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Red Sox and Tigers ready to rumble?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 27, 2010 01:47 PM

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The Red Sox and Tigers are doing a little dance as teams prepare for free agency.

Detroit has apparently decided to keep Brandon Inge and have him play third base, which takes one team out of the mix for Adrian Beltre. However, the Tigers are said to be very interested in Victor Martinez after light hitting Alex Avila did their catching last season.

Then there's Carl Crawford. The Sox would love to have him and so would the Tigers, who see a Crawford-Austin Jackson combination giving them premier defense in the outfield. The Tigers had Ryan Raburn in left field for most of last season.

Can the Tigers sign V-Mart and Carl Crawford? It's baseball, teams can do whatever they want. Owner Mike Ilitch hasn't been to the playoffs since 2006 and he's 81. The man owns everything in Detroit short of GM.

But the Red Sox would seem to have little choice but to make some big moves. They finished in third place, John Henry went out and bought a soccer team, and they raised prices for 30 percent of the seats at Fenway. "We believe in Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jed Lowrie" probably isn't a good marketing slogan at this point.

Martinez, to me, should be a priority for the Red Sox given the alternatives behind the plate and the fact that he could transition to first base or DH as he gets older. In terms of external free agents, Crawford is clearly the position player who would serve them best.

Free agency starts five days after the World Series under the new rules. The clock is starting to tick.

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