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Wait 'til next year

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  December 30, 2006 11:14 AM

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While there were a couple of preliminary chats between Theo Epstein and Scott Boras regarding the J.D. Drew snag over the past couple of days, it appears the sides will try to hammer it out after New Year's.

The deal, according to one source familiar with the negotiations, comes down to reaching a compromise over the opinions the doctors involved have concerning the condition of Drew's right shoulder.

Drew sought and received a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. while Red Sox team physician Dr. Thomas Gill did his own battery of tests when Drew came for a physical in mid-December.

The Boras side has indicated there's nothing wrong with Drew's shoulder, while the Red Sox saw something specific in the shoulder that caused them to pause.

It is that "something" that is currently hanging up the deal. That "something" could be handled with specific language that protects the Red Sox in case Drew misses any appreciable time due to an injury to that specific area of the shoulder or concern.

That would likely involve the reduction of guaranteed money.

The sides agreed to a 5-year, $70 million deal at the baseball winter meetings in early December.

Both sides continue to insist the problem is not a deal-breaker.

Boras has been very busy trying to land jobs for his remaining clients. He negotiated a 7-year, $126 million deal for Barry Zito with the San Francisco Giants, which could now free him up to devote serious time to getting the Drew deal done.

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