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Report: Sox may prefer Holliday to Bay

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  November 30, 2009 12:03 PM

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It's probably wise to file this one under "interesting speculation" for now, but FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi cite a "rival executive" as saying the Red Sox do not intend to re-sign left fielder Jason Bay, preferring to sign former Cardinal Matt Holliday instead.

Bay, who hit 36 homers and drove in 119 runs last season, his first full season in Boston, has turned down a four-year, $60 million offer from the Sox. While Bay and Holliday are remarkably similar players, according to the FoxSports report, the Red Sox would have an additional motive for choosing Holliday:

Under baseball's warped draft-pick compensation system, a high-revenue team that exchanges one Type A free agent for another actually nets an extra pick -- a supplemental choice between the first and second rounds.

. . . If the Sox lose Bay and sign both Holliday and free agent shortstop Marco Scutaro, they not only will receive the same number of selections, they also might end up in better draft positions.

Signing Holliday would cost the Sox their first-round pick. Signing Scutaro, a lower-ranking free agent, would cost them their second-round selection.

But, if the Sox lose Bay after offering him salary arbitration, they will gain two picks -- a likely first-rounder and the sandwich pick.

The report notes that the Sox would end up with something less than a first-rounder for Bay is if the team that signs him ranks in the bottom 15 of the standings last season or the team adds a higher-ranking free agent. Given that few free agents are likely to rank higher than Bay, it's very probable the Sox would end up with a first-rounder for him.

So in essence, the Sox could add Holliday and Scutaro -- a pair of Type A free agents -- and also end up with more desirable draft picks.

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