On the backup catcher front, the Sox continue to talk to Doug Mirabelli's agents, the Levinson brothers, about Mirabelli returning next season, with another viable option being Sandy Alomar Jr. Alomar is 40 and can't throw anyone out anymore (22 of 25 base-stealers stole successfully against him last season), but he brings some positives as well.
He's probably cheaper than Mirabelli (he made $650,000 last season to Mirabelli's $1.5m), he's caught the knuckleball before (Tom Candiotti), he was an unofficial mentor to Manny Ramirez when they played together in Cleveland, he's still capable of popping the occasional timely hit (only 3 home runs since the end of 2003), and he's universally respected in the game.
Things appear quiet on the closer front. As we wrote about last week, the Sox bowed out of the Eric Gagne hunt, for good reason, if reports are true that the oft-injured Dodger closer is getting $8 million guaranteed from the Texas Rangers.
Possible trade targets include Chad Cordero of the Nats, Akinori Otsuka of the Rangers, and Mike Gonzalez of the Pirates.
Theo Epstein also confirmed the Sox interest in Masumi Kuwata, a 38-year-old veteran of 21 seasons with the Yomuiri Giants, the Yankees of Japan baseball. Kuwata is a former ace with the Giants who is clearly at the end of his career, having ERAs of over 6 in three straight seasons with the Giants before having an ankle injury and getting relegated to the minors for most of last season. Epstein said that if the sides reach an agreement, Kuwata would be given a minor league deal and an invitation to spring training.