Cameron OK’s 2-year deal

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / December 15, 2009

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Jason Bay rejected a contract offer from the Red Sox over the weekend and said he was prepared to move on. Now he doesn’t have a choice. The Sox moved quickly and agreed with veteran outfielder Mike Cameron last night on a two-year deal worth $15.5 million, according to major league sources. It is contingent on a physical today in Boston.

Cameron, who turns 37 in January, has played primarily center field in his 15-year career, winning three Gold Gloves. But he said early in the free agent process he would be willing to play a corner outfield spot for a contending team.

Cameron hit .250 with 24 home runs and 70 RBIs for the Brewers last season. He is unlikely to replace the offensive production of Bay, who hit .267 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs last season. But Cameron provides an upgrade defensively and comes at a far cheaper price. Bay is said to be seeking a five-year deal worth approximately $75 million.

A short-term deal gives the Red Sox time to develop their outfield prospects while remaining competitive.

Cameron can play all three outfield positions, giving manager Terry Francona the option of resting center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury or right fielder J.D. Drew. The Sox also could rest Cameron and give playing time to Jeremy Hermida, the 25-year-old outfielder acquired from the Marlins last month.

Cameron has played only three games in left field, all as a reserve, with the last coming in 2000. But scouts feel he has the athletic ability to make the switch. He has played with the White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, and Brewers, and is a career .250 hitter with 265 home runs.

Among active players, only Jim Thome (2,313) has struck out more times than Cameron (1,798).

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein did not reply to requests for comment.

The Red Sox are expected to have a scout in Houston today to watch Cuban Aroldis Chapman throw a bullpen session.

The 21-year-old lefthander, who defected over the summer, is drawing interest from a range of teams, including the Yankees, Angels, Tigers, Orioles, and Twins.

Peter Abraham can be reached at

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