Are the Red Sox gearing up for Adrian Gonzalez?

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Boston signing John Lackey and Mike Cameron has Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune thinking that the Red Sox are preparing to make another run at Adrian Gonzalez.
And sure enough FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that they’re “working hard to obtain” the Padres first baseman.
Center tosses out Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Daniel Bard as obvious Padres targets, while Rosenthal mentions Casey Kelly and Ryan Westmoreland as other fits if the Red Sox haven’t made them untouchable.
Of course, Center writes that “at the moment the Padres and Red Sox are not talking” and Rosenthal admits that “a deal is not close and might not happen at all.” San Diego is under no real pressure to deal Gonzalez, because he’s a 27-year-old, MVP-caliber player under contract for just $4.75 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2011. Obviously dealing Gonzalez would jump-start the Padres’ rebuilding efforts, but he’s young enough that they could also try to rebuild around him.
The presence of Kevin Youkilis and now Mike Cameron give the Red Sox lots of defensive flexibility, because Youkilis can play either corner infield spot and Cameron is willing to be a starter anywhere in the outfield. All of which is why the Red Sox could potentially part with Ellsbury in a deal for Gonzalez or forget the whole thing and simply sign Adrian Beltre.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.