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Source: Red Sox on Halladay’s list

11.09.09 at 2:39 pm ET
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CHICAGO — According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox are one of the teams Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay has identified as a club he would accept a trade to. Halladay has a no-trade clause in his current deal, which will pay him $15.75 million in 2010.

Indications from another major league source suggest that the Blue Jays are currently intent on keeping Halladay, although the 32-year-old figures to continue to be a topic of trade talk throughout the offseason. The Red Sox were one of the teams to make an attempt at acquiring the Toronto ace at last season’s trade deadline.

Halladay finished ’09 at 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA, having led the league in complete games (9) for the third straight season.

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Red Sox Decline $5 Million Option on Varitek

11.09.09 at 2:35 pm ET
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CHICAGO — The Red Sox declined their one-year, $5 million option for the 2010 season on catcher Jason Varitek, according to a major-league source. Now, Varitek has five days to decide whether to exercise his one-year, $3 million player option (with up to $2 million in incentives) for next season.

Varitek hit .209 with a .313 OBP and .390 slugging mark, along with 14 homers and 51 RBIs, for the Red Sox in 2009. He played in 109 games, and was relegated to a part-timer with the Sox trade for Victor Martinez. Most notably, Varitek did not start any of the Sox’ three playoff games against the Angels.

Varitek signed his one-year, $5 million deal with both a team and a player option prior to last season. He has been with the Sox since 1997, and is the franchise’s all-time leader in games caught (1,439). The three-time All-Star is a career .259 hitter with a .344 OBP and .435 slugging mark, along with 175 homers.

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Wakefield, Sox Agree on New Two-Year Deal

11.09.09 at 2:23 pm ET
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The Red Sox have chosen not to pick up Tim Wakefield’s $4 million option for the 2010 season; instead, the team and the pitcher have come to terms on a two-year deal. The new contract will pay the 43-year-old a guaranteed $5 million — $3.5 million in ’10 and $1.5 million in ’11 — with the opportunity to earn various incentives that could bring the package’s total worth to approximately $10 million over the two years.

It is believed that if Wakefield meets all of his incentives, he would fall approximately $1 million short of matching what he would have made if the options were picked up in each of the next two seasons. Wakefield originally signed a one-year deal with recurring team options of $4 million every season — a one-of-its-kind contract — during the 2005 season, with the deal becoming effective starting for the 2006 season.

Wakefield underwent surgery on a herniated disc in his back last month, but is expected to be ready to be fully ready for spring training.

The new deal could allow Wakefield to accomplish his goal of breaking the record for most wins in a Red Sox uniform by a pitcher (192), which is currently shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens. The knuckleballer will enter ’10 with 175 wins as a member of the Sox. He has also stated a goal of reaching 200 wins, which could be accomplished in the coming season. His current career win total stands at 189.

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Seattle GM on King Felix

11.09.09 at 12:54 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik was one of the first general managers to pass through the lobby at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Hilton Monday, stopping briefly to address the interest from teams — such as the Red Sox — in pitcher Felix Hernandez.

“Felix is our property, we’ve got him for the next two years,”  Zdurienick said. “That’s about all I would say about him. I’m looking forward to seeing Felix pitch for us. We’ve got him for this year and next year and he’s an integral part of everything we’re doing. You can make an argument that he’s the best guy in our league. He’s certainly one of the best. I would say Top 3 anyway. Where we stand right now is that he’s an integral part of what we’re doing.”

Zdurienick also said when asked about potential free agent signings, such as Jason Bay, he wasn’t going to box himself into a corner by ruling anything out, but didn’t feel comfortable commenting on any impending free agents.

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Reinold promoted, Lessard out

11.09.09 at 10:58 am ET
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CHICAGO — WEEI.com has learned that the Red Sox have promoted Mike Reinold to the role of head trainer, replacing Paul Lessard, whom the team has parted ways with. Reinold had been serving as the team’s assistant trainer.

Reinold has been with the Red Sox since following the 2005 season, coming to the team after working with renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. The Winthrop native has been credited with developing one of baseball’s most noted rehabilitation/strengthening programs for pitchers.

Lessard had also been with the team since just after the ’05 season, coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, where he was head trainer from 1997-05.

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Green, Gathright Elect Free Agency

11.09.09 at 10:53 am ET
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Red Sox infielder Nick Green and outfielder Joey Gathright both elected free agency after the Sox attempted to outright them to the minors last Thursday. As players with three or more years of major-league service time, the two players had the right to refuse the assignment to the minors and instead become free agents, eligible to sign with any club.

Green, who is scheduled to undergo surgery on his back today to relieve the disc and nerve issue that prevented him from playing down the stretch, hit .236 with a .303 OBP and .366 slugging mark in 103 games for the Sox this year.

The Sox acquired Gathright in a trade with the Orioles late in the year. The speedy outfielder hit .313 with a .353 OBP and .313 slugging mark in 17 plate appearances, and was on Boston’s postseason roster for the series against the Angels.

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Red Sox Decline 2010 Option on Gonzalez

11.08.09 at 5:08 pm ET
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The Red Sox have declined their $6 million option on shortstop Alex Gonzalez for 2010, a major-league source confirmed. As a result, Gonzalez is now eligible for free agency. The news was first reported by boston.com.

