’ radar. It is, however, believed that the Red Sox do have some interest in the 36-year-old Ordonez.

“I just got a report that he went through it without any complication and it went great,” Boras said while meeting with the media Wednesday.

‘€œWe had a chance to illustrate where his baseball abilities are at, just to show that he’€™s 100 percent. Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson [Werth] has signed. He’€™s a middle of the [order] guy. He’€™s had a great average, been a productive guy, he’€™s a veteran player and he’€™s a winner. There are a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams. Once Jayson signed, a lot of the teams interested in Jayson are now interested in Magglio.

‘€œWhen a player has an injury, we send the medicals to the clubs. They’€™ve had a great deal of time. Most of the teams understand, it was certainly something that took him off the field for six to eight weeks because it was a fracture of the ankle. But the fracture itself was just minor. It was something that really had to heal. There was no need for any intervention by a surgeon. It’€™s just really something where he can wait it out, get it back and now he’€™s back to 100 percent.’€

For more from the winter meetings, see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

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How Adrian Beltre could affect the Red Sox interest in Scott Downs

12.08.10 at 4:59 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox‘ interest in Scott Downs may depend on Adrian Beltre‘s landing spot.

Given the Sox’ history, they are inclined to keep as many top draft picks as possible. Downs, the left-hander who spent the last several years in Toronto, is a Type A free agent, meaning the Sox would have to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him. If the team does not sign another Type A free agent, that would require the Sox to give up their first-round pick to sign Downs, the No. 24 overall pick in next year’s draft.

But, if Beltre was to be signed by a team without a protected first-round pick (meaning a team picking after the No. 20 pick), they would get the signing team’s pick. For instance, if the Rangers — who have the No. 26 pick in the draft — moved third baseman Michael Young to another position and signed Beltre, it would mean that the Sox get the first-round pick from Texas.

That would give the Sox three first-round picks (the No. 19 pick from Detroit, their own No. 24 pick, and the pick from the Rangers). According to the source, that may make the Sox more willing to lose a first-round pick.

If, however, a team with one of the first 18 picks in the first round signed Beltre — for example, the Angels, who have the No. 17 pick, or the A’s, who have the No. 18 pick — the Sox would get a second-round pick for him. That would leave the Sox with only two first-round picks, making them more reluctant to part with their own.

The source also said that if the Sox were still in the market for a Type A free agent ranked higher than Downs by the Elias ratings — namely, Carl Crawford — then signing the reliever would cost a second-round pick. That would be another scenario that might make it easier for the Sox to sign Downs and lose a pick.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, carl crawford, Hot Stove, Scott Downs

Hot Stove Roundup, 3 p.m.: Royals land outfieler Jeff Francoeur for multi-year option

12.08.10 at 3:24 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, outfielder Jeff Francoeur received $2.5 million plus performance bonuses from the Royals, where he signed on Wednesday. The team announced the deal, which is a one-year contract with a club option for the 2012 season.

Francoeur batted .239 last season with 13 home runs and 65 RBIs with both the Mets and the Rangers.

Quick Hits:

‘™¦ The Rockies have discussed acquiring shortstop Michael Young with the Rangers, who made it known on Tuesday that the former All-Star could be available in an attempt to clear payroll, the Denver Post reports. Talks weren’t too serious, as the Rockies would have to take on the remaining $48 million on Young’s contract.

‘™¦ Nationals.com reports that the team will focus on signing free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. Coming off of his best season with the D-Backs, LaRoche hit .261 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. LaRoche said via phone on Monday that, “In the next few days, we are going to start conversations with the Nationals.”

‘™¦ According to Darek Braunecker, the agent for free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, one team has dropped out of the sweepstakes for the highly-touted pitcher, but would not specify which team has tossed in the towel, ESPNDallas reports. ESPN did say that it was not the Texas Rangers, who spoke with Braunecker on the phone for 30 minutes on Wednesday.

‘™¦ MLBtraderumors tweeted on Wednesday that negotiations for third baseban Adrian Beltre are moving quickly, and that multiple teams are interested. A decision could be made as early as this week where Beltre could spend the next few seasons. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times said that the Angles have serious interest in signing the third baseman, but Carl Crawford remains at the top of their list.

‘™¦ The L.A. Times reported on Wednesday that the Dodgers have inquired to the Royals about ace Zack Greinke, multiple baseball sources have said. The Dodgers have also added free agents Tony Gwynn Jr. and Vincente Padilla this week.

‘™¦ ESPN.com reports that the Twins are making a serious push to re-sign free agent pitcher Carl Pavano. Last season with the Twins, Pavano posted a 17-11 record with a 3.75 ERA. The Nationals and the Marlins have also shown interest in signing the pitcher, but “signs continue to point toward” Pavano returning to Minnesota.

