- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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The Boston Red Sox did not make a formal offer to free agent Jayson Werth during their face-to-face meeting Wednesday with Werth and his agent, Scott Boras, a source familiar with the meeting told ESPN.com on Thursday.
The main purpose of the meeting, the source said, was simply to give Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona a chance to get to know Werth and provide a forum for Werth to get to know them.
The session, which was first reported by ESPNBoston.com, took place Wednesday at the O'Hare Hilton in Chicago.
The Red Sox delegation told Werth they'd scouted him extensively this season and, in fact, had a scout at nearly every game the Phillies played. They also told him he was a player they'd had their eye on for years.
Werth, meanwhile, made it clear to Epstein and Francona what a great fit he thought Boston was for him. Nevertheless, Boras and Werth also told the Red Sox they were a long way from making any decisions, that a number of clubs were interested and that "everything" needs to be considered before Werth chooses a team.
The Red Sox have been widely viewed as the favorites to sign the 31-year-old outfielder. But a source said they are one of about a half-dozen teams pursuing Werth.
The Angels, Tigers and Rangers also have varying degrees of interest. The Phillies have left the door open for Werth to return if he can't find the Matt Holliday-type contract he's expected to ask for.
Negotiations are expected to heat up at next week's winter meetings, but most clubs believe Werth won't sign for another two to four weeks, and possibly longer if the asking price remains at six to seven years, at close to $20 million a year.
Senior writer Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.