The Red Sox rumors, they are a-flying, with most reports centering on Victor Martinez.
Sean McAdam, the best reporter on the Sox beat, says:
One baseball source said the Sox have been very aggressive in attempting to deal for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, but have been rebuffed. Another source suggested the asking price on Cleveland catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez is, at least currently, too prohibitive.
That hasn't stopped Jon Heyman from digging up a source that says the Sox and Indians have been in talks "for weeks." Earlier in the week, Peter Gammons buried a nugget in his LaRoche story informing us the Sox tried and failed to get Martinez when Cleveland asked for Clay Buchholz.
Heyman knows Buchholz is not for sale, so he offers what appears to be simply his own speculation:
Assuming Buchholz is off limits, the Indians might seek a two-pitcher package from a group of Junichi Tazawa, Casey Kelly, Michael Bowden, Daniel Bard and some others — though the Indians prefer starters and Bard is a classic closer type and Bowden is viewed as a possible reliever. Bowden's stock actually seems to be falling a tad.
Martinez is something of a conundrum — as a catcher, he's one of the best hitters in the game; as a first baseman, where the Sox have their greatest need (assuming Mike Lowell is as done as he looks in the field, and Kevin Youkilis slides over to replace him), he's slightly above average. Is the upgrade to Youkilis at third worth the downgrade to Martinez at first?
Oh, and he's 30, which is significantly younger than Mike Lowell, but still 30, in a lineup where Youkilis, Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz are all over 30.
Gonzalez, of course, is the real prize — assuming the Padres are even inclined to give him up midseason. He also plays first, but he has an OPS+ of 152 right now, and he's just 27. Twenty-seven.
Will the Sox offer enough to land either of these players? Should they?
Edit: Oops. Never mind on Gonzalez. Maybe.