McAdam: The Red Sox' Winter Meetings wish list


McAdam: The Red Sox' Winter Meetings wish list

By Sean McAdam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Now that the Red Sox have finally taken care of getting the trade done for Adrian Gonzalez and can put off contract discussions without an eye on the clock, they're likely to focus on smaller issues here at the Winter Meetings.

Among them:

Finding an outfielder, preferrably one who hits right-handed
You can effectively cross the Red Sox off the list of suitors for Carl Crawford. All along, the Sox had a feeling Crawford's market price would be beyond their interest, and the incredible seven-year, 126 million deal signed by Jayson Werth Sunday only rammed that point home.

To wit: If Werth is getting that much, Crawford will surely be asking for at least eight years and perhaps as much as 20 million per season. Given that the Sox are still trying to work out a nine-figure deal with Gonzalez, they aren't about to commit to another one for Crawford.

Any chance of landing Justin Upton is probably gone, too. For one thing, the Sox' inventory of prospects was thinned out for Gonzalez, although Arizona was more interested in young major-leaguers with service time.

In any event, Arizona GM Kevin Towers told reporters Monday afternoon that a deal involving Upton was "highly unlikely."

So where does that leave the Sox in pursuit of an outfielder?

They've always liked Washington's Josh Willingham, dating back to his time with Florida. The Nationals have indicated that they would move Willingham, but their asking price is said to be Felix Doubront, which the Sox find prohibitive.

They would love to re-acquire Matt Murton, who was Theo Epstein's first-round pick in his first year as Red Sox GM before being sent off the following summer as part of the blockbuster, four-team deal which send Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs.

But Murton, who just set a record in Japan for most hits in a season, is under contract with the Hanshin Tigers for 2011 and it would seem difficult, if not impossible, to get Murton out from his deal.

Adding bullpen depth
Thanks to the three-year, 16.5 million deal given to Joaquin Benoit by the Detroit Tigers, a number of veteran set-up relievers on the free-agent market are seeking three-year deals.

The Red Sox don't want to commit that long to set-up types and are also said to be averse to giving up compenation draft picks -- especially a first-rounder for Type A free agents who were offered salary arbitration by their previous teams.

That would seem to take them out on Scott Downs.

More likely targets for the Sox: Brian Fuentes, who was not offered arbitration by the Minnesota Twins. The Sox had discussions with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last July before deeming the asking price too high. Fuentes later went to Minnesota.

Former Red Sox reliever David Aardsma, eligible for arbitration, is said to be available from the Seattle Mariners as his arbitration-determined salary climbs. But the Mariners are looking for young starting pitching in returns and would again balk at giving up Doubront.

Other options include non-tendered relievers from last week, the most intriguing of which is former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment


David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels


Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.