Rumors Are Here To Stay…

Door Open For Red Sox To Go In A Lot Of Directions

Jason Bay, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Mike Lowell welcome back.  Clay Buchholz enjoy sunny San Diego.

Those are some plot lines that could arise in the upcoming weeks but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will.  It is, after all, hot stove season.  

So the Boston Red Sox may be preparing for life without Jason Bay, very well could be welcoming Mike Lowell back if the Texas Rangers don’t think his thumb is up to snuff, and Clay Buchholz may be on his way to the Padres along with prospects Ryan Westmoreland and Casey Kelly in exchange for one, Adrian Gonzalez.

The maybe’s and what-could-be’s are in full force in the off-season as Theo Epstein is still playing all his cards in mid-December.  Lowell’s medical records are under review and the Texas Rangers have the choice to send Lowell back to Boston and keep catching prospect Max Ramirez.  That will halt all the Adrian Beltre and Gonzalez chatter for the time being but don’t underestimate the man with a plan.

Epstein’s plan A, B, C, D will be put into play this off-season to ensure that the 2010 Boston Red Sox don’t lay down to the champs.  Those plans may include the now non-tender free agents who are fresh on the market.

It’s like the incoming freshmen girls in the fall of a new high school year.  Oh the fresh meat, a little unprime but still good enough to buy, date, or at least look at.  The list includes Garrett Atkins, Jack Cust, Johnny Gomes, Ryan Garko, Matt Capps and Chien-Ming Wang, to name a few.  Intriguing buys would be Atkins, Gomes, and Wang for the Red Sox.

If the Sox do indeed move Lowell and deem that free agent Adrian Beltre’s (a Scott Boras client) asking price is too steep, then Epstein could bring in Atkins to play third-base for a short-term solution (although Atkins may be a product of Coors field in Colorado). Gomes would provide a solid bat from the bench for the Sox and can play corner outfield and infield positions if need be.  The last name on the list, however, brings more spice to the pot than the other two.

Wang, who was non-tendered by the Yankees, went 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA in 2009 and is recovering from shoulder surgery that sidelined him on July 4.  But lets not overlook the potential value and upside of Wang.  Before becoming riddled with injuries in the middle of the 2008 season, he was 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA in his first 95 career games.

Oh, and he placed second in the Cy young voting in 2006.  How quickly we forget.

So with a clean bill of health, Wang may also have a little motivation to get back at his previous employer by signing with the Red Sox and proving to the Yankees that they made a mistake in non-tendering the 29-year-old.

It may be worth a shot.  Even with Epstein’s poor track record in reclamation projects and players coming off injury, Wang may be the silver lining in what has been a rather bleak and uneventful off-season.  

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