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Epstein takes on his protégés

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 3, 2010 05:48 PM

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The Padres today hired Josh Byrnes as senior vice president for baseball operations.

It's a Red Sox reunion in San Diego. Padres GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason MacLeod all worked under Theo Epstein at one point.

It will be interesting to see how this affects a possible trade of Adrian Gonzalez. Hoyer, Byrnes and McLeod know the strengths and weaknesses of all the Red Sox prospects and to some degree how Epstein thinks and what he values.

The Sox and the Padres have been talking about Gonzalez for a long time, going back to last winter. The Red Sox have the trade chips to make a deal and the resources to sign Gonzalez to the kind of contract he desires. That has been obvious for a while. Peter Gammons reported today that the pace of those talks have picked up in recent days.

Offering Victor Martinez a contract they knew he would refuse — and the same may ultimately prove true with Adrian Beltre — can be taken as a sign the Sox are saving payroll space for Gonzalez.

The question now becomes whether a trade comes now, during next season or not at all. For Epstein, that equation just became a little more complicated with the Padres adding yet another executive who knows the Red Sox well.

Stay tuned.

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