DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Red Sox still appear to be the frontrunner for Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old amateur righthander who has been scouted by the Sox for a couple of years. But word today was that both the Braves and Mariners held meetings with him in Japan yesterday. General manager Theo Epstein would not comment on Boston's interest, but it appears the Sox are still the frontrunners to land him. Tazawa throws 95 miles per hour and played for the Nippon Oil team of the Industrial League.
Other tidbits from around the GM meetings:
- Chairman Tom Werner still believes the Red Sox did the right thing with their trading deadline deal of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.
"As great a player as he was it was he made it clear that he was extremely unhappy with the situation," Werner said. "The statistics show we scored more runs per game after Manny was traded."
Epstein asked whether he expected Manny to go to the highest bidder. He said, "you're asking the wrong guy."
- Epstein said he told Mike Timlin at the end of the season that "we came to a mutual understanding that Boston probably wouldn't be the best fit for him. By the way what a career that guy had. I think he was my first free-agent signing."
- Epstein said of Sean Casey, "I spoke to his agent a couple of days ago. That's probably not the first role we're going to fill. We're going to keep our options open and look around and see what happens and Sean is probably going to do the same."
- Asked whether the economic slowdown might slow down free agency in baseball and result in more trades, Epstein quipped, "What did John McCain say, I don't understand the economy?"
- The only American League teams Jake Peavy has added to his list as possible trade destinations are the Angels and the Yankees, according to Padres GM Kevin Towers. Towers will continue to pursue a deal with the Braves, feeling they are his best bet to get what he wants. But the Astros, Cubs, and Dodgers are definitely possible destinations, though Towers, who may be whittling the San Diego payroll to about $40 million, doesn't think he can get a deal done before the end of the meetings.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was grilled on his team's desire to re-sign Ramirez, but said he has not yet made an offer despite reports of a two-year, $30 million deal to come.
"You can't let one player stand in the way of everything else you need to do," Colletti said. "We've all been around these things for many years. These things have their own timing to them. Each player has their own timeline and thought process. So you can't hold up the other needs you have to address while somebody makes a decision unless it's a very unique situation."
- Colletti, when asked whether he could sign both Ramirez and CC Sabathia, whom the Brewers made an offer to, indicated "that would be difficult."
- Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said by making Sabathia an offer "we just wanted to make sure he knew how much we appreciated what he did for us and how much we'd love to have him back." Melvin doesn't know where the offer will lead, but he said it was a one-time offer made by owner Mark Attanasio to retain a top-echelon player and that nobody should think if they don't land Sabathia that the money earmarked for Sabathia would go toward another free agent. "This is a special case," said Melvin. "We won't do this for anyone else."
- The Yankees will decide in the next two days whether they'll pick up the $13 million option on Carl Pavano. The best bet is they won't. Where does that leave Pavano? He should have a few teams willing to take a chance, including Toronto and St. Louis.