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Where It Stands with Scutaro 11.28.09 at 5:56 pm ET
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The Red Sox shortstop situation was infused with some potential positive news for the team on Saturday.

Two days after news came out that Alex Gonzalez would be signing with the Blue Jays, Marco Scutaro — thought to be a target of the Red Sox to replace Gonzalez — was quoted by Venezuelan reporter Augusto Cardenas as saying that four teams — the Rangers, Mariners, Dodgers, and Red Sox — have all shown interest in him.

Scutaro went on to say that he preferred the Red Sox and Dodgers at this point because of their potential to reach the postseason, and that he hopes to define his situation sometime after Dec. 1. None of the teams, the 34-year-old was quoted as saying, has made a formal offer. Scutaro explained that the Dodgers are interested in him playing second base — his primary position in the minors, and a spot where he spent about half of his defensive time as recently as 2008 with the Blue Jays — while the Red Sox are looking at him as a shortstop, with the other organizations perhaps identifying him as a third baseman.

Since the report came out, Texas general manager Jon Daniels was quoted by the Dallas News as saying the Rangers have no interest in acquiring Scutaro as a third baseman to replace Michael Young. There would be presumably no other place to fit Scutaro, with Elvis Andrus at shortstop and All-Star Ian Kinsler at second.

“We haven’t inquired about anyone for 3B and have no plans to,” Daniels wrote in an email to the Dallas News. “End of story.”

Scutaro is a ‘Type A’ free agent, meaning that any team that signs him would have to forfeit a draft pick, assuming Toronto offers arbitration to the shortstop by Dec. 1. After the signing of Gonzalez, and given the interest from other teams in the free-agent market, it is not expected that Scutaro will accept the Blue Jays’ offer of arbitraiton.

The Red Sox had told Gonzalez that they were prepared to offer him a one-year, $3 million deal, but that he would have to wait until the Winter Meetings to do so. The Meetings start on Dec. 7, which is also the last day players have to decide whether or not they are going to accept arbitration.

By that date, the Sox will know whether they are likely to net a draft pick from reliever Billy Wagner, another Type A free agent who is all but certain to receive an arbitration offer from the Sox.

(Wagner’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, told WEEI.com Wednesday that he fully expected his client would be offered arbitration by the Red Sox, and isn’t ruling out a return to Boston.

‘€œBilly is absolutely, believe or not, open to going back to Boston,’€ Stringfellow said. It was Wagner, the agent said, that listed the Red Sox as one of the teams he would be open to signing with when Stringfellow met with his client immediately after the regular season ended. ‘€œIf you asked me if he would be open to returning to Boston right after the season ended I would say there was no chance. But he’€™s the one that brought it up to me,’€ he said. ‘€œHe shared some stories that gave him comfort there in Boston that made him feel like he could come back there. It was one of the most positive experiences that he ever had.’€)

The Red Sox presumably set the timetable for the offer to Gonzalez to pursue what they deemed more desirable shortstop options, one of whom figures to be Scutaro. Gonzalez, in turn, decided to take the sure offer of Toronto’s one-year, $2.75 million guarantee for 2010, with a $2.5 million option for 2011.

Many fans have been critical of the Red Sox in the wake of Gonzalez’ departure, feeling the 32-year-old’s defensive abilities made him difficult to replace. But according to baseball executives, coaches and players who have worked with Scutaro, the 34-year-old is at least comparable with Gonzalez defensively, with one general manager giving Scutaro the slight edge.

“His hands are as good as any hands I’ve ever coached in major league baseball, and I’ve been in the big leagues for 14 years and I’ve had the opportunity to be around some great infielders,” said Blue Jays third base and infielders coach Brian Butterfield when appearing on the Mut and Bradford Show, Friday.

