And They’re Off!

And so it begins.

MLB’s Winter Meetings begin today in Dallas, TX. Or maybe I should I say they began last night when Mets GM Omar Minaya shopped at the Florida Marlins yard sale for the second time in less than two weeks—this time acquiring C Paul Loduca in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. This, on the heels of his acquisition of 1B Carlos Delgado in exchange for—you guessed it—minor leaguers (3). Is there anyone else out there who thinks that Bowie Kuhn would have put an end to the silliness in south Florida long before now?

Anyway, the Red Sox enter the proceedings in Dallas with needs at first base, second base, center field, and—like everyone else—pitching (a starter and a couple of relievers). They will also need another BIG bat to protect David Ortiz if they are successful at trading enigmatic LF Manny Ramírez.

It is known that the Sox are fielding offers on Ramírez and P David Wells… while they are shopping C Kelly Shoppach (who appears destined never to play significant time in Boston due to the presence of Jason Varitek).

The Sox have identified re-signing Johnny Damon as a top priority. Beyond that, the most pressing need will be resolving the Ramirez dilemma… with the Mets (minor league OF Lastings Milledge and minor league RHP Aaron Heilman) and LA Angels (RHP Ervin Santana and 1B Casey Kotchman or minor league SS Brandon Wood) the most likely destination spot if a deal is to be completed.

Recent rumors suggest that Texas has thrown its hat into the ring—dangling 2B Alfonso Soriano—but that match appears unlikely as Soriano has previously indicated no interest in moving to the outfield… and why would the Sox trade a problem with Ramirez for a problem with Soriano? Now, if Texas wants to dangle LF Kevin Mench and minor league P Thomas Diamond…

SOX1FAN believes the Sox will also have numerous conversations with TB regarding OF/1B Aubrey Huff… although ultimately the club may be just as well served by bring 1B John Olerud and 2B Tony Graffanino back to address its issues on the right side of the infield.

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