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GM meetings about to break up

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  November 6, 2008 11:33 AM

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DANA POINT, Calif. -- General managers just entered their final meeting before scattering back to their respective homes around the country.

Unlike last season, when Brad Lidge was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia, nothing appears to be happening here. The biggest news was Manny Ramirez receiving a lucrative 2- or 3-year offer from the Dodgers.

Theo Epstein will depart in about 90 minutes after the final meeting is over.

The Sox didn't make a deal, and according to Epstein nothing is imminent. But the proverbial foundation for deals and negotiations with free agents was established. He did admit there's one deal "we might be able to do before the winter meetings (Dec. 7)." That could involve Coco Crisp or Julio Lugo.

"We learned a lot about what teams were looking to do," Epstein said. "It'll be valuable information down the road."

Epstein said he engaged in some trade talk last night, but wouldn't specify the teams involved. He classified them as "conversations" and not anything firm.

"We're looking forward to the 14th [of November, when free agency begins] when we can start to get a feel for whether our evaluation of players is satisfactory or not," Epstein said.

Among some of the things the Sox may have established:

  • 1. Epstein and Scott Boras are far apart on Jason Varitek's monetary value. Boras is looking for a Jorge Posada-type deal (4 years, $52 million). The Sox are looking for a shorter terms and fewer dollars.

  • 2. The Sox have a market for Crisp and Lugo.

    Epstein clarified: "We're not calling around trying to trade our players, we're calling around trying to see the availability of other teams' players."

    Nonetheless, Crisp has value. With free agent Rafael Furcal drawing interest from 10 teams, it's telling of how tough it is to find a shortstop. So teams may engage the Red Sox, if they're willing to take on some of the contract or trade to a team that could exchange another bad contract.

  • 3. The Red Sox don't appear to be in on major pitching free agents like CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, but are unsure about Derek Lowe. The Sox will likely add a veteran pitcher, which could from the free-agent pool, the Japanese market, or via trade.

  • 4. The Sox are after catchers. The two young Texas catchers -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden -- are high atop their list. Seattle's Jeff Clement has been mentioned. The Sox are also looking at trade possibilities for veterans like Bengie Molina. In a bind, they could opt for a year or two of Pudge Rodriguez.

  • 5. If the Sox successfully deal Crisp and Lugo, lose Mark Kotsay, they'll have to replenish with a fourth outfielder and backup shortstop. The Sox will likely be looking for a righthanded-hitting outfielder (Gabe Kapler or Rocco Baldelli?) and could add a shortstop to compete with Jed Lowrie (possibly Khalil Greene, if he's not dealt elsewhere by the Padres).

  • 6. Bullpen help. There's always that. The Sox will likely look to add a middle reliever to replace Mike Timlin.

  • 7. John Farrell will likely be interviewed for the Seattle managerial job. The Sox also need a first base coach.

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