“This guy has no panic in his hands and he’s going to catch the ball. He’s very intelligent. He is 34 years old, but he takes great care of himself. He’s got a youthful body and he cares about baseball. A lot of times you look over at the other side of the field and you can see the skill, the arm strength, the running, the quickness, the ability to catch the ball, the ability to get it in the air. But a lot of times as a scout or being on the other side you don’t get a chance to get to know the player. But having had Marco I can assure you he cares about the game, he’s very popular among his teammates, he’s got an infectious personality, his teammates gravitate to him, and he does a lot of things on a baseball that help you win the game.”

Butterfield said that, if given the chance, he would have voted for Scutaro for the American League Gold Glove. Another advocate of Scutaro’s abilities is Blue Jays infielder John McDonald, who came up through the minor leagues with the former second baseman.

“Last year I think he played one of the best shortstops (in baseball) for the first five months, until he hurt his heel,” said McDonald on the Mut and Bradford Show, referencing Scutaro’s battle plantar fasciitis. “He was tremendous playing defense … I thought last year (Scutaro and Gonzalez) were very comparable.”

Read More: Alex Gonzalez, marco scutaro,
Red Sox acquire Hulett from Royals 11.25.09 at 5:25 pm ET
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This just sent in from the Red Sox:

The Red Sox today acquired infielder Tug Hulett from the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Hulett, 26, went 2-for-18 (.111) with one RBI in 15 games for the Royals last season. He appeared in five games at second base (two starts), but also saw time at third base (one game), shortstop (one game), left field (one game) and right field (two games). The left-handed hitter spent the majority of 2009 at Kansas City’s Triple-A Omaha affiliate where he hit .291 (109-for-374) with 11 home runs and 53 RBI in 99 games.

Originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 14th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Hulett owns a .194 (13-for-67) batting average with one homer and three RBI in 45 career Major League contests with the Seattle Mariners (2008) and Royals (2009). He is the son of former Major League infielder Tim Hulett.

Agent: Red Sox still in the mix for Wagner 11.25.09 at 5:14 pm ET
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Bean Stringfellow, the agent for reliever Billy Wagner, told WEEI.com late Wednesday afternoon that eight teams have shown interest his client, and has been told by a few of the interested clubs that Wagner will be presented with offers sometime next week. All of the teams have approached Wagner with the intention of using him as their closer, said Stringfellow.

The agent also reiterated that the one team which Wagner could land with that wouldn’t be using him as a closer is the Red Sox, who Stringfellow said he has “no doubt” will offer the pitcher arbitration.

“Billy is absolutely, believe or not, open to going back to Boston,” Stringfellow said. It was Wagner, the agent said, that listed the Red Sox as one of the teams he would be open to signing with when Stringfellow met with his client immediately after the regular season ended. “If you asked me if he would be open to returning to Boston right after the season ended I would say there was no chance. But he’s the one that brought it up to me,” he said. “He shared some stories that gave him comfort there in Boston that made him feel like could come back there. It was one of the most positive experiences that he ever had.”

If the Red Sox offer Wagner arbitration and he signs with another team, the Sox will receive two draft picks. Dec. 7 is the deadline for players to accept or reject arbitration. Stringfellow feels Wagner will have enough offers in hand prior to that date that an informed decision can be made by the pitcher in regards to a possible return to the Red Sox.

The Boston Herald first reported the reliever’s willingness to potentially accept arbitration from the Red Sox.

Why Roy Halladay is a priority 11.25.09 at 8:52 am ET
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The New York Daily News reported late Tuesday night that the Red Sox were going “hard” after Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Let’s piece together the reasons why Halladay has become a priority — and can be a reality —  for the Red Sox:

1. The Red Sox already went down that road and have a baseline for what they are willing to give, and what it might take to finish the deal. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous said at the General Managers Meetings:  ‘€If it’€™s apples and apples and I get two deals that are exactly the same, certainly I would not prefer to trade within the division. But if I have a stronger deal within the division and it makes this club stronger, that would certainly be the one that I would want to lean to.’€

That said, the Sox value Halladay enough that they might just be willing to give that “stronger deal” Anthopolous talked about. Of course, you have to start with some semblance of major-league value (which would presumably be Clay Buchholz, and/or Daniel Bard), and then dig deep into your farm system (see Casey Kelly). The Sox understand that, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t have gotten their feet in the door the first time around.

