Red Sox News: Martin Maldonado, prospect trade bait, Winter Meetings updates

Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado
Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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The Boston Red Sox, like most teams so far at this year's Winter Meetings, have been quiet. While those like the Braves and Mariners have already dealt players between them and seemed primed to do more work soon, and others like the Blue Jays, Cubs, and Dodgers are at least popping their heads in once in a while and hinting at something big being in the works, the Red Sox seemingly stalled out for the first two days of meetings.

All's not lost. Craig Breslow spoke to the media late yesterday and dropped a couple of crumbs, and their interest in a certain catcher was just reported early this morning. Only the next two days will tell if the Red Sox can take advantage of this very small window and make something happen for the team for the first time this offseason.

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ESPN's Buster Olney reported this morning that the Red Sox are interested in Martín Maldonado who, in a career that has spans 13 seasons, has been with the Astros for the past four and some change. Maldonado would take over for Connor Wong at Boston's backstop, and the addition of his defensive presence could actually make a real difference for the team. Maldonado's poor offensive performance (.191/.258/.348) was unsurprisingly unsatisfactory to the Astros, but it's comparable to Wong's (.235/.288/.385, with the same amount of RBI as Maldonado and fewer home runs), and his ability to work with pitchers has been a huge upside to his game. He's also longtime friends with Alex Cora, which could give the Red Sox a leg up in securing him.

Pertaining to the other half of the battery, the Red Sox have been firmly engaged in a search for more starting pitching since the beginning of the offseason. Craig Breslow spoke to the media on the team's heavy focus on pitching yesterday and was frustratingly vague but still managed to leave a few nuggets of information. He said the team was "engaged in multiple fronts," "actively engaged" in both the free agent and trade markets, and did not explicitly name a pitcher they were actually pursuing, but he did note that he is willing to let go of some of Boston's top prospects in order to secure the right deal, which they have been openly opposed to doing in the few years prior.

MLB news

In other league news, let's get the big ones out of the way first. There's no news on Shohei Ohtani and which team he'll sign to, and conflicting reports indicate that he could either sign very soon or not very soon, which cancel each other out to say that no one actually knows anything at all. Juan Soto does still seem to be in play for the Padres, but they've reached a standstill with the Yankees, who have been thought to be the frontrunners for a long time and who are unwilling to give up as much of their top young talent as the Padres have reportedly been asking for. None of the big starting pitchers, in free agency or who have been named as trade candidates, have made moves yet. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Dylan Cease, Tyler Glasnow, and so on are as yet still free agents or still attached to their original teams.

But there are some set items on the agenda that everyone will participate in. The MLB Draft Lottery takes places today at 5:30 PM, where 17 non-playoff teams, including the Red Sox, will draw to determine next year's draft order. Boston has only a 1.2% chance of drawing the first pick, with marginally better chances for the following five spots, but are more likely to pick around 10th next year. The Rule 5 draft will follow on Wednesday, wherein prospects who have been in the minor leagues for 4-5 years can be picked by new teams. Only teams without a full 40-man roster can participate; as of writing, the Red Sox have three open spots.

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