Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Red Sox are reportedly looking at shipping out left fielder Carl Crawford, despite the difficulty of moving his hefty contract, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.
According to Rosenthal's report, the Red Sox reached out to the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers. However Rosenthal's story has conflicting sources on whether discussions actually took place.
The Red Sox, sources said, reached out to both the Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, though another source said that no discussions took place with the Dodgers. The Marlins, historically open to any possibility, would at least consider the concept, sources said.
“There’s nothing going on with Carl,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s our left fielder and we’re glad to have him back in our lineup.”
Crawford returned on Monday after missing the first 89 games of the season with wrist, elbow and groin injures. He's in the second year of his $142 million contract, which would make any move difficult.
The Milwaukee Brewers bolstered their pitching rotation today -- according SI.com and several other media outlets -- acquiring Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, pitching prospect Jake Odirizzi, and a player to be named later. The Brewers also received veteran shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt in the deal.
Greinke was unhappy in Kansas City, and -- with Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies -- was the best starting pitcher available for acquisition in an otherwise thin market. The Yankees, of course, had targeted Lee and were also interested in Greinke, though it was unlikely all along that Greinke would end up in New York.
Good thing they plan on expanding the bullpen over at Fenway.
According to a tweet by ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, the Red Sox have added relief pitcher Dan Wheeler to the mix:
Source: One more arm for the bullpen. Sox come to terms with ex-Ray Dan Wheeler
WEEI.com's Alex Speier reports the deal is for one year with an option for 2012.
Wheeler went 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA, 46 strikeouts, and 16 walks in 48 1/3 innings pitching out of the bullpen for the Rays. The 33-year-old righthander was drafted out of Pilgrim High School in Warwick, R.I.
Sports Illustrated's John Heyman has tweeted that the Red Sox will acquire free agent relief pitcher Bobby Jenks for $12 million over two years.
The 6-foot-four-inch, 275 pound righthanded closer saved 27 games for the Chicago White Sox in 2010, pitching 52 2/3 innings, going 1-3 with a 4.44 ERA. Jenks saved 41 games in 2006, and saved 40 games in 2007, when he had a 2.77 ERA. He was an All-Star both seasons.
The Globe's Nick Cafardo will have an update in Extra Bases shortly.
According to a report from Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Red Sox have a deal in place to acquire Philadelphia Phillies righthander Joe Blanton. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported earlier today that the Phillies and Sox were "in deep discussions" about trading Blanton to the Red Sox.
Sources have told the Globe this morning that the Red Sox have discussed a deal to acquire Blanton, but nothing is done yet.
ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes tweets that the Sox and Phillies have talked about Blanton, but "no deal, and unlikely to be a deal."
Blanton went 9-6 with a 4.82 ERA, 134 strikeouts, 43 walks for Philadelphia in 2010. The 30-year-old starter began his career with the Athletics in 2004 and won 16 games for Oakland in 2006. He was traded to the Phillies for three minor leaguers in July 2008.
Blanton signed a new deal with the Phillies last January and is set to earn $8.5 million in both 2011 and 2012.
Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, seeing his first major league pitch, hit a grand slam off Blanton at Fenway Park in June.
More details from the Globe on Extra Bases as they become available.
The hot stove was lit last week, and now the fire is warming up even more. Here's a brief collection of odds and ends from around the web, all related to off-season baseball news.
It appears Linda Pizzuti is fast becoming the not-so-secret weapon for Liverpool Football Club, after watching two consecutive Reds wins at Anfield. The wife of Red Sox and LFC owner John Henry has quickly earned the moniker 'Lucky Linda'.
The 31-year-old Pizzuti endeared herself to LFC fans last week when she asked them on Twitter what songs she should learn to chant during the matches.
The First Post reported last week, the LFC fans will want to see more of Pizzuti at the Kop:
As one correspondent in the press box at Anfield commented last night, "She'd better be prepared to fly over for every match. The Kop needed a new lucky mascot after Liverpool's dreadful start to the season. They're not going to let her go now."
After Liverpool's impressive 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday, Pizzuti tweeted:
"We had some Red Sox folks there for their first match & they were also blown away by the passion, humor, and power of LFC supporters... Didn't believe it was possible, but Anfield was even more electric and exciting than what I got to experience on Thursday...
No word yet on whether Pizzuti will be on hand tomorrow when Liverpool takes on Wigan Athletic at DW Stadium tomorrow.
Free agency formally began yesterday, and the Red Sox apparently have not waited long to contact a player long believed to be someone they would covet.
Citing a baseball source, ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox have been in touch with Jayson Werth's agent, Scott Boras, to express interest in the five-tool outfielder who has spent the past four seasons with the Phillies.
Werth, a 32-year-old seeking his first big payday after injuries plagued the early years of his career, is hitting free agency at the right time. He is coming off arguably his best season, during which he batted .296 with a .921 OPS, hit 27 homers, and led the National League with 46 doubles.
The only other free agent outfielder who will draw similar interest is Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford, and Werth is the only true high-end power-hitting outfielder available.
