McAdam at the GM Meetings: Red Sox sources shoot down Justin Upton rumor

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McAdam at the GM Meetings: Red Sox sources shoot down Justin Upton rumor

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Almost before it gained any traction whatsoever, the report of the Red Sox talking to the Arizona Diamondbacs about outfielder Justin Upton was dismissed by Red Sox sources.

FoxSports.com reported that the Sox and Diamondbacks discussed the makings of a deal for Upton.

Remember that new Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is a close friend of Theo Epstein's -- the two worked together for years in San Diego. Also remember that Towers loves to make deals, or at the very least, talk about making deals.

It's likely that Towers, knowing the Sox need outfield help, inquired about the Red Sox' interest in Upton and that the Red Sox responded by asking about the asking price.

"They'd want a ton for him,'' said a N.L. source, noting that Upton is just 23 and as recently as 2009 had an .898 OPS to go with 20 steals and strong defense. The Diamondbacks have Upton signed through 2015 on a six-year deal worth 51.25 million. That's a relatively affordable deal for a player with so much star power and potential.

Expect, however, more talk about the Red Sox inquiring on -- or at least listening to -- trade proposals for young outfielders who might be available. The Sox are said to be uncomfortable with the numbers that are being mentioned in association with the top two free agent outfielder -- Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford - and may think that pursuing an impact outfielder through a deal as a better course of action.

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

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.