Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has the scoop:
According to multiple baseball sources, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell met with free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton at the winter meetings Wednesday.
Bradford probably has that timeline wrong, as Hamilton tweeted a picture from the Nashville airport on Tuesday night with accompanying text that read “heading home.”
So we’ll just go ahead and assume the meeting happened sometime Tuesday.
Hamilton has also been in touch recently with the Mariners, Orioles, Phillies and Brewers. The Rangers are keeping tabs on the negotiations but are currently focused on free agent right-hander Zack Greinke.
Hamilton, 31, batted .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI this past season for Texas.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM: MLB Network’s Peter Gammons says the meeting happened off-site on Monday.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.