AL East Links: Red Sox, Cespedes, Danks, Beltran

The Red Sox were one of the finalists for Gio Gonzalez, but GM Ben Cherington was "not motivated" to deal four prospects for Gonzalez, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  With Gonzalez now on his way to Washington, the Sox will look at other pitching targets like Gavin Floyd, Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda and Andrew Bailey, all of whom have drawn some interest from Boston this winter.

Here's the latest from the AL East…

  • The Red Sox will hire Bob McClure as the club's new pitching coach, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  McClure has spent the last six seasons as the Royals' pitching coach and was hired by Boston last month as a minor league instructor and special assignment scout.
  • The Yankees' chances of signing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are "slim to none," according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger (Twitter link).
  • The Yankees weren't close to a deal for John Danks, a source tells Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.  Brian Cashman and Kenny Williams "haven't spoken in weeks" after some initial contact, but the Yankees weren't interested in meeting Chicago's demands for their left-hander.  Danks and the White Sox agreed to a five-year contract extension yesterday, ending the Danks trade rumors for the foreseeable future.   
  • The Yankees and Red Sox were the only teams that paid a luxury tax penalty for 2011, reports The Associated Press.  New York paid a $13.9MM penalty (the team's lowest since 2003) while Boston paid $3.4MM.
  • The Rays fell out of the race for Carlos Beltran due to Beltran's concerns about playing on turf and spending too much time as a designated hitter, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  The Cardinals, Indians and Blue Jays appear to be the finalists for Beltran, though the Jays could be similarly hampered by the turf and DH issues.
  • The Blue Jays are looking for bullpen help in the form of a lefty specialist and a right-handed setup option, reports MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  Also as part of this mailbag piece, Chisholm answers a reader question about Prince Fielder by noting that the Jays are "extremely unlikely" to pursue the free agent slugger unless his "market completely collapses."  The major stumbling block is the Jays' club policy against not giving a player more than five guaranteed years on a contract, while Fielder is looking for a 10-year deal.

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