Red Sox willing to give up picks for the right reliever

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Red Sox willing to give up picks for the right reliever

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even after obtaining two All-Stars in the prime of their careers, the Red Sox aren't done yet with their off-season.

They still would like to add at least two relievers to a bullpen which needs work, and are still in the bidding -- along with the New York Yankees -- for catcher Russell Martin.

The Red Sox have made Martin an official offer and they are reportedly the front runners for acquiring his services, according to ESPN.

Even with a Martin deal potentially imminent, Theo Epstein insists that improving the Red Sox pitching staff is his first concern.

"The bullpen remains a priority,'' Epstein said. "That market seemed like it was on the verge of really moving for the past two or three days. I think we thought it would break at the meetings but it hasn't quite yet, so we're still involved on a number of relievers -- through free agency and a couple through trade -- and it remains a priority.''

The Sox have been involved with Scott Downs, Kerry Wood, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier and others, including lefty reliever Rich Hill, according to a report by the Providence Journal.

Signing Downs would cost the Red Sox a first-round pick as compensation as he is a Type A free agent. Carl Crawford will cost them their own pick, but they picked up another in losing Victor Martinez.

There are some circumstances under which the Sox would have to give up a second-round pick, too. Either way, Epstein said, the club wouldn't be deterred.

"If a club were to lose its first rounder,'' said Epstein, "then going forward, you might say they don't want to sign another compensation free agent because they would also its second-rounder. But you can make the argument that the second-rounder isn't as valuable as a first-rounder, so it allows a club to be more aggressive. It doesn't rule anything like that out or in.''

The arrival of Crawford, meanwhile, may allow the Sox to trade from surpluses on the roster.

"I think we could be,'' said Epstein. "If this time next week, we have more talent on the roster, more depth, maybe a little bit of redundancy, more certainty about what our club's going to look like. Those things can be important ingredients in allowing you to explore trades.

"But I don't feel we're necessarily where we have to make a trade (for payroll reasons).''

An obvious trade candidate is Mike Cameron, who is now an expensive fourth outfielder at 7.5 million for 2011.

Without referring to Cameron in particular, Epstein said: "It doesn't have to (lead to a trade). If things come together, it could create opportunities, but not requirements to move anyone from our position player group.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.