2. There is a willingness on the player’s part. Halladay has told the Blue Jays he isn’t inclined to sign an extension with the team, and has the preference of moving on. The Red Sox are on his list of teams to which he would accept a deal. When you have those two pieces in place, momentum can start be gained.

3. Halladay is a not only a short-term solution to competing with the Yankees, but (assuming a contract extension is part of any trade) covers the Red Sox beyond this season as well. The 32-year-old (who turns 33 next May) would presumably be the insurance for the Sox if they choose to part ways with Josh Beckett after next season. Beckett’s contract is up after ’10 and if there is no extension agreed upon before the hurler hits free agency, there is a very real possibility that some team swoops in and presents the kind of commitment the Sox aren’t willing to go to.

Interestingly enough, Halladay is the pitcher Beckett tries to emulate in regards to how he approaches the game, from mound presence to commitment in between starts. This is what Beckett told WEEI.com last July regarding Halladay: ‘€œI like to watch him pitch, although I don’€™t like to watch him pitch against us because he does so well against everybody. I just like the way he approaches his craft. Every one of his pitches are meant for him to swing at, get out and get to the next guy. As far as the mental aspect of the game goes, he’€™s so far ahead of everybody. That’€™s what I like to watch, his competitiveness, how he goes pitch to pitch. He does all the things we’€™re all striving to do. It’€™s just his craft, that’€™s what I like to watch.’€

It is Halladay’s name who Sox strength and conditioning coach Dave Page consistently shouts at Beckett during the Sox’ pitcher’s workouts, insinuating that the Blue Jays’ hurler is outworking everybody else.

Beckett has become the leader of the staff by example, a role nobody knows better than Halladay. He is legendary in baseball circles in terms of the way he, as Beckett explained, “approaches his craft.” It is just another drawing card when it comes to the impetus behind eyeing the Toronto hurler.

4. Because of the circumstances previously mentioned, Halladay is seemingly more attainable than the other pitcher for whom the Sox might unload their farm system, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. The Mariners don’t have the kind of motivation to trade King Felix that the Jays have in regard to Halladay. And while the Toronto pitcher is appreciably older than Hernandez, the kind of production a team like the Red Sox would be looking for throughout any four- or five-year extension doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Even with a lingering groin injury in the second half of ’09, Halladay still finished with 17 wins, a 2.79 ERA and 239 innings.

Since 2006, nobody has thrown more innings than Halladay (930 1/3), but interestingly enough he is ninth overall in terms of pitches thrown during that span (13,331). He is almost always economical with his pitches, not having averaged as many as 15 pitches per inning since 2004. (As a point of reference, Beckett has never been below 15.4 as a full-time major leaguer.)

5. If the Red Sox don’t get Halladay somebody else will, and that somebody might be the Yankees. And as damaging as losing out out on Mark Teixeira to New York was, the American League pendulum swing with any Halladay acquisition might be even greater.

Alex Ochoa’s new role 11.24.09 at 5:08 pm ET
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Some were wondering with the reshuffling of the Red Sox‘ major league coaching staff what was to become of Alex Ochoa, who served as the team’s “quality assurance” coach throughout the 2009 season, a uniformed position for the big league club. (Ochoa even served as the team’s hitting coach when Dave Magadan was suspended for a game in June.)

The answer is that Ochoa is going to serve in a special assignment role for ’10, allowing the former outfielder to be exposed to various parts of the organization before finding his next niche. Part of the plan will be to incorporate Ochoa’s expertise for minor league instruction, along with some scouting, while also being called upon to help mentor Cuban shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias.

