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Red Sox have been quiet but the Winter Meetings may change that

The Red Sox might be free agent Eric Hosmer’s best option outside of a return to the Royals. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

It’s has been more than a month since the World Series ended and the only notable free agents to sign are Welington Castillo, Doug Fister, and Yusmeiro Petit.

OK, so notable may have been a little strong.

Most major league teams have accomplished little so far beyond being abruptly eliminated from consideration by Japanese star Shohei Ohtani over the weekend or coming to the understanding that they won’t be trading for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

That should start to change in the coming week.

Ohtani has narrowed his choices to the Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, and Rangers, according to multiple reports.


The Marlins are working with the Cardinals and Giants on trading Stanton. The outfielder and his representatives have met with both teams to discuss conditions for waiving his no-trade rights and agreeing to a deal.

The Dodgers are peripherally involved at this point, but no other team appears to be under consideration.

Because Stanton is signed for 10 more years and $295 million, any trade will be complicated and will take time to finish, particularly if the player wields his leverage. But for teams such as the Red Sox, there is growing clarity as to what can be done.

Since naming Alex Cora their manager Oct. 22, the Red Sox have essentially disappeared from public view. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has tended to work quickly in the offseason, but has been bogged down in the same Ohtani/Stanton swamp as everybody else.

“At some point, the market should open up. However, not sure when it will be,” Dombrowski said via e-mail Monday.

For the Red Sox, all reasonable avenues remain open. They need a first baseman or designated hitter who can fit into the middle of the lineup, along with relief help.

Free agents Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, and Carlos Santana remain on the market along with the large number of secondary options such as Logan Morrison. The Red Sox inquired about White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu last month, but those trade talks were only preliminary, according to major league sources.


Unlike last year, when Dombrowski worked quickly to trade for Chris Sale and sign Mitch Moreland, the Red Sox could benefit by waiting out the market.

Hosmer and Santana, while accomplished players, enter free agency at a time most contending teams are set at first base. For Hosmer in particular, the Red Sox may represent his best option outside of a return to the Royals, who are on the verge of another rebuilding cycle.

The Winter Meetings start Monday in Orlando. By then, Dombrowski could be in a position to make some moves that remind Boston it has a baseball team.

Looking at Luis

Former Red Sox great Luis Tiant is one of the candidates on the Hall of Fame’s modern era ballot. That vote is scheduled Sunday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Inductees, if any, will be revealed at 6 p.m.

The 16-member committee that will evaluate Tiant and nine other candidates includes Hall of Famers George Brett, Rod Carew, Bobby Cox, Dennis Eckersley, John Schuerholz, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield, and Robin Yount.

MLB executives Sandy Alderson, Paul Beeston, Bob Castellini, Bill DeWitt, and David Glass also are on the committee, along with media members Bob Elliott, Steve Hirdt, and Jayson Stark.

Candidates require 75 percent of the votes (12 of the 16) to gain induction.


Along with Tiant, those under consideration are Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, and Alan Trammell along with former Players Association chief Marvin Miller, who died in 2012.

Tiant, who turned 77 last month, was 229-172 with a 3.30 earned run average from 1964-82. His statistics compare favorably with Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter, Jim Bunning, and Don Drysdale.

Tiant and Eckersley were teammates on the 1978 Red Sox.

Thornburg signs

The Red Sox came to agreement with righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg on a one-year deal worth $2.05 million, the same salary he made last season. He avoids arbitration.

Thornburg did not pitch in 2017 because of a shoulder injury that led to surgery in June. The team has said they expect him to be ready for spring training.

Thornburg was obtained from the Milwaukee Brewers Dec. 6 for a package of four players, led by third baseman Travis Shaw.

The Sox now have 12 arbitration-eligible players as yet signed.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.