LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Trade talk dominated the first day of the Winter Meetings according to executives from several teams, a byproduct of so many high-profile free agents making decisions last week.
For the Red Sox, though, inquiries on their starting pitchers have yet to pick up.
“There’s been a handful of teams that have been calling since the beginning of the offseason and that hasn’t really changed since some of the free agents have gone off the board,” general manager Ben Cherington said on Monday.
The Sox have six starters on their roster, seven if you count Brandon Workman. Trading one of the veterans could bring a good return and free up some payroll space.
But it’s also appealing to go into spring training with the depth to protect against injuries. Trades can always be made in March.
A few other Sox notes:
• Dustin Pedroia, who had surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb in November, recently had a pin taken out. “He feels good,” Farrell said. “We'll see how things advance but everything points to him being ready not only for spring training, but getting ample at-bats.”
• Clay Buchholz, who ended the season with right shoulder fatigue after making only 16 regular-season starts, has recovered. “No residual feeling of any kind of physical discomfort. He's initiated his normal offseason strengthening program,” Farrell said. “So all of that has calmed down from last year.”
• Felix Doubront was instructed by the team to make his annual trip home to Venezuela earlier in the offseason so he could report to the team complex in Fort Myers in mid-January and work on his conditioning. The Sox were angry when the lefthander reported out of shape last season. Righthander Rubby De La Rosa is on the same program.
• If the Red Sox were to retain free agent shortstop Stephen Drew they would be fine with Xander Bogaerts playing third base after seeing him in the postseason. “I think we're completely comfortable with him playing either position,” Farrell said.
• Cherington offered no odds on the idea of retaining Drew. “I don’t know right now. You can’t handicap it,” he said. “We’ll see. He’s someone, we obviously like him. He’s a good player and he did a really good job for us. If there’s a way to make it work, we’ll see if we can do that.”
• The Sox are close to hiring a manager for Triple A Pawtucket to replace Gary DiSarcina, who joined the Angels coaching staff. Cherington said the leading candidate was from within the organization. Double A manager Kevin Boles could be the choice. Many of Pawtucket's players in the coming season will be prospects Boles has worked with.
• The Red Sox are seeking an infielder who can play shortstop and third base. Brock Holt, who played 26 games last season, remains an option. Cherington said the Sox remain in touch with 39-year-old John McDonald, a late-season addition. McDonald also could be a candidate for a coaching position in the organization.
• Ryan Lavarnway is stuck in the middle between two veteran catchers and three prospects. But stuck is where he may stay.
“He’s a good hitter," said Cherington. "Obviously we made a decision not to just pencil him in the lineup next year. But we still like him. I think that overall at that position, we’ve obviously got two veterans with one year left on their contracts and a bunch of young guys behind them. ... But there’s plenty of opportunity for competition down the road, not too far down the road. Nothing has really changed. I’m sure he’d prefer an open door to a major league job and he may not have that quite yet."
Cherington said no consideration has been given to Lavarnway changing positions. He lacks the speed to play anywhere other than first.
"At some point it’s something to think about. We’re not quite at that point. If we get to a point where we think his bat might help us at at another spot, it’s something to consider," Cherington said.