Red Sox ready to spend
January, 8, 2009
And you thought Ramon Ramirez was going to be the Red Sox's only significant pickup this winter? Hardly, according to Nick Cafardo:
According to sources close to the talks, the 27-year-old Baldelli is inching closer to a deal with the Sox. Boston has done extensive background work on Baldelli's health, including a mitochondrial disorder that has been rediagnosed as the less severe channelopathy this winter.
Sox general manager Theo Epstein declined to comment on Baldelli.
The Sox also are trying to hash out an agreement with free agent righthander John Smoltz, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Smoltz, 41, would likely not be able to pitch until late May, but the Sox normally overstaff their starting rotation to account for injuries, as they did with Bartolo Colon last season.
There's hope Baldelli, through diet and medication, can play more than previously anticipated and not suffer the same muscle fatigue to his legs that nearly ended his career a year ago.
Since losing Coco Crisp in the Ramon Ramírez deal with the Royals, the Sox have been in need of a fourth outfielder, preferably one who bats righthanded. Baldelli, a Cumberland, R.I., native, also has drawn interest from the Reds and Pirates, but would prefer to remain closer to home.
The Rays signed former Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million deal Monday that would seem to end Baldelli's stay with Tampa Bay.