Extra Bases

Time to start grabbing chairs

Theo Epstein described free agency as a high-stakes game of musical chairs a few weeks ago. Suddenly the music stops and everybody is scrambling.

The Red Sox signed Mike Cameron. The Mariners traded for Milton Bradley. The Yankees made a deal with Nick Johnson to be their DH. Chairs are being filled.

According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox offered Matt Holliday five years and $82.5 million. When he passed, they offered the same deal to John Lackey and he accepted. The Yankees did the same with Johnny Damon: they made him an offer and when he passed, they moved on.

The Angels took advantage of this situation last winter when they waited, waited and waited some more before signing Bobby Abreu for $5 million and getting a big season out of him. Could the Red Sox do the same this winter?

By the time the music starts up again, guys like Adrian Beltre, Miguel Tejada, Xavier Nady or Reed Johnson could be had for an acceptable cost.

Yes, Terry Francona likes Casey Kotchman. But he might like Tejada at third base and Kevin Youkilis at first base a whole lot more.

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