Speaking of Iglesias, the 19-year-old finished his first foray into professional baseball by hitting .275 in 18 games with the Arizona Fall League’s Mesa Solar Sox. In 69 at-bats, Iglesias struck out 11 times while drawing four walks. He also hit .346 with runners in scoring position.

To see how the other members of the Red Sox’ organization (Casey Kelly, Luis Exposito, Ryan Kalish, Richie Lentz, Dustin Richardson) did in the AFL, click here.

Tim Bogar braces for the hot seat 11.24.09 at 1:29 pm ET
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Tim Bogar is heading into his new lot in life — as third base coach of the Red Sox — with his eyes open.

For one, he has seen how well life can be when calling the third base coaching box at Fenway Park your home, having witnessed the quality of DeMarlo Hale (now the team’s bench coach) throughout the 2009 season. But Bogar also understands the slings and arrows that can potentially await coaches in his new position, a reality discovered by the likes of some of his predecessors, such as Dale Sveum, Mike Cubbage, Gene Lamont, and Wendell Kim.

“Obviously any type of coaching in Boston there’s a little more of a magnifying glass because there’s a lot of expectations, and you have to be on top of your game. The way I look at it is that it is a great challenge, it makes you concentrate on every pitch, and you can’t get lazy,” Bogar said from his Illinois home. “To be honest I have one of the best third base coaches that have been there to lean on. If I have questions or need some guidance I can just go to DeMarlo and he can lead me in the right direction. He did a great job in the years he was over there, so I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. As for coaching third base in Boston I think it’s one of those things where you do well there and the fans appreciate a good effort, and that’s why they love DeMarlo.”

Even well before Bogar arrived with the Red Sox to be their first base coach prior to the ’09 season, he came to understand what the guy on the other side of the Fenway Park diamond dealt with when it came to waving in runners. That was thanks to his relationship with Cubbage, who was the third base coach for the Sox during the 2002 and ’03 seasons after previously serving as Bogar’s third base coach in eight of the former infielders’ nine major league seasons.

“I thought he did a great job. Obviously I don’t know how he did in Boston, but I really thought he thought the game through,” Bogar said of Cubbage. “I think a good third base coach has to be an extension of the manager and be able to think along with him. I thought Cubby did that really well with all three of the managers that I played for.”

What shouldn’t also be dismissed is that Bogar has put himself in a unique position to succeed in the new position. Not only was there his playing experience, and exposure to Hale and Cubbage, but also coached third in each of his four years a minor league manager, in the Cleveland and Houston organizations.

He will the first to admit that manning the position in the Appalachian League is a dramatic difference from doing so down the line from Fenway’s left field wall, but the opportunities allowed for a baseline for what Bogar could expect.

“Each level you have to advance as a third base coach because of the skill level of the players you’re trying to run on,” Bogar said. “I remember in rookie ball I had a shortstop, Wladimir Sutil, and I used to get him to score from second base on a ground ball from second. The first time he did I was holding him up and he ran right through it. I was yelling, ‘No, no, no’ and then he scored and I was like ‘Yes, yes yes’. That was different.”

Another stop on Bogar’s path that should pay off when it comes to finding his way over at third base was his stop in Tampa Bay, where he was the major league club’s quality control coach. (It is a position similar to what the Red Sox will be asking Rob Leary to man in ’10). The job with the Rays allowed Bogar to observe the game from a unique perspective, one which he says will help shape his approach as a third base coach.

“When you’re watching the game from the press box, like I did that whole year, you get a chance to see the game develop,” the 43-year-old explained. “I paid attention to third base coaches and see if they were going to send them, or if they didn’t, and try and factor in what went into them making their decisions. It gives you a really good idea of what’s going to take place when watching it from that high up.”

Yet, when asked what will be the biggest advantage he might have when preparing for the position, for Bogar it always comes back to Hale’s presence, along with simply working 81 regular season games at Fenway Park over the course of an entire season.

