AL East Notes: Red Sox, Lester, Hanrahan, Rays

The possibility exists that at some point this season, the Red Sox could field a lineup, along with a good chunk of their rotation and bullpen, that is comprised almost exclusively of players and pitchers who have played only for Boston, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  Thanks to the club's emphasis on homegrown talent, injuries/days off for David Ortiz, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross, and Mike Napoli could make this idea a reality sometime this summer.  Here's more out of the AL East..

  • Two winters ago, the Red Sox were able to find success by overpaying free agents on an average annual basis while avoiding long-term deals, but they're mistaken if they think they can do the same with Jon Lester, writes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  Boston reportedly offered the standout pitcher a four-year, $70MM contract extension before the start of the season.
  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com agrees that the Red Sox are making a mistake in their handling of the contract talks with Lester, as the southpaw has no real reason to take such a relatively below-market extension.  Such a deal would also likely not sit well with the MLBPA, which Lester recognizes.  "I don't want to be the guy where you sign a deal and then a guy like [Felix Doubront] comes up and says (sarcastically), 'Thanks Jon for helping me out.' That's the tough part," Lester said.  "You've got to balance what makes you happy and still have to take into account where the Players' Association is, you have to take into account the market and what's fair, and then you do what makes you happyIf you're a little bit below market value and it makes you happy, who cares? If you're astronomically below market value, then that's where you need to look at it."
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe believes that the Yankees are the best bet to sign free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan.  The former Pirates closer is set to audition for teams on Thursday in Tampa, Florida.  The Mets, Angels, Rangers, Rockies, Royals, Athletics, Red Sox, and Rays are also said to be among the teams with interest in the 32-year-old.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times looks at the Rays and their ability to keep their young players under team control.  Of course, those type of deals aren't offered to all good young players, and not all accept it, not wanting to trade off larger future earnings for security.  Right-hander Alex Cobb and outfielders Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers are among the young notables who don't have long-term pacts.

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