Who's That Masked Man?
While Boston has four catchers on its 40-man roster—Dan Butler, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross and Christian Vazquez—the team has been linked to a trio of veteran backstops on the open market: Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz and last year's starter, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Manager John Farrell told WEEI.com's Alex Speier that, despite the team opting to not extend a qualifying offer to Saltalamacchia, that both he and the front office would like to have him back. That said, Salty was benched by Farrell for the final three games of the World Series—not exactly a ringing endorsement.
CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury reports that the Red Sox have begun to do their "due dilligence" on Ruiz, who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Phillies and boasts a solid lifetime .274/.358/.412 slash line.
McCann, a seven-time All-Star, is one of the biggest names in this year's free-agent class and would require the most lucrative deal, in both dollars and years, of the three.
Andy Martino of The New York Daily News says that Boston (along with Texas) is one of the two teams going hardest after McCann, while his agent, B.B. Abbott, told The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber that "Boston would certainly be a place that would be a consideration for Brian."
Who Starts at Shortstop?
According to an unnamed GM that spoke with Peter Gammons, the chances of Stephen Drew returning to Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform in 2014 appear to have dropped considerably:
GM:"Forget Stephen Drew accepting the $14M. Scott(Boras) already has set up a number of meetings on Drew for Tuesday at the GM meetings."
With Xander Bogaerts capable of playing either shortstop or third base, Boston may not be willing to commit to multiple years—or pay much more than the $14.1 million salary that Drew would receive if he accepted the qualifying offer.
Considering the scarcity of quality shortstops on the free-agent market, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Red Sox bow out of the race for Drew's services if multiple teams get involved and drive the price up.
Carlos Beltran Coming to Fenway?
Originally reported by George A. King III of The New York Post and since confirmed by The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing free-agent right fielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran, 36, is expected to decline St. Louis' $14.1 million qualifying offer as Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the slugger wants to play for at least three more seasons.
While surrendering a draft pick to sign him isn't ideal, bringing Beltran aboard would give the Red Sox options in the outfield if Jacoby Ellsbury departs via free agency as many expect that he will.