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Epstein: Red Sox have made offers to ‘a number’ of relievers

12.07.10 at 6:30 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said that his team has made “a number” of offers to free-agent relievers of both the right- and left-handed variety, and that while he had suggested some discomfort with the price of free agents in years and dollars, “for the right player, I’ve come to grips with it.”

“We’€™ve had offers out on a few guys for a while now,” said Epstein. “Before we got down here, we had a few instances. Those haven’€™t gone anywhere. We’€™ve made a few other offers here as well.”

Epstein said that the team’s only formal offers to free agents have been relievers, meaning that the team has yet to make an official bid on any of the right-handed hitters and/or outfielders on the market. He also suggested that, while he stated a preference for a right-handed hitter, the team would prefer “a good player,” and that it is a preference rather than a mandate to add a right-handed lineup member.

“I think our lineup as currently constituted has pretty good balance. It’€™s not like we have six or seven left-handed hitters in there. That said, there are a few right-handed hitters out there, a few left, some switch-hitters as well,” he said. “The Gonzalez acquisition has been beneficial to this process here at the winter meetings. It’€™s really allowed us to focus. The big ideas, three-team trades to add impact talent that may be unrealistic, we don’€™t have to spend much time with now, except for the ones that have a chance. Now we can focus on areas of need and really make sure we’€™re thorough and that we take advantage of the opportunities that are real and there for us. We’€™re in on some position players thorugh trade and free agency, and on a lot of relievers, mainly through free agency, but also a couple trade opportunities.”

Epstein did not anticipate any deals getting done tonight, suggesting that the team was not yet “into the final negotiating phase” with any players.

Other items from the GM’s session:

–While manager Terry Francona said earlier on Tuesday that Jacoby Ellsbury is still feeling some discomfort in his back, Epstein said that the outfielder’s recovery is proceeding on schedule, and that he will be healthy for spring training.

“He was deemed asymptomatic a couple of weeks ago. I’€™m sure there are still some things he can do to create soreness, like with rotation and whatnot, but that’€™s normal,” said Epstein. “My understanding is that a fracture of the rib like this will still show up as a slight line on a scan for another couple months, but that’€™s a natural part of the process. Then you’€™re healed before the line will completely disappear on the scan. He’€™s been asymptomatic and very enthused about where he is in the offseason while getting ready for a normal season.”

–Epstein also said that Mike Cameron is recovering well. If he is at full health, Epstein said, the 37-year-old will play regularly. Still, he acknowledged that it is uncertain exactly what Cameron will be ready to do when he arrives in spring training.

“Depends on his health, that’€™s the first hurdle. He’€™s doing well right now,” Epstein said of his role. “If he’€™s able to carry a regular load, I think he’€™ll be out there a lot. If he’€™s limited early, we can limit his role early, then it depends on what we do with the rest of the club the rest of the winter. …

“I think he’€™s gonna be ready to play. It’€™s a question of, are their any limitations, is he full go? Does he need more days off than he has in the past? That’€™s a sensitive area and it takes a while to heal, but he’€™s absolutely on the right path.’€

–Epstein said that Felix Doubront would be stretched out on a starter’s program at the beginning of spring training, but that if he makes the big league team, it will most likely be as a member of the bullpen.

–The Sox are currently set up to have a number of compensation draft picks. The team already will get a pair of picks for Victor Martinez, who signed with Detroit, and they could get two more for Adrian Beltre and another for Felipe Lopez. With that wealth of picks (likely to fall in the first 50 picks), Epstein was asked, would it make it easier for the Sox to sacrifice their own first-round selection by signing a Type A free agent.

“I think it’€™s one factor, out of many, in making that ultimate decision. It depends on the player, the need, the contract, how many extra picks you’€™re getting,” said Epstein. “Just because you have those extra picks doesn’€™t mean you give away your first rounder, but you can’€™t sit here and ignore that fact, either.”

He did make clear that the Sox would not face any draft budget constraints that would create a situation with diminishing returns from the passel of early picks.

“Those are some of the best dollars that we spend, in this industry, is getting talented players in the draft,” he said. “So we budget accordingly when we get extra picks.”

Read More: draft picks, felix doubront, Hot Stove, Jacoby Ellsbury
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