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Rocket fuels rumors

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  December 16, 2005 01:10 PM

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Just when the hot stove seems to be cooling a bit, two stories making the rounds on the Internet have re-ignited the flame today.

The first, from MLB.com, quoted Roger Clemens as saying Thursday night that he will consider four teams if he decides to return to the majors next season: the Astros, Rangers, Yankees ... and, yes, the Red Sox.

"It's the same players, it's Houston, Texas, New York and Boston," Clemens said at an awards ceremony in Texas. "I love all those places, they have great players that I respect very much."

Randy Hendricks, who represents Clemens, told the Boston Globe he believes the Red Sox are very serious about his client, "and we would seriously listen to them," Hendricks said Thursday. "What we are telling the interested teams is the same: First, Roger has leaned toward retirement; if he had to decide today, he would retire. Having said that, he has agreed to take more time to decide, especially since he very much wants to play for the US in the World Baseball Classic. The concerns Roger has are these: Will his body make it through an entire season; he doesn't want his career to end on a bad note . . . if he did play, how would that fit into his family situation, meaning his desire to spend a lot of time with his boys as they compete in sports, etc. So we have kicked around the idea of a partial season as a compromise."

So while Roger's announcement Thursday night might not be mind-blowing in and of itself, it's an indication that he hasn't ruled out a return to baseball -- and the Red Sox -- in 2006. The folks on Yawkey Way have certainly left the light on for the Rocket, so the ball's in his court.

Just don't expect him to make a move up the floor until mid-January.

In another Sox-related development, the Lawrence Eagle Tribune's Rob Bradford reported Friday that, according to two unidentified major league front-office sources, the Red Sox on Thursday night appeared "primed" to deal newly acquired prospect Andy Marte and reliever Guillermo Mota to the Indians in exchange for outfielder Coco Crisp.

However, Bradford went on to write that the potential deal is reportedly contingent on whether the Indians sign Nomar Garciaparra, who is thought to be pondering offers from four teams: the Indians, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros.

The Boston Globe also reported today that the Red Sox talked to the Indians about the 26-year-old Crisp (he hit .300 with 16 homers, 69 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases in 2005), and that the Indians asked for Bronson Arroyo in return.

The question that begs to be asked here is why the Red Sox would make this move with Johnny Damon still thought to be considering a return to center field for the Red Sox?

With both Clemens and Crisp, there are still many more questions than answers. But isn't that what we love about the hot stove season?

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