Boston Red Sox: Rafael Soriano
A few loose items from Day 2 of the winter meetings in Indianapolis:
- The Red Sox had interest in outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to a league source, but the Tigers wanted Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury.
- Responding to a report on SI.com that MLB may open the 2011 season in Australia and the Red Sox have been mentioned as a possible participant, Sox chief operating office Sam Kennedy wrote in an e-mail: "MLB handles the scheduling of all games played outside of the United States. We have had no conversations at the club level about our involvement with any games in Australia."
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said the Red Sox may have two spots open in the bullpen, but indirectly responding to their reported interest in free agent Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, who accepted arbitration from the Braves but is on the trading block, reminded reporters that the Sox are not inclined to offer multiyear deals to relievers.
- The Red Sox are on the verge of acquiring another right-handed reliever named Ramon Ramirez, who had been with the Reds, was placed on outright waivers and claimed by the Rays, and has until Wednesday to accept or reject a waiver claim from the Red Sox. The Ramon Ramirez who was with the Sox last year is under Boston control for 2010; he'll be tendered a contract by Dec. 12.
- The Sox expressed some interest in free-agent lefty reliever Darren Oliver, but no meetings had been scheduled with his agents as of Tuesday night.
In what has become something of an annual exercise, the Boston Red Sox are shopping third baseman Mike Lowell, according to a number of major league sources. I have not talked to a club that has been told that the Sox would be willing to eat half of Lowell's $12 million salary in 2010, as was initially reported by Foxsports.com, but I was told by one club that the Sox probably would have to swallow at least that much because of the uncertainty over whether Lowell will fully recover from his hip surgery, and because there are a number of free-agent third basemen available, including Adrian Beltre, Joe Crede, Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada, assuming Tejada agrees to an overdue switch to third.
The Red Sox are also checking the medical records of free-agent relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, a major-league source confirmed. Requesting medicals, of course, is a routine step in the free-agent process, but signals Boston's interest in the two relievers, mainstays of the Atlanta Braves' bullpen last season and the best two relievers available as free agents, according to ESPN's Keith Law.
Both have had health issues in the past, Gonzalez undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007 and Soriano a non-Tommy John procedure on his elbow in '08, but both were fine last season, with the left-handed Gonzalez striking out 90 in 74 1/3 innings while Soriano whiffed 102 in 75 2/3 innings. Gonzalez ranked third in the NL in appearances with 80, three more than Soriano. Both are power, fastball-slider pitchers, and both are expected to be pursued as well by the New York Yankees, among others. It probably will take three-year deals to sign either of them.