5:04pm: Ken Rosenthal adds to the discussion, making the prediction that Lowell will never play another game for the Red Sox. He says Boston simply does not want Lowell to be their third baseman next year, citing the team's interest in Mark Teixeira last offseason, its moves to acquire Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman, and its willingness to pay $9MM of Lowell's salary in a trade as evidence.
Rosenthal calls the situation "Julio Lugo all over again," with the notable exception that Lowell has, for the most part, been a very productive player for Boston, unlike Lugo. Still, the veteran infielder is owed $12MM and seemingly doesn't fit into Boston's plans anymore. And if you ask Rosenthal, the end result will be the same as it was with Lugo — a trade of Mike Lowell with the Sox picking up most of the tab.
1:38pm: John Tomase of the Boston Herald looks at what's next for Mike Lowell, now that the trade with Texas has been called off. Tomase notes the extreme respect that the Red Sox have for Lowell's heart and desire last season, playing through injuries to start 105 games and post a respectable .811 OPS.
Boston's biggest concern now is whether or not Lowell will be able to remain healthy and whether or not he will have the mobility to play defense. Lowell had been a consistently strong defender for Boston until last season, when his UZR/150 plummeted from a strong 15.6 in 2008 to an ugly -14.4.
Lowell could still be had at a fairly inexpensive price, as the Red Sox have already shown willingness to eat $9MM of the $12MM owed to him in 2010. The question, however, is whether or not the upside of his bat is worth the risk of his health. Lowell's torn thumb ligament has been described as "non-essential" by one baseball source, but it's only the latest on the list of issues that have shelved the Boston third baseman.
Does it make sense for Boston to hang onto Lowell and hope for the best in 2010, or should they still be actively shopping him? Given that the free agent market has numerous options at both corner infield spots, are there any teams that would make sense for the 36-year-old?