Scott Boras not shutting door on Adrian Beltre, Red Sox

12.08.10 at 3:05 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — While speaking to the media following the press conference to announce Carlos Pena’s one-year deal with the Cubs, agent Scott Boras was asked about if one of his clients, Adrian Beltre, was disappointed that a return to the Red Sox would seem to be in doubt now that the team has acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Boras insinuated, however, that the Sox could possibly still make some sort of move to find a place for Beltre, despite the fact third base now appears to be occupied by Kevin Youkilis.

“Adrian Beltre is a player, when you have somebody who performs like that in the marketplace, who is that good a defender, that good a complete player ‘€¦ You just never know what a team is going to do because a player like that is available,” said Boras. “When people are telling me clubs are in or out, I’ve been in this business way too long to have things change, a player moved, or whatever happens, and all of a sudden because the player admires the player so much that they would make adjustments to fit them in, or do something a little bit creative to make sure he remained on the team.”

Asked about Oakland reportedly pulling its five-year deal for Beltre off the table, Boras responded, “‘€œOffers are like curtains for me. There is opening and closing but they’€™re still in the room. We’€™re open to discussions with all teams on Adrian. We’€™ve been going through a number of negotiations with a number of teams. There have been a lot of willing participants. Each team, we have told teams we would tell a team if we are not interested. We have told the teams that we are. Certainly, Oakland was a team he said he would be interested in looking at. We had meetings with their club. That’€™s where we’€™re at now.

‘€œThat’€™s a very busy market for Adrian. We’€™re in the middle of lot of negotiations with a lot of teams for him and they’€™re ongoing,’€ he added. ‘€œWe’€™re well down the road with a lot of teams. It could be something [that’s done soon] or take a while, too.’€

For more winter meetings coverage, see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

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Scott Boras holds court at the winter meetings

12.08.10 at 1:55 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Agent Scott Boras spoke to a throng of reporters about his stable of high-profile clients, including several of interest to the Red Sox. Among them, he discussed free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, free-agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez, rehabbing Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, about whom the Mets have been listening to trade inquiries.


Boras said that Ordonez is “100 percent,” and that he held a workout — organized by Boras Corp. trainer Steve Odgers — for interested teams to show them that he is in good shape. The agent suggested that with Jayson Werth off the market, the interest in Ordonez has spiked as he represents a potential middle-of-the-order outfielder.

“We had a chance to illustrate where his baseball abilities are at, just to show that he’s 100 percent,” said Boras, who noted only that the Tigers were at the workout. “Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson has signed. He’s a middle of the [order] guy. He’s had a great average, been a productive guy, he’s a veteran player and he’s a winner. There are a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams. Once Jayson signed, a lot of the teams interested in Jayson are now interested in Magglio.

“When a player has an injury, we send the medicals to the clubs. They’€™ve had a great deal of time. Most of the teams understand, it was certainly something that took him off the field for six to eight weeks because it was a fracture of the ankle. But the fracture itself was just minor. It was something that really had to heal. There was no need for any intervention by a surgeon. It’€™s just really something where he can wait it out, get it back and now he’€™s back to 100 percent.”

Ordonez, said Boras, will be looking to play a corner outfield spot and perhaps serve on occasion as a designated hitter.

CARLOS BELTRAN Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian Beltre, adrian gonzalez, Hot Stove, Jacoby Ellsbury

Hot Stove roundup, 1 p.m.: White Sox break impasse with Paul Konerko

12.08.10 at 1:01 pm ET
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After general manager Ken Williams said on Tuesday that negotiations with Paul Konerko were in a standstill, the White Sox agreed on Wednesday to a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the first baseman.

Konerko, who will be 35 opening day, is coming off one of his best seasons, batting .312 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said by phone that his team is going on “radio silence” about money for slugger Albert Pujols, who will be a free agent after next season.

‘™¦ According to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Royals are getting close to a deal with outfielder Jeff Francoeur. It would likely be a one-year deal with a club option possible.

‘™¦ The Padres confirmed a one-year, $900,000 deal with right-handed pitcher Dustin Moseley Wednesday. Bill Center of the Union Tribune says the Padres could give Moseley a chance to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation or become the Padres’ long man in the bullpen. Moseley was 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA in 16 games for the Yankees last season.

‘™¦ The Mets are expecting to lose right-handed prospect Elvin Ramirez in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Ramirez, 23, has been impressing scouts in the Dominican Republic this winter with a 97 mph fastball, though he’s having some control issues. He went 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 52 relief appearances spanning 80 innings between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season.

‘™¦ The Yankees and Rangers aren’t just fighting for Cliff Lee‘s services anymore. It appears they are also the two finalists for right-hander Mark Prior. Prior hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2006. He started his comeback this year by pitching with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League. The 30-year-old Prior reportedly showed good velocity during his time in the independent league and hopes to resurrect his career as a relief pitcher.

‘™¦ Longtime Expos and Marlins play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne was named as winner of the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frisk Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting. Van Horne is a native of Easton, Pa., and broadcast for the International League’s Richmond Braves before joining Montreal for its first season in 1969. He switched to the Marlins radio team in 2001. Van Horne will be honored during an induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 24.

