Jason Varitek Rumors

Red Sox Notes: Varitek, Oswalt, Saunders

The Red Sox sent Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to Houston for Mark Melancon today before agreeing to terms with Nick Punto on a two-year deal. One thing they did not do was bid on Yu Darvish. Here’s the latest from Boston (and for more on the Red Sox, click here):

Quick Hits: Varitek, A’s, Braves, Cordero, Lee, Pujols

Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday…

Red Sox Rumors: Wakefield, Varitek, Trade Talks

We heard earlier this evening that David Ortiz plans to return to Boston next season, either through arbitration or a multiyear deal. Now let's check in on some other Red Sox news:

Red Sox “Confident” About Re-Signing Ortiz

The Red Sox seem "pretty confident" they'll be able to re-sign David Ortiz to a two-year deal, assuming he doesn't accept arbitration, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Here are a few more Red Sox updates from Ben Cherington's first Winter Meetings as Boston's GM:

  • While Boston was thought to have interest in free agents like C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, Cherington said today that he doesn't anticipate the Red Sox pursuing high-end starting pitching options, as WEEI's Alex Speier writes.
  • Cherington also said today that Daniel Bard had indicated a preference for his 2012 role, though it seems he and Bard may not have been on the same page. In a text message to the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson, Bard said he stated a willingness to move to the rotation rather than a preference to do so: "I guess making it clear that I would be willing to start may have made it seem like a preference, but I just want to make it clear that I feel like I could thrive in either role."
  • It doesn't appear that the Orioles will be signing longtime Red Sox backstop Jason Varitek. According to John Tomase of the Boston Herald, O's skipper Buck Showalter addressed the topic in Dallas: "Right now, it’s not a fit for us."

Heyman On Buehrle, Garza, Reyes, Posada, Bell

Heath Bell isn’t close to signing, despite last night’s rumors, but it’s not for lack of interest. Here’s the latest on Bell and a handful of other free agents, via Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter links):

Orioles Interested In Renyel Pinto

The Orioles have expressed interest in left-hander Renyel Pinto, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Orioles director of international operations David Stockstill scouted the 29-year-old in his native Venezuela last week. Stockstill met with Pinto, a five-year veteran of the Major Leagues, and a deal remains possible.

Pinto has a 1.42 ERA with a 42K/16BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings as a starter in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, for what it’s worth. He last pitched in the Major Leagues for the 2010 Marlins. In parts of five seasons with the Marlins, Pinto posted a 3.62 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 5.9 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 231 innings (244 relief appearances).

The Orioles don’t currently have interest in free agents Jason Varitek or Jorge Posada as possible backup catchers, since they prefer someone who could catch every day if necessary. Matt Wieters is the lone catcher on the Orioles’ 40-man roster at the moment.

American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:

Red Sox Notes: Manager, Varitek, Ortiz, Papelbon

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search…

  • Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
  • The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
  • Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
  • Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
  • There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
  • Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."

No Roster Moves Imminent For Red Sox

While the Red Sox's struggles so far this season have not been lost on GM Theo Epstein, the club doesn't plan to make any major moves at this time, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal.  Even though there still areas in which the club can improve, any additions likely will have to come from within the organization until after June 1st.

“A lot of it is dictated by opportunity,” the GM said. “You’re not going to make a blockbuster trade in April, for the most part, or May. Usually that’s something for the middle third of the season.”

The Red Sox could likely use an upgrade behind the plate, but Epstein isn't terribly concerned, citing that other clubs aren't receiving high offensive production from their catchers either.  Backstops Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have a combined slash line of .181/.246/.244 thus far.

East Notes: Wright, Salty, Bixler, A-Rod

Rainfall on the East Coast has already postponed a couple games on Friday night, but here's some items of note to hold you over …

  • Mets third baseman David Wright's days in New York may be winding down, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets, who may be in full-on rebuild mode as soon as midseason, could opt to trade Wright because he is signed to team-favorable terms through 2013 and would therefore yield a better haul in a trade than Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran or Francisco Rodriguez, writes Rubin. That the Mets could entertain this is indicative of how far they've fallen the past couple years; it once seemed likely Wright would spend his entire career in Queens.
  • Red Sox catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have struggled so far this season, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com, but with underwhelming and unready in-house options and limited trade or free-agent targets out there, a move is not imminent. Bengie Molina, 36, is still unsigned, but as Speier points out, would he be much of an improvement?
  • The Nationals have purchased the contract of infielder Brian Bixler from Triple-A Syracuse, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. A corresponding move on the 40-man roster was to be announced. Bixler, a second-round pick of the Pirates in 2004 out of Eastern Michigan, last appeared in the bigs in 2009. In 166 career plate appearances, he has a .178/.238/.237 line.
  • Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has hired Steve Loy of Gaylord Sports Management to handle his marketing. As our Agency Tracker shows, A-Rod has not officially announced an agent since parting ways with Scott Boras, and he may not need one for a while considering he's signed through age 42. For a complete list of Scott Boras clients, click here.