Winter Meetings Underway In Anaheim. So what's going on?
David Wells: The former Yankee lardass has signed a two-year deal with the World Champion Red Sox. I'm not thrilled with this pickup, but it does seem to be a low-risk move. Wells's base salary for each season will be $2.5 million (plus a $3 million signing bonus), so only $8 million is guaranteed. There are performance incentives that could be worth another $10 million. Wells (who turns 42 in May) will take a physical Tuesday.
Pedro Martinez: There are rumors that Pedro is close to resigning. John Henry and Larry Lucchino met with Martinez in the Dominican Republic last Wednesday and today's Herald reports that the team has guaranteed the third year of their offer. As far as possibly playing at Shea Stadium, David Ortiz says: "He ain't going to no Mets."
From Dirtdogs: "CBS4's Dan Roche reports that the Martinez 'social visit' went so well that Pedro and the Red Sox are now finalizing a three-year contract worth $40 million. Only small details remain. Deal expected to be official in 24-48 hours." ... Epstein has denied that story and David Heuschkel of the Courant writes that Martinez "has received lukewarm endorsements from teammates, who wouldn't mind seeing Pedro replaced by Carl Pavano or another pitcher ... What won't get done: Getting Martinez back in the fold before the meetings end."
Carl Pavano: He's at home north of Montreal considering the seven contract offers he has received. The Providence Journal hints Boston may be the front-runner, based on a comment from Marlins pitcher A.J. Burnett about the addition of Al Leiter to Florida's staff. "I'm looking forward to working with [Leiter]. You can learn a beaucoup amount from this guy, just like Pavano's going to have a chance, probably, in Boston to pick Curt Schilling's brain." ... The Palm Beach Post reported on Thursday that both Burnett and another Marlins player (unnamed) believe Pavano will sign with the Red Sox.
Other pitching options are vanishing: Jon Lieber signed with the Phillies, Brad Radke returned to the Twins and Tim Hudson might be traded to Atlanta. Note: Radke apparently was set to ink a three-year deal with Boston last Tuesday before Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson stepped in.
Jason Varitek: Theo: "Jason's a priority for us, that's no secret. We don't want to build a team without Jason." ... In other backstop news, Doug Mirabelli underwent minor surgery this week to repair cartilage damage in his knee.
Matt Mantei: The RHP signed a one-year contract Wednesday and, once healthy, hopes to be an important part of the Red Sox bullpen. "[Schilling] told me I'm going to love pitching in Boston, because I'm the kind of guy who thrives in an intense atmosphere. I really can't wait to open that bullpen door for the first time at Fenway." After getting $7 million from the Diamondbacks in 2004, Mantei will pitch for the Sox in 2005 for a mere $750,000.
David Ortiz: The Man will not play winter ball with the Escogido Lions as he has for the past seven years, choosing instead to make sure his right shoulder is ready for spring training.
Julio Lugo: Boston offered Kevin Millar in trade for the Devil Rays shortstop, but Tampa said No.
On Tuesday, Boston offered salary arbitration to Martinez, Varitek, Derek Lowe, Pedro Astacio, Mike Myers, Orlando Cabrera, Pokey Reese and David McCarty. Epstein also said the negotiations with various players might be a "a long process."
More Theo, who is in his third winter as GM: "I think we're balancing the interests of the fans for immediate action with our interests, which is to just be patient and do the right thing. We have to balance the interests between short-term contracts, long-term contracts, older players, younger players, pitching and defense vs. offense. There's a right answer out there somewhere and it usually takes all off-season to find it, if you ever do."
Other Players: The Red Sox and Padres have talked about a Dave Roberts-for-Ramon Vazquez/Jay Payton deal. The Giants are also interested in Roberts. ... Boston also remains interested in Edgar Renteria. ... Minor-league RHP Tim Bausher was claimed off waivers from the Rockies. ... Nomar Garciaparra signed with the Cubs for 2005. ... And NESN has cut Friday night announcer Sean McDonough, choosing to go with the Remy/Orsillo combo full-time.