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Peter Gammons on D&C: Potential trade partners show most interest in Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller

07.21.14 at 11:15 am ET
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Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Red Sox‘ outlook and the potential scenario of Jon Lester leaving Boston in free agency. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox have made it interesting of late, winning seven of their last eight games and possibly putting a temporary halt to talk of them adopting the role of “seller” in 2014.

When asked how many games the Sox would need to win over a 10-game span in order to get back in the race, Gammons said the division’s mediocrity limits the sense of urgency.

“I would say six or seven, just because the Orioles are on the West Coast and I don’t think they’re pulling away from anyone right now with their pitching problems. That temptation of always being within distance of first place, and it’s fortunate that they’re in the worst division in baseball, because if they were in the American League West, they would already be selling. But they’re not, they’re in the American League East, where Baltimore can go lose 15 out of 25 at any time and Toronto’s pitching isn’t that good.

“They actually can keep thinking, ‘We have a chance.’ I know this: Tampa Bay really thinks it has a chance. Now their pitching has come back together again, I talked to people in Seattle who thought they were very close to a deal for Ben Zobrist and they said the Rays pulled back the last couple of days because they want to take it right down to the last 48 hours before the deadline.”

Gammons said that the Red Sox have not entertained offers for Koji Uehara, but he noted that another member of the Red Sox bullpen has been getting a lot of attention from teams across the league.

“I talked to a general manager in the market for a closer yesterday who said when he talked to Ben [Cherington] that he seemed disinclined to even discuss it. That they think they’re going to bring [Uehara] back next year and build around him and let him go pitch the ninth inning again. … I was told that, by far, the player the they’ve had the most calls on is Andrew Miller. I find it really hard to not give him the [$6 million-$7 million] that it’s going to take [to re-sign him] because that’s what the premier seventh-, eighth-, ninth-inning guys get, and I think he’s really close to the point where he can close.”

Gammons said that the Red Sox could have avoided the entire drama surrounding contract negotiations with Lester if they offered him a much more reasonable offer than the initial four-year, $70 million proposal this spring.

‘I was told that [Lester] told teammates that when they met in March, if they offered him one dollar more than the six-year, $105 million that Homer Bailey got, he would take it,” Gammons said. “But they didn’t. The Red Sox maintain that what they started at — the four-year, $70 million [offer] — was a starting point. They’re not going to start at $110 million and then move upwards to Max Scherzer.”

Gammons said that if Lester makes it to free agency, expect for other teams to put down astronomically high offers on the table in an attempt to woo the lefty from Boston.

“I think at least go to $144 million, to the Max Scherzer offer,” Gammons said. “I’ve had two general managers yesterday say to me, ‘That’s going to probably happen.’ There’s a lot of money out there.”

While Gammons said that the Red Sox have possible replacements in case of Lester’s departure in the form of soon-to-be free agent James Shields and Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels as a trade candidate, he added that it’s unclear what Boston’s options are at this point due to the murky MLB trade market.

“I think they would go hard after Shields,” Gammons said. “I don’t think that they are saying right now, ‘This is what we’ll do,’ because the market is so uncertain. You don’t really know what the West Coast teams are going to do. … What is Texas going to do? What is San Francisco going to do? They’re teams with huge money that may go hard after another starting pitcher like Shields or Hamels or whatever.

“I don’t think you can just say, ‘Well, if we lose Lester, we’re going to go get Hamels.’ I think you have to say, ‘Well, here are four or five guys that we go after.’ I think what would really hurt them is if the Yankees decided, ‘OK, we’ll go all in on Lester. He’d be great in our ballpark because it’s a left-handed hitter’s ballpark.’ He would be the perfect solution for them.’

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: andrew miller, Jon Lester, Koji Uehara, Red Sox
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