Sox have more shopping left
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — After the huge splash that was the Adrian Gonzalez trade, do not be surprised if the Red Sox stand pat through the end of the winter meetings tomorrow, while carefully plotting their next move.
What we know is that the Sox have not shut the door on Carl Crawford, the highly sought free agent outfielder; according to a major league source, the Sox recently requested his medical records, a sign there’s genuine interest.
The Sox are also looking over medical records on 36-year-old outfielder Magglio Ordonez and 27-year-old catcher Russell Martin — Ordonez broke his ankle in July and Martin had a hip issue — and may soon request them on Carlos Beltran.
Beltran, 33, the oft-injured Mets outfielder, has one year at $18 million remaining on a seven-year, $119 million deal. The Sox like the right side of Beltran’s switch-hitting bat and feel he could play left field. He has had microfracture and traditional surgery on his knees that limited him to 145 games the last two seasons, but a Mets official said his knees aren’t as bad as some think.
Beltran has a history with Sox executive Allard Baird, who was general manager in Kansas City when Beltran played there (1998-2004). If the Mets can eat a little more than half of his salary and don’t ask for too much in return, it’s a deal that could get done. Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported that Marco Scutaro is someone the Mets might have interest in to play second base.
As for Crawford, Sox GM Theo Epstein would not confirm or deny anything, saying only, “We’re in a new situation after a major acquisition. Anything’s possible.’’
The feeling is, because the Yankees are still in the Crawford market, the Sox probably need to stay active. The Sox love Crawford’s ability, but would they dish out two seven/eight-year commitments?
After Jayson Werth got seven years and $126 million from the Nationals, Crawford will likely get more than he expected. But it also depends on how many teams are involved in the pursuit. It would be a shock if the Angels weren’t involved. If the Yankees don’t get Cliff Lee, Crawford should be a target.
Epstein said he has a few offers out there for relief pitchers, and trade possibilities involving relievers. According to a major league source, the Sox have expressed interest in former Twins righty Matt Guerrier, and according to agent Alan Hendricks, they are one of seven teams interested in former Rays, Astros, and Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls. They are also interested in lefties Brian Fuentes and Ron Mahay and have interest in bringing back Hideki Okajima.
Ordonez wouldn’t be a bad fit in left field for the Sox. They have also studied Matt Diaz, the righthanded-hitting former Brave, who has about 10 teams interested. While Diaz can really hit lefthanded pitching (.318 last year), the Sox may be satisfied keeping Darnell McDonald in that role.
Another fascinating name is Grady Sizemore, a lefthanded hitter coming off two years of injuries. The Indians would love to move him, but it’s unknown whether Sizemore will be able to start the season. Sizemore’s injuries have really set back what was looking to be a stellar career.
As for Martin, the Dodgers non-tendered him after they couldn’t work out a contract. They have been waiting for him to emerge as a top player, but except for one good year in 2007 (.293, 19 homers, 87 RBIs), it hasn’t happened.
At 27, Martin is an intriguing player and one who can play multiple positions. One school of thought was that he would be better off playing third or second base and catch occasionally to help his offense.
The Sox are also said to be one of the teams exploring a deal with Washington outfielder Josh Willingham, another righthanded bat.
The reliever market is logjammed with agents asking for three-year deals after the Joaquin Benoit contract with Detroit (three years, $16.5 million). Guerrier has made 70-plus appearances four straight years, which is good and bad. How many games are left in that arm? Right now, the price is high in terms of years (asking for three).
Epstein would not say whether he has offered a multiyear deal to any reliever, but would “extend for the right player.’’
Also, major league sources indicate that Epstein has received inquiries about Daisuke Matsuzaka but is very reluctant to deal the righthander. Epstein does not want to weaken the depth in his starting pitching unless he gets a big return.
There may be interest in some of Boston’s more redundant players such as Josh Reddick and Lars Anderson, who are now blocked by Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Kalish, and Gonzalez.
Epstein said he doesn’t have to make a deal for an outfielder and is very comfortable with what he has. He’s also not exploring a starting pitcher for the time being but may dabble in it later.
After getting the big piece — Gonzalez — the Sox will approach the rest of the offseason with some caution and do only what makes sense to them.