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Agent: Bay, Red Sox Continue ‘Open Dialogue’

11.13.09 at 2:49 pm ET
By
Red Sox Rays Baseball

Jason Bay's agent and the Red Sox have continued discussions since the end of the season. (AP)

Joe Urbon, the agent for free-agent outfielder Jason Bay, said that he has remained in contact with the Red Sox since the end of the season about his client. While Urbon also has talked with several teams who have expressed interest in the outfielder — who won the Silver Slugger Award as the top hitting left fielder in the American League on Thursday — the Sox currently have an exclusive window to discuss contract terms with Bay that runs through Nov. 19.

Come next Thursday, all 30 clubs are free to discuss years and dollars with Bay. Neither Urbon nor the Sox expect that an agreement will be reached before the close of that exclusive negotiating window. Even so, the agent suggests that the two sides plan to continue their conversations about a potential return if and when Bay starts negotiating with other clubs.

“There’s just as good a chance of Jason staying with his current club as there is with him going to any other club,” said Urbon. “We’ve had communication with Boston. I’ve spoken with [Sox GM Theo Epstein]. It’s been very candid. I think there is a sentiment from the club and from Jason and frankly from myself that we don’t see any reason why he won’t proceed to free agency. With that said, we don’t see any reason why we won’t continue to have open dialogue with the Red Sox, along with other clubs that are interested. We’re all on the same page with regards to that.”

To date, Urbon said, conversations with clubs have focused on the outfielder’s combination of durability and productivity. Urbon declined to detail the clubs with whom he had been in conversation about Bay. Even so, he made clear that interest in Bay has been widespread, representing teams from both the American and National Leagues — a fact that would suggest that the market for the outfielder is not being impacted by concerns about his defense.

“Interest has been very well distributed between the two leagues,” said Urbon. “Not one club mentioned anything about [defense]. I think it becomes a talking point, because it’s worth talking about and dissecting and evaluating, but at the end of the day, his ability to play a consistent left field, clubs are well aware of it. I haven’t heard any issue or concern about whether or not the player can play defense in a bigger park, a smaller park, an East Coast park, a West Coast park. It really wasn’t an issue.”

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