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UPDATED: Sox, Mariners Close to Deal on Kotchman

01.05.10 at 4:13 pm ET
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The Red Sox and Mariners are close to an agreement that would send first baseman Casey Kotchman to the Mariners in exchange for a minor-league player to be named later, a major-league role player and cash, according to a major-league source. The deal is not yet finalized. News of the general agreement was first reported by ESPN.com.

Kotchman, who is eligible for salary arbitration after having earned $2.885 million in 2009, became expendable with the Sox’ acquisition of free-agent Adrian Beltre. Though the Sox had spent part of the offseason suggesting that the 26-year-old could be their starting first baseman, Beltre’s signing will allow the Sox to keep Kevin Youkilis at first base.

The cash component of the deal has significant implications for the Red Sox, since any cash transferred to them from another club is deducted from a team’s payroll as calculated for CBT purposes. Thus, in moving Kotchman and his 2010 contract (which will be of more than $3 million) and receiving the cash back, the Sox will save more than $5 million off their CBT payroll.

That, in turn, proved crucial for the Sox in providing the Sox with the payroll flexibility to reach an agreement with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Kotchman, acquired by the Sox last year at the trade deadline in exchange for Adam LaRoche, hit .218 with a .284 OBP, .287 slugging and .572 OPS in 39 games with the Sox. He is a career .269/.337/.406/.742 hitter.

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