Crawford, like Werth, will appeal to the Red Sox and a number of other suitors, though there are no reports of specific teams contacting him yet.
The Boras factor is of interest to the Red Sox. He's notorious for prolonging free agency for his clients, and he represents not only Werth, but third baseman Adrian Beltre. Crawford is represented by Brian Peters.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Yankees reportedly wasted no time checking in with the agent of ace lefthander Cliff Lee, who beat New York twice in the ALCS while leading the Texas Rangers to the World Series.
According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees were one of several teams Sunday to express interest in Lee, one of baseball's premier pitchers the past three seasons.
The Daily News reported that the Rangers, Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers, and Angels also contracted his agent, Darek Braunecker. It was uncertain whether any team made a formal offer, but that seems to be a mere formality as far as the Yankees are concerned:
The Yankees are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Lee, who is far and away the best player available on the free-agent market this winter. Lee, 32, is believed to be seeking a six-year deal worth at least $23 million annually.
The Yankees nearly acquired Lee at the July 31 trade deadline from the Seattle Mariners for premier prospect Jesus Montero, but the Rangers trumped the offer with a package including first baseman Justin Smoak.
Now that the Giants have been crowned World Series champions for the 2010 season, it's time to turn our focus to 2011 and the Red Sox roster.
There's lots of work to be done to rebuild the third-place Red Sox. The Sox have only five days of exclusive negotiating rights with Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek, who were among the first players to file for free agency. And the Sox must make a decision on David Ortiz this week.
To get the stove cranking, here's a look at the latest rumors and available players that may impact the Red Sox this offseason:
Will David Ortiz get a multi-year deal from Boston this week? Ortiz told WEEI.com recently that he's not comfortable coming back for the final year of his current contract, and the Red Sox must decide whether to pick up Ortiz's $12.5 million option by Thursday or consider offering the 34-year-old designated hitter a new multi-year contract.
"I'm not comfortable coming back just for one year because it's going to be the same roller-coaster that I had this year," he said. "All the question marks. People still don't realize what you're capable of doing even after eight years. I'm the kind of guy who likes to be left alone, play my game and be the best at my position."
In today's Globe 10.0, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy debate what the Red Sox should do with David Ortiz.
Is Carl Crawford the answer to fire up the Red Sox fan base? According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox are going to go hard after the fleet-footed outfielder:
“There is no doubt in my mind that they are going to go really hard after Carl Crawford. That will be a matchup with the Angels, and you know there are some puffs of smoke coming out of New York that suggest the Yankees might go after him, even though their primary need is pitching.”
ESPN's Buster Olney has more on the Crawford pursuit:
Carl Crawford is going to get extraordinary offers as a free agent this offseason, but if everything is equal (if the Red Sox or the Yankees make the same level of offer as the Angels) do not underestimate the impact of the competitive callus Crawford has built up against Boston and New York in his career. For years, he has been battling the Red Sox and Yankees, and he will need to be persuaded to join them, according to a friend.
Crawford and Jayson Werth, another veteran outfielder the Sox are reportedly interested in pursuing, are both Type A free agents.
Can the Sox hang on to catcher Victor Martinez? Gammons doesn't think so at this point:
I don’t expect Victor Martinez to come back [to Boston], I think Detroit is going to give him four or five years. And I don’t think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher.
Where will Adrian Beltre land? According to the Globe's Peter Abraham, the Tigers are in the mix for the third baseman:
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.
Is the captain returning to the Red Sox? The Globe's Nick Cafardo writes that Jason Varitek would be a nice veteran backup for the Brewers, who need someone to mentor Jonathan Lucroy, but the veteran catcher is still in Boston's plans.
Cafardo also reports today that the Red Sox have told Bill Hall they will reject the $9.25 million option but want the utility man back. Hall is expected to see what's available for a starting job, but could return to Boston.
With John Farrell heading off to Canada to manage the Blue Jays, the Sox are in the hunt for a new pitching coach, and Curt Young continues to lead the pack of favorites to replace Farrell. Buster Olney wrote last week that, barring a dramatic change, the Red Sox will hire Young, who recently ended a seven-year tenure with the A's and has a relationship Terry Francona, who was a coach in Oakland before becoming manager of the Red Sox [Update: Young named Sox pitching coach].
On the front office side, it looks like J.P. Ricciardi is considering joining the Red Sox braintrust according the New York Post's Joel Sherman:
[Mets GM] Sandy Alderson is expecting to hear no later than today from J.P. Ricciardi if the former Blue Jays GM will accept a key role in baseball operations. Ricciardi also is weighing an offer from the Red Sox. The Boston job holds particular allure to Ricciardi because he still lives in Worcester County, Mass., and has two school-age boys he wants to stay close to. Besides the obvious — the Red Sox in Boston — the organization’s top two minor league affiliates, Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland (Maine), are within a reasonable drive. However, Ricciardi has told friends the allure of working again with Alderson, who he considers a mentor, also is attractive, especially since he might be able to do a significant piece of his work from home.
For a look at more players who may be on the Red Sox radar this offseason, take a look at our free agent photo gallery.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer