Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday

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Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday

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.

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.

 

Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

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Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on whether or not he thinks the Red Sox will place Clay Buchholz on the disabled list soon, and if not whether he will lose his spot in the rotation.