Despite the decision to decline the shortstop’s option and instead pay him a $500,000 buy-out, the Red Sox have expressed some interest in bringing back the 32-year-old at a lower guaranteed salary. Gonzalez hit .284 with a .316 OBP and .453 slugging mark, five homers and 15 RBIs in 44 games for the Sox after Boston acquired him in a trade with the Reds in mid-August, his second stint with the Red Sox (after he spent the 2006 season in Boston). On the year, Gonzalez’ combined numbers between the Reds and Red Sox were .238/.275/.355.

Gonzalez is one of 10 players to spend at least 25 games at shortstop for the Red Sox since 2004.

The Sox currently still have Jed Lowrie on their major-league roster, though the Sox have admitted that while they would love to see the 25-year-old assume the role of starting shortstop, his struggle to remain healthy over the last couple of years suggests that the team cannot enter next year banking on his ability to take that role. Nick Green, who is due to undergo back surgery on Monday, was outrighted to the minors on Thursday.

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Green to have surgery

11.06.09 at 3:48 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Jessica Camerato has learned Red Sox infielder Nick Green will undergo back surgery on Monday in Boston. Green suffered a back injury in September and was not active on the 2009 playoff roster. The Red Sox outrighted him to Triple-A Pawtucket yesterday.

Green was sidelined with what was believed to be a slipped disc in his back since mid-Sept., with his last at-bat coming on Sept. 16 when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning of a win over the Angels.

The shortstop, who complained of a ‘dead’ right leg throughout the last few weeks of the season, played in 103 games with the Red Sox in 2009, hitting .236 with six homers.

The 31-year-old has spent parts of five season in the major leagues, having previously played in the Braves, Rays, Yankees and Mariners organizations.

Green to Undergo Back Surgery on Monday

11.06.09 at 3:41 pm ET
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Jessica Camerato of WEEI.com has learned Red Sox infielder Nick Green will undergo back surgery on Monday in Boston. Green suffered a back injury in September and was not active on the 2009 playoff roster. The Red Sox outrighted him to Triple-A Pawtucket yesterday.

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What Did the Sox Give Up for Hermida?

11.06.09 at 2:26 pm ET
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As mentioned in today’s story, the Red Sox are hopeful that outfielder Jeremy Hermida represents a lottery ticket with the chance for a nice return: a player who controls the strike zone and has the potential for power as a corner outfielder. Hermida — who is arbitration eligible for the second time — will likely pull in a bit more than $3 million in salary in 2010, too rich for a Marlins team on which his role would be ill-defined, but an acceptable risk for the Sox for a player with at least the potential to develop into an above-average corner outfielder.

Because the Marlins had to deal Hermida or face the prospect of making him a non-tender free-agent (there was no chance Florida was going to offer the 25-year-old salary arbitration), the acquisition cost was relatively low. The Sox gave up a pair of left-handers without a clear path to their major-league roster in Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez. Here’s a brief primer on how each fit into the Sox system:

HUNTER JONES

Jones was one of the great scouting finds in the Red Sox organization, an undrafted free agent whom scouting director Jason McLeod saw on the Cape and brought into the Sox system for $35,000. He completed a remarkable and unlikely journey (this cannot be understated: he was never supposed to be able to throw over 85 mph after fracturing his ulna and requiring the insertion of a metal rod in his forearm) by reaching the majors this year.

But even though Jones is a strike-thrower with good deception and plane on his fastball, he has yet to develop a consistent breaking pitch that would allow him to be a real contributor in the Red Sox bullpen. He also didn’€™t prove particularly effective against lefties.

And so, with Dustin Richardson (recently named an All-Star in the Arizona Fall League) having passed him on the organization’€™s left-handed depth chart, he became a replaceable part who could be moved. For Jones (who has one option remaining), the opportunity is potentially an excellent one, as he gets to audition for a bullpen role with a Marlins franchise that is close to his hometown.

Jones has one option remaining, but with the Red Sox, there was little chance that he could be more than a last-man-in-the-bullpen type. Particularly given the number of established roles in the bullpen, Jones likely would have spent 2010 back in Pawtucket (for the third year), with the occasional call-up when the Sox needed some innings in their bullpen. With the Marlins, he faces a greater likelihood of big-league innings, in a ballpark and league that can only help his career.

JOSE ALVAREZ

Alvarez’ performance in 2009 — especially in Lowell of the Single A New York Penn League — was outstanding. He actually started the year in High A Salem, working out of the bullpen, as the Sox thought it would be more beneficial for him to have innings at an affiliate club than in extended spring training. He pitched credibly, especially considering that at 20 years old he was very young for the league. He had a 4.74 ERA in 12 relief appearances, where he struck out 11 and walked six in 24.2 innings.

When Lowell’s season began, he went to the Spinners to work as a starter, and his numbers jumped. Alvarez went 8-3 with a 1.52 ERA while pounding the strike zone, allowing just 10 walks against 63 strikeouts in 83 innings. He was an All-Star at the level.

His stuff is considered decent, if unspectacular. His willingness to throw strikes at a young age is impressive. He demonstrated a good feel for his changeup, a fringe-average fastball (high-80s, perhaps ticking 90 or 91) that he throws for strikes, and a breaking ball that remains a work in progress. The fastball/changeup combination suggests a pitcher better suited for the rotation than the bullpen, and he would have competed for a spot in the Greenville rotation in 2010, but with no certainty of cracking into that starting group.

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