The Red Sox, after losing losing out on Jayson Werth and before signing Carl Crawford, explored a wide range of offensive alternatives at the winter meetings last month.
Free-agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran were among the Sox's more-publicized targets.
The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, after leading the majors with 54 homers last season, would have been an even more noteworthy addition.
The Sox made multiple offers for Bautista at the meetings but never got the sense that the Jays were serious about a deal, major league sources said.
Other clubs pursued Bautista as well. The Jays, however, preferred to keep the slugger, who has one year left of arbitration before becoming a free agent.
The Jays are not exploring multiyear deals with Bautista, according to his agent, Bean Stringfellow, who spoke to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.
All of the preliminary trade talk involving Bautista eventually could lead to a move — not with the Red Sox, but another interested club if the Jays fall out of contention by July.
— Ken Rosenthal