“DeMarlo would talk about that kind of stuff almost every day,” said Bogar in reference to his discussions about the ins and out sof coaching third at Fenway. “First and foremost, DeMarlo is a very open guy. He’s willing to share and tries to teach what he’s trying to do. We learned from each other last year. People forget too that it’s not the easiest place to coach first base either just because of that left field wall. When a guy hits it down there sometimes you can’t see where it’s hitting or how a guy is playing it. I think having a year at first base prepares you for a consistency of playing at place like Fenway, which gives you some unique obstacles.

“When I talked to Tito about it,  he said, ‘Would you feel comfortble over there?’ I told him I definitely did. The way I look at it is the more things I can do the more it keeps me involved and helps me learn more. It’s a great challenge. But to have a guy like DeMarlo behind you that you can come back into the dugout to ask what he thinks, or rehash it with him in the locker room after, is a great thing to have.”

Who was the best Red Sox Third Base Coach this decade?

  • DeMarlo Hale: 2006-Present (80%)
  • Dale Sveum: 2004-2005 (9%)
  • Wendell Kim: 1997-2000 (6%)
  • Mike Cubbage: 2002-2003 (5%)
  • Gene Lamont: 2001 (0%)
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JD Drew explains his surgery 11.23.09 at 6:43 am ET
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J.D. Drew’s initial reaction when asked about having surgery on his left shoulder last Thursday?

“What surgery?”

But then, after a brief explanation that word had come out regarding the procedure, Drew relented. The Red Sox‘ outfielder hadn’t wanted any red flags to be raised regarding the surgery, but now that the news had been made public he had no problem explaining the details of the operation, along with what led to the pain which wouldn’t go away.

“I got that (cortisone) injection right before the playoffs, which helped a little bit but didn’t help a whole lot,” Drew said from his Georgia home. “Then I went into the offseason and the last couple of weeks it’s just been wearing me out. Nagging, achy, and every time I reach across t grab something it was really weak. So I flew into Boston Wednesday to get an MRI to see what was going on.”

What was going on was some bone-on-bone irritation, causing bone spurs that ended up pinching his AC joint (acromioclavicular joint). Since no amount of rest or rehabilitation would heal the ailment, Drew was forced to get the bone trimmed off.

While the immediate results of the surgery has offered a great deal of discomfort (“Coming out of it pain wise was a lot worse. My arm is so sore,” he said), the prognosis is that Drew will be able to begin some light rehab work next week and lose perhaps just one week of his offseason workouts when it’s all said and done. (“The turnaround time on it isn’t hardly anything. Once the swelling and the soreness goes away you’re right back to being pain free. But you can imagine that if you cut something off the bone it will take a little time to heal back up,” he added).

As Drew pointed out, he had already discovered that getting shots was not the answer to this problem. And when executing simple things like reaching across the kitchen table for a salt shaker had increasingly become a chore, he knew a trip to Boston was a necessity.

“I got to the point a couple of times where it was really painful during the season but got the shot and it took the edge off,” Drew explained. “When you’re doing baseball every day I think your body is loosened up and more accepting to those motions you do. But when you come home for the offseason and everything starts healing up that’s when a lot of time you start noticing scar tissue build-up in that area and that’s when I was like, ‘Golly man, this is not not normal’. I didn’t know if it was rotator cuff affecting my AC joint, or a labrum issue. I knew it hurt like heck on top of my AC joint but I wasn’t sure if it was coming from somewhere else. That’s when we went in to get a picture of it and get some scans and all it was was a pretty simple bone spur right on top of my AC joint. I think it’s been building up being a left-handed hitter who doesn’t release my top hand and kind of rolls around, those two bones rub together ever since I’ve been playing the game of baseball. It finally got to a point where a shot wasn’t gong to fix it.”

As for the overall structure of his shoulder, Drew said that the MRI reaffirmed that there were no other problems other than the bone spurs. And, according to the outfielder (who just turned 34 last Friday), that injury was a byproduct of nothing more than continuous wear and tear that stemmed from the manner in which he has swung a bat all these years.

