ESPN baseball analyst and MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden tweeted this afternoon that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on his SiriusXM radio show that the team is still continuing discussions with free-agent closer Ryan Madson and free-agent starter Joe Saunders.
“We’ve had conversations with the agents for both guys as well as several other free agent options. We’ll continue dialogue,” said Cherington. “We don’t have as much room in our payroll as we’ve had in previous years, but we’re trying to figure out ways to improve our pitching staff. Maybe we have to be a little more creative this winter in doing that than in some other winters, but we’re not ruling out anything. We’ll certainly continue dialogue with a handful of free agents and then obviously also the trade front.”
The 31-year-old Madson is considered the top reliever remaining on the market after racking up 32 saves (in 34 chances) and a 2.37 ERA in his first full season as a closer.
Saunders, a 30-year-old left-hander, went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA for the Diamondbacks last season. It was the first time in his career he has posted a sub-4 ERA. In his last season in the American League, with the Angels in 2009, he posted a 4.62 ERA and a 6-10 record.
The Red Sox have an opening at the back of the bullpen after losing Jonathan Papelbon in free agency and will have at least two rotation spots open to start the season.