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Hot Stove Roundup, 6 p.m.: Braves sign reliever George Sherrill to one-year deal

12.08.10 at 6:13 pm ET
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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that the Braves have reached a one-year agreement with free agent relief pitcher George Sherrill worth $1.2 million, which includes $200,000 in incentives. The deal is pending a physical that will take place within the next 48 hours.

Sherrill is coming off of a down year – one that included a 6.69 ERA in 36.1 innings over 65 games with the Dodgers. The 33-year-old pitcher has spent seven years in the majors, and has a career ERA of 3.76.

Quick Hits:

‘™¦ Sources with knowledge of the deal say that the Mariners have reached an agreement with DH/outfielder Jack Cust on a one-year deal, ESPN.com reports. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the deal was pending a physical and yet to be formally announced. Cust spent the past four seasons with the Athletics, and in 2010, Cust hit .272 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs in 112 games.

‘™¦ Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted on Wednesday that the Rays will “definitely” trade shortstop Jason Bartlett. MLBtraderumors.com reports that the Orioles aren’t involved in any trade talks with the Rays for Bartlett, so that leaves just the Pirates and the Padres that have shown interest. Sherman reported that wherever Bartlett ends up, he wants to sign an extension with his new team.

‘™¦ Since the Orioles are out of the running for Bartlett, the team has shown interest in acquiring Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy, MLBtraderumors reports. The Pirates are also interested and have inquired about the availability of Hardy, Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports. No deals were close to finalizing today, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli tweets.

‘™¦ According to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff, the Mets agreed to a minor league deal with pitcher Boof Bonser, Davidoff tweeted on Wednesday. Bonser, the 29-year-old right hander, pitched 25 innings this past season with the Athletics and the Red Sox. Bonser posted a 6.12 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 rates. Bonser missed the 2009 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Mets will be able to retain Bonser through arbitration after the 2011 season.

Hot Stove Report, 5 p.m.: Dodgers targeting Dioner Navarro if Russell Martin departs

12.08.10 at 5:32 pm ET
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ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that, in the event free-agent catcher Russell Martin ends up elsewhere next season, the Dodgers are targeting Dioner Navarro for a one-year deal. Navarro, who began his major league career with the Dodgers back in 2005, will reportedly split time with newly-signed catcher Rod Barajas if the deal was finalized.

Navarro will be 27 years old just before spring training. The catcher helped the Rays to their first World Series appearance in 2008, and spent the last four and a half seasons in St. Petersburg. Navarro batted .194 with one home run and seven RBIs. The Rays sent him to Triple-A Durham for a portion of the 2010 season.

Martin has been in talks with the Red Sox after the Dodgers non-tendered him last week.

Quick Hits:

‘™¦  MLBtraderumors.com reports that the Diamondbacks have re-signed pitcher Mike Hampton to a minor league deal. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro tweeted that the 38-year old will be back with the ball club, and will be competing for a bullpen job. Hampton is a former Cy Young runner-up who signed with the D-Backs in August after returning from rotator cuff surgery. He made 10 appearances last year with Arizona.

‘™¦ The Red Sox have shown significant interest in signing free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez, and might be focused on the former Tiger as the primary target outfielder, CBS Sports reports. The Tigers have also shown interest in re-signing Ordonez, and the Phillies and Orioles have submitted their names for the outfielder that missed significant time last season with a broken ankle. Ordonez’s health is the main concern looking forward. If the Sox were to sign Ordonez, that would all but effectively end the Sox’ interest in Carl Crawford. The Red Sox are one of the key teams in the Crawford sweepstakes.

‘™¦ Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweeted earlier on Wednesday that the Brewers have reached an agreement with catcher Wil Nieves, who was a member of the Nationals last season. The Nats non-tendered the catcher last week, which made him a free agent. Nieves is 33 years old and has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors, most recently with the Nationals, where he had 172 plate appearances. He also threw out 24 percent of base runners, which matched his career high. MLBtraderumors.com reported that the Brewers were looking for a veteran catcher to pair with Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate.

‘™¦ The Cincinnati Reds tweeted on Wednesday that the club has agreed to a two-year contract with free agent utility man Miguel Cairo through the 2012 season. Cairo spent the 2010 season with the Reds where he appeared in 90 games with a .353 on-base percentage. His primary role was backing up third baseman Scott Rolen, but as a utility man played all four infield positions and saw time in the outfield.

‘™¦ According to ESPN.com, two sources close to free agent Carl Cawford expect that the outfielder will sign with the Angels. Crawford met with the YankeesBrian Cashman on Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney, but high-ranking baseball sources said on Tuesday that they expect to see Crawford in Anaheim next season. The Angels are also targeting free agent Third baseman Adrian Beltre, and agent Scott Boras said that there is mutual interest between Beltre and the Angels, but it is unlikely that the team will sign both him and Crawford. Crawford figures to command a seven-year, nine-figure deal.

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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