Red Sox have company in pursuit of Ordonez

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Red Sox have company in pursuit of Ordonez

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If the Red Sox are as interested as it seems in Magglio Ordonez, they have plenty of competition.

The Sox like Ordonez as a right-handed-hitting bat in their outfield, freeing Mike Cameron to serve as a depth outfielder behind Jacoby Ellsbury in center and J.D. Drew in right, while also supplying some at-bats as a righty alternative to David Ortiz at DH.

But as Ordonez's agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday in the final full day at the winter meetings, there is no shortage of suitors for Ordonez.

"The marketplace for Magglio is pretty aggressive,'' said Boras.

In the end, whether the Red Sox land Ordonez may come down to their willingness to extend him a two-year offer. FoxSports.com reported that Ordonez's asking price is thought to be two years, 20 million.

That figure wouldn't necessarily knock the Red Sox out of the running. Even with the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are currently committed to approximately 135 million. That figure includes an estimated 11 million salary for arbitration-eligible Jonathan Papelbon and several million more for low-service time players such as Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and others.

But would the Sox commit to more than a year, guaranteed, to a 37-year-old outfielder who hasn't played more than 131 games since 2008?

Ordonez, who missed several months at the end of 2010 with a broken ankle, worked out in Florida for teams Wednesday. It was unclear whether the Red Sox had anyone in attendance.

At 36 -- he'll turn 37 before the start of next season -- Ordonez is probably past his prime, but that hasn't lessened the interest in him. Along with the Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, for whom Ordonez played the last six seasons, are very much in the mix.

A source familiar with the negotiations Wednesday added that there is also interest from an A.L. West team -- believed to be Texas -- and at least one other team in the National League other than Philadelphia.

Boras said Ordonez's ankle isn't an issue.

"He's 100 percent -- he's ready to go, Boras said. "Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson Werth is signed. He's a middle-of-the-lineup guy. He has a great batting average, is a productive guy, and he's a veteran player and he's a winner. There's a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams."

Unsurprisingly, Boras is pitching Ordonez to teams who lost out on Werth, another of his clients, who signed a mammoth seven-year, 126 million deal with Washington on the eve of the meetings.

"Once Jayson signed,'' said Boras, "a lot of the teams that were interested in Werth turned to Ordonez.

"With the amount of interest and such, there's a chance for those types of contracts for hitters, veteran hitters . . . to move a little quicker than normal because of the fact that there's just so many teams who need bats. They need that 3-4-5 guy in the offense. There's a real shortage of that in the game today."

Of course, with the presence of newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and DH David Ortiz, Ordonez likely wouldn't fit into the 3-4-5 mix for the Red Sox. He'd likely bat sixth, preserving the left-right-left-right combination Terry Francona has all the way through the lineup, with J.D. Drew hitting seventh, a switch-hitting catcher (mostly hitting righthanded) eighth and right-handed Marco Scutaro hitting ninth.

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

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

BOSTON - The Red Sox knew they'd be in the playoffs last weekend when they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2013.

On Wednesday, they became division champs and knew they'd avoided the dreaded wild-card game.

ANALYSIS: Nick Friar looks at potential Red Sox-Indians matchup

They still don't know their first-round opponent, though it's becoming increasingly likely that it will be the Cleveland Indians.

Here's why: the Red Sox' loss to the Yankees on Thursday night leaves them with a 92-67 record with three games remaining, the second-best mark -- for now -- among the three A.L. division winners.

The Texas Rangers, at 94-65, retain the best record, with the Indians, at 91-67, a half-game behind the Sox.

The team with the best record of the three will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and will be matched against the winner of Tuesday's A.L. wild-card matchup.

To finish with the A.L.'s best record and host the wild-card winner, the Red Sox essentially need to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays on the final weekend and hope that the Rangers get swept by Tampa Bay.

That's because a tie between the Red Sox and Rangers in the standings would make the Rangers the top seed by virtue of the second tie-breaker: intra-division play.

(The first tie-breaker is head-to-head play; the Sox and Rangers split the season series, sending them to the second tie-breaker).

In other words, the Rangers have a magic number of one to clinch the best record in the A.L. and gain home-field advantage throughout the postseason. One more Red Sox loss or one more Rangers win would get the Rangers locked into the top spot.

Again, barring a sweep by the Sox and the Rangers getting swept, a matchup in the Division Series with Cleveland seems almost inevitable.

What's not known is where that series will begin, and here's where it gets tricky.

Because the Indians and Detroit Tigers were rained out Thursday, the Tribe will have played only 161 games by the time the regular season ends early Sunday evening.

That could force the Indians and Tigers to play a makeup game on Monday, since the game could have playoff seeding implications for the Indians and Tigers. Detroit is still in the running for the A.L. wild card spot, currently a game-and-a-half behind the Orioles and Jays.

Since the Red Sox won the season series against the Indians 4-2, the Sox can clinch home field by winning two-of-three games from Toronto this weekend.

Should the Sox win two from the Jays, it would wipe out the need for Monday's makeup -- at least as far as the Indians are concerned. It's possible that it would still need to be played to determine the one of the wild card spots.

No matter who wins home field in a likely Red Sox-Indians matchup, the Division Series between the two will start with games next Thursday and Friday. After a travel day, the series would resume Sunday and Monday, Oct. 9-10.

Should the Sox win home field and host the first two games, Game 3 would be played Sunday Oct. 9 in Cleveland -- on the same day and in the same city where Tom Brady will make his return to the Patriots.