Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday

Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday
December 7, 2011, 3:12 am
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DALLAS -- While continuing to explore various avenues to address their closer vacancy, the Red Sox effort to replace Jonathan Papelbon seemed to stall some Tuesday, the second day of baseball's annual winter meetings.

Red Sox executives met with Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane late Tuesday afternoon, but made little progress in trade talks centered around A's closer Andrew Bailey, who is being shopped by the ever-cost-conscious A's.

According to a source, the A's believe that there are other organizations whose prospect inventory is more attractive than the Red Sox.

The Sox, meanwhile, were careful not to send any hint of desperation in the trade talks, giving the impression that they have other options to consider for closer.

"We're very fluid right now," said a Red Sox source. "We don't have anything close (when it comes to making a deal)."

Bailey, who was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2008, is 27, relatively affordable and is under control for the next three seasons, making him extremely attractive to other clubs.

The A's have received interest from a handful of teams on Bailey, including some who have established closers. Those teams could presumably either deal their current closers, or move their current closer into the starting rotation, as the Texas Rangers recently did with Neftali Feliz.

Oakland isn't necessarily seeking major league-ready talent. The A's are hopeful of a resolution to their ballpark mess, eying a move to the San Jose area for 2015. As such, Beane wants to stockpile young players who will either be ready or affordable -- or both -- by the time the A's move.

At least two other clubs are shopping relievers. Seattle is willing to move Brandon League, who made the All-Star team last year, But League is eligible for free agency after 2012, making it highly unlikely that the Sox would surrender a player who they can't control for more than one season.

The Colorado Rockies, meanwhile, continue to listen to offers for Huston Street, who once closed for the A's but has been used in more of a set-up role the last two seasons.

A Rockies official, however, said Tuesday night that the Red Sox weren't players for Street.

A number of free agent closers remain on the market, of course, including Brad Lidge, Francisco Cordero, and Francisco Rodriguez.