Theo Epstein Says Red Sox Pursuing ‘A Lot’ of Relievers, Also Looking at Multiple Hitters

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Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein confirmed Tuesday night that he has made offers to multiple relievers and has interest in more than one hitter, but does not expect any moves to be finalized before Wednesday, the final day of the baseball winter meetings.

Without giving an exact number, Epstein said "a lot" of relievers have been pursued, mostly through free agency but possibly some via trade. The targets included both right-handers and left-handers, according to Epstein.

"We've had offers out on a few guys for awhile now, before we got down here, and since those haven't gone anywhere we've made a few offers here as well," Epstein said from his suite at the Dolphin Hotel, headquarters of the meetings.

Epstein, of course, would not name names, but the presumption that the list includes Scott Downs, Pedro Feliciano, Arthur Rhodes and Matt Guerrier, each of whom have been linked in reports to the Red Sox.

In some cases, Epstein said, he is "getting close to what could be a deal" and several agents have been pushing for one to be completed before the Boston contingent leaves town.

The concerns on the part of Epstein, or any other GM in a similar bind, is that the market for relievers has been stretched to include multiple long-term deals and some on the pricey end of things, both of which are a tad risky for bullpen help. Also, Downs, who is a Type A free agent, would cost the team a valuable draft pick.

For his part, Epstein said he has "come to grips" with possibly signing a long-term deal for good money "for the right player."

As for any hitters he might pursue, Epstein said he is not just focusing on right-handed hitters, although that is the presumption. He insisted for the second straight day that he likes the balance in the projected lineup and doesn't feel the need to necessarily get a right-handed hitter in a starting role. One could come in a utility role, a la Bill Hall last year.

Carlos Beltran and Magglio Ordonez are two of the bigger names tied to the Sox so far during the meetings. Carl Crawford has not been ruled out. "Anything's possible," Epstein said when asked.

 

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