“The shoulder looks great,” he said. “Actually the radiologist was like ‘Man, the shoulder looks great, but did he fall on his shoulder because his AC joint is lit up like a Christmas tree’. That’s just how much inflammation and chronic irritation that was going on.

“I didn’t want to go in with this thing nagging me here and there next year, having to take a day here and there, and getting cortisone shots. Dr. [Thomas] Gill said he was glad we did it because he said I probably wouldn’t have made it through the year fighting that thing. Now we’re good to go.”

Red Sox claim former Mariners pitcher 11.20.09 at 5:37 pm ET
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The Red Sox have claimed right-handed pitcher Robert Manuel off waivers from the Seattle Mariners, putting their 40-man roster at 32 players. The deadline for setting teams’ 40-man rosters is at midnight Friday. The Sox aren’t expected to make any more additions before the deadline.

Manuel, 26, made his Major League debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2009, tossing 4.1 innings of scoreless relief over three games.  He began the season with Cincinnati’€™s Triple-A Louisville affiliate, going 3-4 with 10 saves and a 2.70 ERA (14 ER/46.2 IP) in 36 relief outings over two stints with the Bats.  Manuel was traded to Seattle on July 29 in exchange for outfielder Wladimir Balentien and finished the season with Triple-A Tacoma, going 1-1 with four saves and a 3.32 ERA (7 ER/19.0 IP) in 15 appearances.  His .207 combined opponent batting average between Louisville and Tacoma was eighth-best among all Triple-A relievers.

Originally signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent on June 17, 2005, Manuel has combined for a 24-17 record with 19 saves and a 2.88 ERA (118 ER/368.1 IP) in 169 minor league games (23 starts) over five seasons in the Mets, Reds and Mariners systems.  The right-hander has compiled 339 strikeouts compared to 66 walks.

Chasing Jason Bay 11.20.09 at 5:10 pm ET
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Now that the exclusive negotiating period has come and gone for the Red Sox, the reality of who will be bidding for Jason Bay’s services starts to get clearer.

Before we get to those teams who are, and aren’t, interested in entering the fray, one thing that should be noted as this process unfolds is that Bay isn’t entering into free agency tip-toeing on eggshells. All anybody had to do was read a couple of Bay’s comments since the end of the Sox’ season to understand this.

Here’s what he said immediately after the Red Sox’ final game of the 2009 season: ‘€œI’€™m actually looking forward to it,’€ Bay said of his first foray into free agency. ‘€œI was looking forward to it after winning a World Series, or at least going further than this, but everybody, I don’€™t want to say ‘plays to get to this point,’ but it’€™s something new and something interesting … It’€™s tough to go out on these terms, but I guess the second part of my season is this offseason and I’€™m looking forward to seeing what’€™s out there and seeing how the process goes.’€

And there was this line from the live chat Bay conducted on WEEI.com: “There isn’€™t one important factor. The funny thing is that everybody has an opinion of what I’€™m waiting for or what I’€™m doing and I don’€™t even have an opinion, and that’€™s the truth.”

Bay is looking forward to this process, and, as he suggested, is diving in with an open mind. For the 31-year-old who has waited his whole professional life to have this kind of opportunity, the fun has just begun. So, one day, in, this is what we know in regards to some of the teams that are (and aren’t) interested in the free agent outfielder:

Red Sox: They’ve doubled the financial part of their proposal — going from an initial offer of three years, $30 million to four years, $60 million — but didn’t come close to buying out Bay’s right to experiencing the open market. They like him, perhaps as much as anybody, as their willingness to put Bay at the top of the team’s payroll would suggest. But … all together now … all it takes is one team to jump in with the kind of love that the Sox aren’t willing to show. One thing to keep an eye on is if, or when, the Sox decide to slap a deadline on the decision. They did it with Mike Lowell (who signed his deal exactly two years ago, Friday), and with Jason Varitek last year. The thinking is that the Sox need to know which way Bay is going to go because Plan B or Plan C (whatever they might be) won’t be viable options forever.

