Sox still in the market for a closer

Sox still in the market for a closer
December 6, 2011, 7:10 pm
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DALLAS -- At the start of this week, no fewer than three teams in the American League East were in the market for closers. As of Tuesday morning, that number has been reduced to two.

The Toronto Blue Jays sent pitching prospect Nestor Molina to the Chicago White Sox and obtained Sergio Santos to close games. Santos, a converted position player, struck out 92 in 62 13 innings last year for the White Sox.

That leaves the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles in the East still in the market for closers.

Around baseball, the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and another team or two are also in the market.

That's fewer than the number of free agent closers available, a list which includes, among others, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and the three Franciscos - Francisco Cordero, Frank Francisco and Francisco Rodriguez.

The Red Sox are of the belief that prices for free agent closers is absurdly high now, spiked by the huge deals signed by Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell.

Their stance is to wait for some of those salary demands to come down before engaging. Now that the Blue Jays -- who had money to spend, but filled their opening cheaply with Santos -- are out, the options for some free agents are narrowing.

Of course, while they wait, the Red Sox are also continuing to explore trade possibilities, led by Colorado's Huston Street and Oakland's Andrew Bailey.

Bailey would presumably come at a high player cost. The former A.L. Rookie of the Year is just 27 and under control for three more seasons, which should enable A's GM Billy Beane to get several top prospects in exchange.

Whether the Sox would package multiple prospects for Bailey or prefer to sign a veteran closer to a short-term deal and use the prospects elsewhere to address other needs will be a decision worth watching in the next few weeks.