Lot of twiddling our thumbs right now as we wait for the free agent season to officially kick off.

Let’s take a whirl throughout the rumors in baseball and see what’s going on…

Out west, the San Diego Padres are committed to trading starter Jake Peavy. Kevin Towers has said there is no turning back now, and has narrowed the field to three National League teams. Two of these teams are the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. The Braves would send San Diego shortstop Yunel Escobar, doing two things: 1) Putting the Braves in the market for a shortstop and 2) Making Khalil Greene available. The third team is either the Houston Astros or St. Louis Cardinals.

DIn Milwaukee, Doug Melvin picked up Mike Cameron’s option, but the Yankees have now come calling — presumably dangling Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy. Melvin is intrigued by this move, as he should be, but is hesitant to move Cameron as long as the possibility exists to retain CC Sabathia — Sabathia and Cameron are good friends. With Alex Rodriguez being solicited for advice on Cameron and rumblings that the Yankees might sign second baseman Orlando Hudson and move him to centerfield, you can expect to see a new centerfielder roaming the new Yankee Stadium next year.

The Colorado Rockies have also reportedly entered the point of no return with Matt Holliday trade talks and Holliday seems like he could move on. There isn’t as much solid ground on Holliday’s potential destinations as there is Peavy, but of course the Red Sox and Yankees have been mentioned. If the Yankees acquired Holliday, they’d have to move Hideki Matsui and are hoping to move him to Seattle. The most likeliest destination is apparently Philadelphia.

Several teams have inquired on Coco Crisp, and no further information is known. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts Crisp is dealt this offseason. Theo Epstein did mention that he felt trade talks were advanced enough that he could make a swap ahead of December 4, the winter meetings. If true, I would expect the talks to either center around trading Crisp or acquiring a catcher.

K-Rod – edorf81

K-Rod’s agent has backed off his demands for a five-year contract while Brian Fuentes’ agent is offering Fuentes to the Mets for four years at $44 million, something the Mets presumably will not bite on as they seem committed to sticking to no more than three years for a reliever. With these two developments, you may see the relief market drying up as more and more people realize how volatile the relief market is and how pointless it is to throw gobs of cash at relievers. Rarely has a big-ticket relief pitcher, upon a long-term, big money signing, gotten through the contract healthy and effective. This is good news for the Red Sox, who are looking to bring in a middle reliever. If the closer market depresses, the middle relief market depresses. The person I’m eyeing is Will Ohman.

The White Sox may trade Nick Swisher and are intent on trading starter Javier Vazquez. The Sox would clearly be interested in both players, and the White Sox are interested in Lugo, but it would take more than Lugo, of course, to land either player.

Running quickly through the Red Sox’s needs/issues:

  • Catcher. Will Jason Varitek come off his obscene demands or will the Sox have to trade for a catcher?
  • Shortstop. Can Julio Lugo find a home?
  • Coco Crisp. We can’t possibly squeeze another year out of this setup, can we? It worked pretty well, but it also was a perfect storm of injuries and other things to get Coco that much playing time.
  • Middle relief. We need to add a dependable arm.
  • Starting pitching. A back of the rotation starter is being looked at so Clay Buchholz isn’t handed the job in spring training. Paul Byrd could return.
  • Mike Lowell. However unlikely, it is at least possible that the Sox could move Lowell if they decide to ante up on Mark Teixeira.