Angels: Other than the Yankees, this is the team that could present the most problems when it comes to the Red Sox re-signing Bay. Not only do they have the kind of money that would allow for a legitimate run at a top tier free agent (remember, they were also in the Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia bidding until near the end last year), but now their owner has proclaimed that LA will be a player for Bay’s services. Arte Moreno told the Los Angeles Times Thursday that not only is his team interested in Bay, but that the Angels have no interest in the other free agent big ticket item, Matt Holliday. Would anybody be surprised to see Angels approaching $17 million per year in their offer to Bay this offseason? And is that a number the Red Sox are willing to go to?

Mets: You know they have money, and they also fit the model in terms of the type of team that would value what Bay brings to the table. It has been well-documented that Bay’s detractors point to defensive metrics that don’t paint a pretty picture. (Although Bay’s agent, Joe Urbon, not only pointed out the flip-side to that argument when talking to WEEI.com, but said just a few days ago that no team he had talked to has brought up concerns regarding any of the outfielder’s defensive deficiencies.) So why does that concern the perception we might have in regards to the Mets’ interest in Bay? Check out this quote from New York GM Omar Minaya at the general managers meetings last week: ‘€œDefense is important because it’€™s a pretty big ballpark. But the bottom line is that if you’€™re a corner outfielder you’€™ve got to have slug,’€ Minaya said. ‘€œI would put offense over defense right now in a corner outfielder.’€ Interesting …

Giants: Not interested. At least that’s what their GM, Brian Sabean said this week. Sabean told reporters following the Tim Lincecum Cy Young press conference that his team wasn’t about to get in a race it didn’t have a chance at winning. “”We’ve contacted who we think is going to have mutual interest,” Sabean said. “We’re not going to be involved with people that are going to use us on the way to something else. If there’s legitimate mutual interest, we’ll have meaningful talks. Quite frankly, there are a lot of nice opportunities with that second tier. There are some people who are going to help, maybe in some cases just as well as the higher-priced free agents.”

Cardinals: Also reportedly not (that) interested. St. Louis clearly wants to re-sign Holliday, but it doesn’t look like Bay is their primary back-up plan. “”We’ll see how the market develops,” St. Louis general manager Mozeliak told reporters. “Is (Jason Bay) a possibility? Sure. But right now it’s fair to say he’s not one of our top priorities.”

Mariners: This one could be interesting. There is an obvious link considering the Seattle area is where Bay makes his home in the offseason, and the Mariners‘ outfield’s combined OPS was horrific last year. But the flip-side is that Seattle, more than most any other team, has made outfield defense a priority. The combination of Ichiro Suzuki, Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez paid dividends last season. Perhaps, with Gutierrez and Suzuki still in the mix, the Mariners find some middle ground and see a Bay acquisition as a happy medium.

Blue Jays: Yes, Bay is Canadian. (As he points out, full Canadian, and half American after gaining his U.S. citizenship this year.) But when you’re talking about competing in the free agent market with the big boys, the Blue Jays won’t have a chance. This we know: The outfielder will prioritize the certainty of winning of national pride.

Yankees: Stay tuned …

There will be more teams, rumors and reason, but this is what we have for now. Bay’s second season has officially begun.

Lucchino: ‘We’d love to have [Bay] back’ 11.19.09 at 7:55 pm ET
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Speaking at an event to honor Red Sox principal owner John Henry, who received the Woodrow Wilson Award for corporate sponsorship, team president/CEO Larry Lucchino expressed his organization’s desire to re-sign Jason Bay.

“Very much so,” Lucchino said when asked if the Red Sox wanted the outfielder back. “We’d love to have him back. He’s in many ways the personification of a player we want here.”

The Red Sox’ exclusive period to negotiate with Bay runs out at midnight Thursday.

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