December 2009

Follow along in Indy

So the Red Sox have their shortstop, which means Theo Epstein can start pursuing all his other needs as he and 29 other general managers travel to Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings, which start Monday.

Roy Halladay? The more I hear on this, the less I think he will wind up with the Red Sox. The exception will be if the price drops. Much like the Red Sox wouldn’t give up Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury for Johan Santana two years ago, they aren’t going to give up a combination of Buchholz and Casey Kelly this year. It’s not just lip service when Theo Epstein says that every move he makes has both the present and future in mind. He won’t make moves that he feels will significantly impact the future of the organization, especially not for a pitcher who is 32 years old and entering the last year of his contract.

I arrive in Indy tonight. Starting tomorrow, check for regular updates throughout the Meetings, which conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft.

More rumblings from the Stove

While the Red Sox continue to discuss how to best align their middle infield for the 2010 season, one intriguing name that has surfaced is second baseman Placido Polanco.

However, by the end of Wednesday, MLB.com learned that the Phillies had the inside track on Polanco, making him their top target to replace Pedro Feliz at third base. The Astros are another team that has inquired about Polanco’s services.

According to a Major League source, the Red Sox expressed interest in Polanco when the Tigers declined to offer him arbitration by Tuesday’s midnight deadline.

In other words, if the Red Sox do decide to move Dustin Pedroia to shortstop, a move the player said he would welcome, they could sign Polanco to play second base and not have to give up any draft compensation.

However, the Phillies are making Polanco their top priority to take over for Pedro Feliz at third base so it seems more likely he will go there. He is just one of several scenarios for the Red Sox, so the Phillies might be able to close a deal sooner than Boston can commit. The Astros are also said to be interested.

Polanco has won the Gold Glove two of the last three years. Pedroia broke up his string in 2008.

Of course, Polanco is also a solid hitter with a career average of .303. He hit .285 in 2009, including 10 homers and 72 RBIs.

Polanco is 34 years old, the same age as another middle infield Type A free agent the Red Sox are pursuing – Marco Scutaro.

If the Red Sox sign Scutaro, it would require a draft pick because the Blue Jays offered him arbitration.

Harden on the radar

Just because the signings of Brad Penny and John Smoltz didn’t work for
the Red Sox in 2009 doesn’t mean that Theo Epstein won’t attempt to
make some similar low-risk, high-reward transactions for next season.
After all, they are low risk.

Rich Harden is a free agent
pitcher the Red Sox are “seriously” monitoring, according to
Foxsports.com, though the Web site said that no offer has been made yet.

The
one thing Harden proved — unlike Penny and Smoltz — is that he can
pitch in the American League. Harden was not offered arbitration by the
Cubs, which means the Red Sox could get him without providing
compensatory draft picks.

Becuase of his injury history, it is
easy to forget that Harden is just 28 years old. In 26 starts for the
’09 Cubs, Harden was 9-9 with a 4.26 ERA. He pitched better in August
and September than he did the first four months of the season. The
Cubs, out of contention, shut him down for the last two weeks of the
season as a precautionary measure.

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