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Bay’s agent is making return calls

By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / December 24, 2009

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Free agent Jason Bay’s options haven’t been very good this offseason, so his agent, Joe Urbon, who turned down the Red Sox’ four-year, $60 million offer earlier this month, has been going back to the Sox in an effort to keep his client in a ballpark where he was not only happy but where he put up big numbers.

Bay has a four-year, $65 million offer from the Mets, but they play in Citi Field, which is not conducive to offense.

Could Bay return to the Red Sox? It’s not inconceivable, according to a major league source, who said it would take two things to happen. 1. Bay would likely have to accept a backloaded contract, which would help the Sox remain under the $170 million payroll threshold for avoiding the luxury tax; and 2. the Sox would have to extend their budget, after they gave a two-year, $15.5 million deal to Mike Cameron.

Then, where would they play Cameron? He could be used against lefthanded pitching to spell Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew, or the Sox could use Ellsbury in an Adrian Gonzalez deal. But with Mike Lowell back in the fold after he failed his physical with the Rangers, the Sox have less wiggle room in their payroll and on their roster.

Lackey protection
The Sox built a “conditional club option’’ at the minimum salary for the 2015 season into John Lackey’s contract to protect them in case Lackey gets hurt, according to salary information obtained by the Globe.

Lackey’s five-year, $82,791,426 deal includes an $18 million salary in 2010, followed by yearly salaries of $15.25 million from 2011-14. The conditional option in 2015 would have Lackey play for the major league minimum (currently $400,000) if an old elbow injury forced him to miss significant time because of surgery at any time during the deal.

Lackey also received a signing bonus of $3.5 million. For incentives, Lackey receives $50,000 for being named an All Star; $75,000 for MVP of the League Championship Series; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for winning a Gold Glove; and $500,000 for American League MVP ($100,000 for finishing second through fifth in the voting). If he’s traded, he receives $500,000.

He’s the one
Kevin Youkilis has been selected as the winner of the Thomas A. Yawkey Memorial Award as Red Sox most valuable player in voting done by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Youkilis hit .305 with 27 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 99 runs scored this past season.

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