A source told ESPN.com on Wednesday that trade talks between the Red Sox and Texas Rangers surrounding third baseman Mike Lowell have intensified.
There are two things likely holding up the trade. The first is the Rangers' interest in seeing Lowell play more before deciding whether he can help them this season. The second is the possibility that Texas doesn't have the extra $3 million sitting around to pay its portion of Lowell's salary for 2010. After the initial trade fell through, the Rangers signed Vladimir Guerrero.
A deal was agreed to in the offseason between the two teams that would have sent catcher Max Ramirez to Boston in exchange for Lowell and $9 million of his $12 million salary. The trade fell apart when it was revealed that Lowell needed surgery on his injured thumb.
Lowell recently returned from fouling a baseball off his knee and ripped two doubles against the Orioles in spring training action Wednesday. He is not expected to open the season on the disabled list after proving himself healthy. He will either open the season on the bench for Boston or be traded, with the Rangers as the clear front-runner.
If Lowell is traded, a bench spot likely will open up that would allow Boston to carry a true middle infielder. Tug Hulett remains in major league camp, although the Red Sox could recall recently acquired Kevin Frandsen from Triple-A. Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with mononucleosis, and he will likely report to Pawtucket once healthy.