Read More: Albert Pujols, dustin moseley, Hot Stove, Paul Konerko

Noon Hot Stove Live Chat with Lou Merloni

12.08.10 at 12:04 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni will be checking in with the latest from the Winter Meetings at noon. Check in to talk all things Red Sox and hot stove.

Hot Stove live chat

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Hot Stove roundup, 11 a.m.: Johnny Damon talks up Tampa

12.08.10 at 11:07 am ET
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Few players generated more rumors last offseason than Johnny Damon, who went back-and-forth with the Yankees before landing a one-year deal with the Tigers. Damon is generating some fodder once again, telling Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he would like to fill the Rays’ vacancy in left field. The 37-year-old talked with the Rays last spring, but they didn’t have a regular role for him then.

Quick hits:

‘™¦ Right-hander Matt Garza is the latest Rays player to be the subject of trade rumors. Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports Wednesday that the Rangers and Brewers have shown interest in Garza. The 27-year-0ld Garza is arbitration eligible this winter after making $3.35 million in 2010, but he is under club control for two more seasons.

‘™¦ Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets that the Rangers are fielding offers for infielder Michael Young. Young, 34, hit .284 with 21 home runs in 2010, and he is due $48 million over the next three seasons. Rosenthal added that the Rangers would be willing to pick up a small part of Young’s salary in a trade. The Rockies are reported to have shown interest.

‘™¦ Kerry Wood finished strong after being traded to the Yankees last season, and although Cliff Lee is the club’s first priority, the Yankees still have interest in bringing Wood back to the Bronx, tweeted Rosenthal. But there are a number of other clubs looking for relief pitching, including the White Sox, who may be interested in Wood, although Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Wood will be too expensive.

‘™¦ The Yankees have a lot more than just Wood and Lee to consider in the bullpen for 2011, as there is still no official decision from Andy Pettitte on next season. On Tuesday, a close friend of the left-hander told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that “if Pettitte had to make a decision today on whether to play in 2011, he would still lean towards retirement,” and then added, “but that can always change.” The Yankees, who are under the impression the 38-year-old will retire, haven’t pressure Pettitte to make a decision but would clearly like to know his plans one way or the other. Pettitte earned $11.75 million last season, and if he isn’t coming back it would both create greater urgency for the Yankees to sign Lee and provide more payroll flexibility for the club to make a run at Lee and Carl Crawford. And a source told ESPN’s Buster Olney that general manager Brian Cashman had a long meeting Tuesday night with representatives of Crawford.

‘™¦ Buster Olney also tweeted that negotiations for catcher Russell Martin have reached the point where teams are making offers to his agent, Matt Colleran. The Yankees and Red Sox are reported to be in the center of the pursuit. Martin could play a prominent role with either team, as Jorge Posada will be the designated hitter for the Yankees next season, and the unproven Jarrod Saltalamacchia is projected to be the starting catcher for the Red Sox.

‘™¦ A judge is pushing back the date for Roger Clemens‘ trial three months to July so attorneys can review “voluminous” evidence. At a hearing Wednesday, prosecutors said the case has produced some 54,000 pages of evidence. Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his team needs more time to go though the information and hire an expert witness to examine the scientific evidence against Clemens. Clemens is facing charges that he lied about using performance-enhancing drugs.

Read More: Cliff Lee, Hot Stove, Johnny Damon, matt garza

Sources: Red Sox not looking to move Daisuke Matsuzaka

12.08.10 at 10:37 am ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox have shown no active desire to move starter Daisuke Matsuzaka to this point of the winter meetings.

While the Sox have both Tim Wakefield and Felix Doubront available as potential rotation alternatives, the Sox currently view it as likely that Doubront could contribute to the 2011 team as a reliever. The Sox lack other reliable rotation alternatives in the upper levels of their minor league system, and so if they moved Matsuzaka in a trade, they would likely need to jump into an extremely shallow free agent pool to find further depth. The Sox have typically made a point of having seven solid big league starting options for any season, given the likely attrition of starting depth over the course of the season.

Several talent evaluators believe that it is possible that Matsuzaka — a study in unpredictability as a member of the Red Sox — could thrive if moved to the AL West or the National League, where bigger ballparks and less ferocious lineups would be more forgiving of his flyball tendencies. Even so, Sox manager Terry Francona suggested on Tuesday that the Sox continue to value the right-hander.

“if I sat here and told you I could figure him out, I’d be lying,” said Francona. “But if he’s pitching out of your four or five hole, you have a chance to have a really good staff.”

Matsuzaka also has a complete no-trade clause in his contract that permits him to veto any deal.

He was 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA last year, throwing 153 innings in 25 starts. He struck out 7.8 per nine innings while walking 4.3 batters per nine. But he also had several stretches in which he looked dominant, suggesting that his stuff was better than his numbers (even if the results were an accurate barometer of his performance). Towards that end, it would be possible that the Sox would be selling low if they dealt the right-hander.

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hot Stove,
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