The Red Sox are performing a juggling act at the moment — trying to round out their coaching staff, trying to get David Ortiz and Cody Ross signed, and conducting trade talks with a few teams, including the Angels for veteran righthander Dan Haren.
Haren is drawing interest from several teams, according to a major league source.
The Angels are exploring possibilities and could pull the trigger on a deal soon. They dealt Ervin Santana to the Royals on Wednesday.
The big issue with Haren is his back, which was problematic last season but improved late in the year.
The Angels can buy out Haren’s $15.5 million option for $3.5 million. They could also pick up the option and trade him. By 5 p.m. Friday, the Angels, like everyone else in baseball, must make a decision on qualifying offers for their prospective free agents. They could give Haren a qualifying offer of $13.3 million that would ensure that they receive draft pick compensation if they lose him in free agency. But it appears they’re trying to deal him ahead of that.
Despite his back issues, Haren, 32, made 30 starts last season and went 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA. Since 2005, when he became a full-time starter for Oakland, Haren has never made fewer than 30 starts, and he has pitched 200-plus innings seven times.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that the Angels might be trying to engage the Sox in a swap that would send John Lackey to Anaheim for Haren and Vernon Wells, but there has been no confirmation of that.
As for Ortiz, it is unlikely that he will be signed by Friday’s qualifying-offer deadline. As of Thursday, the gap between what he wants and what the Red Sox have offered was still vast.
The Red Sox still appear to be the best bet for the 36-year-old DH, who is seeking a two-year deal somewhere close to the $14.75 million per year he made in 2012. The Red Sox are expected to make Ortiz a qualifying offer ($13.3 million) to get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
There was nothing new on Ross, who is headed into free agency. Ross is said to be looking for a Josh Willingham-type deal — three years, $21 million — but so far the Red Sox have not been able to reach that point.
Ross should do well in the free agent market given his righthanded power, which is a coveted commodity. It doesn’t appear that the Sox would extend a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Ross, who would average less than that.
The Sox continue to interview coaches. Chicago bullpen coach Juan Nieves and Miami pitching coach Randy St. Claire have been interviewed for the pitching coach job. It appears that Baltimore pitching director Rick Peterson will get his shot Saturday.
No news yet on a possible hitting coach. The Sox have bullpen coach Gary Tuck under an option year and he could return. Another coach who has a chance of staying on is first base coach Alex Ochoa.
Toronto’s Bruce Walton (pitching coach) and Pete Walker (bullpen) could be possible choices for the pitching coach job, and Luis Rivera could be added as a first base coach if Ochoa isn’t retained.