ORLANDO-- Most of the GMs looking for a third baseman were waiting to see whether Mike Lowell would accept Boston's three-year offer (money offer is unknown at this time), which has been out there for a couple of days and may be firm. If he takes it, it sets the ball rolling for where Florida's Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, and the White Sox' Joe Crede end up.
There's no doubt that Lowell wants to remain in Boston, but the third baseman might need more of a nudge to sign on the dotted line as free-agency could provide him a four-year-deal at $13 million-$14 million. One National League GM said, "He'd get four years on the open market. No question. He's a great defensive third baseman. Our scouting reports indicate he can still hit and still catch up to a fastball. As long as he can catch up to a fastball, he's going to get the money. Right now there's no sign of decline. Everybody realizes the type of player he is and what he means in the clubhouse. Nobody wants to go four years with a 33-34-year old player. But if you have a need I think most teams would do it."
Cabrera is drawing big time interest because he's almost 10 years younger than Lowell, but you'd have to give up a small fortune of players to obtain him and you'd have to sign to big money that could reach Manny Ramirez levels. Most teams want to hold on to their prospects or use them toward pitching. But there are definite fits for the Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees, though NY GM Brian Cashman won't give up Phillip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, or Ian Kennedy.
A-Rod's market will be slow in developing given the size of the contract. If Lowell's answer to Boston is no, then that opens things up for Rodriguez. Both the Angels and Dodgers are on record as showing interest. The Mets are intrigued. The Sox are sitting it out at the moment. The White Sox could trade Crede, a Scott Boras client, somewhere after the dust settles as well....
Boras said yesterday that Eric Gagne will pursue a role as a closer this off-season, meaning he will not return to the Red Sox.