No snags expected on Lowell deal
Here's what you need to know about the preliinary agreement between the Red Sox and Rangers that would send third baseman Mike Lowell to Texas and catcher Max Ramirez to Boston: There is no deal until both teams complete reviews of the medical records of the players involved, Lowell by the Rangers, Ramirez by the Red Sox, and baseball commissioner Bud Selig signs off on it.
So it is premature to characterize it as a done deal, though the expectations on both sides is that it will be completed.
Lowell's injuries have been more problematic, especially the torn labrum in his right hip that required surgery after the 2008 season. But Ramirez has had tendinitis in both wrists, which he believes led directly to the big dropoff in his power, from 19 home runs in 2008, when he was a Texas League All-Star and invited to the Futures Game, to a total of 5 home runs in 80 games split between Triple-A and a rehab stint in the Arizona Rookie League.
Ramirez, who had two separate stints on the DL last summer, is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs in 182 at-bats and is batting .236, according to stats provided by minorleaguebaseball.com.
The commissioner's office had not been asked to approve the deal as of late Thursday night, and may not be involved until the beginning of next week. Selig must approve any transaction involving a transfer of $1 million or more, and in this case, according to multiple sources, the Red Sox are planning to pay $9 million of the $12 million owed Lowell in 2010.
There is also the matter of the financial issues that have hamstrung cash-strapped owner Tom Hicks and has led to MLB essentially overseeing the club's financial transactions. Selig has to sign off on the $3 million cost of this deal to the Rangers; an industry source said that while Selig has reservations, he probably will grant his OK to the deal unless there are other issues that have not surfaced publicly.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels had said Thursday morning that both teams still had the option of walking away from the deal, but other club executives said it was their understanding that the deal would move forward.