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Red Sox have ‘great interest’ in Reds closer Aroldis Chapman

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman will be a free agent after the 2016 season.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman will be a free agent after the 2016 season. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Dave Dombrowski walked out of the general manager meetings on Thursday morning not having made any trades or signed any free agents. But that may not be the case for much longer.

The Red Sox are among the teams with what one major league source described as “great interest” in Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Fox Sports reported the Sox were doing background work on Chapman, a 27-year-old lefthander who had 33 saves last season and averaged 99.4 miles per hour with his fastball. He will be a free agent after the coming season but the last-place Sox believe they can contend right away with the right changes.

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Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is in demand, his defensive skills an attraction for several teams. Dombrowski did not comment on specific players, but it’s clear the Red Sox are entertaining ideas that would come as a surprise if deals were made.

“We have a lot of players that people are asking about. We have a lot of major league and minor league players they ask about,” Dombrowski said. “Again, at some point we’re going to most likely do something that is painful one way or the other. But if you’re trying to get quality talent, you’re going to have to do that at some point.”

The Red Sox are focused on pitching, both starters and relievers. Ultimately, trades could be how they accomplish what is needed.

“Yeah, and it’s still early in the winter. We’re making some progress with some conversations,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve had many conversations with free agents. We’ve had conversations on the trade front. We’ll see.”

Dombrowski is surprised at how active teams are this early in the offseason.

“We’ve had many more conversations at these meetings than we’ve ever had. That is unequivocal,” he said. “As far as what comes from here, you never can tell.”

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