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Red Sox pushing to sign Martin

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 9, 2010 05:02 PM

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The Red Sox are in close contact with Russell Martin, a catcher who was non-tendered by the Dodgers last week. An All-Star in 2007 and ‘08, Martin has not played well in several years and started only 89 games last season because of a hip injury.

The Yankees and Blue Jays also have interest in Martin. ESPN reported the Red Sox had made Martin an offer and could be the front-runners.

Martin is not an especially good defensive catcher but would likely be considered an upgrade on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has minor-league options.

In other news:

• It has been widely reported that the Red Sox have a tentative understanding in place with Adrian Gonzalez on a seven-year, $154 million extension. Both Theo Epstein and agent John Boggs indicated talks to keep Gonzalez in Boston were advanced. But Gonzalez told a Mexican blog that is not necessarily the case. “Nothing about that is true," Gonzalez told Fernando Ballesteros. “It's false. I haven't signed any contract. … What I can tell you is that over the course of the season we're going to negotiate to reach an agreement."

• Signing Carl Crawford cost the Red Sox their first-round draft pick. Signing a second Type A free agent would result in losing their second-round choice. That might make it easier to sign lefthander Scott Downs, the best set-up man on the market.

“You can make the argument that the second rounder is not as valuable as the first rounder,” Epstein said. “It allows the club to be more aggressive.

There is a lot of buzz within the industry that the Sox will sign Downs.

That's it for me, it's time to catch a flight home. Thanks for reading this week.

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