The Red Sox have declined a $6 million option on shortstop Alex Gonzalez, according to a source, but the club still may have interest in bringing the player back in 2010 on a lesser salary.
News of the Sox’ decision to forgo the option on Gonzalez comes just two days after the Milwaukee Brewers traded shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Carlos Gomez. A different baseball source indicated that the Sox had been having ongoing discussions with the Brewers about Hardy since just before the July 31 trading deadline, but that Milwaukee’s interest was primarily in either starter Clay Buchholz or reliever Daniel Bard, neither of whom the Sox were willing to sacrifice.
Gonzalez, 32, had a profound impact on the Red Sox’ defense this year (one error in 44 games) while batting a surprising .284 with five home runs.
With Gonzalez now eligible for free agency, the Sox do not appear to have an everyday shortstop on their roster. When the season ended, even general manager Theo Epstein all but acknowledged that Jed Lowrie’s injury history has cast doubt on Lowrie’s ability to handle the position on a daily basis.