The Boston Red Sox have expressed interest in acquiring right-handed starter Justin Masterson and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians, major-league sources said.
It’s not clear how advanced the talks are, but the fit is obvious: The Red Sox have the ability to take on payroll after unloading roughly $250 million in contracts three months ago, and the Indians are willing to listen to offers for virtually every player on their roster.
Boston’s farm system has strengthened over the past 12 months, partially because of prospects obtained from the Dodgers in the August blockbuster. Thus, the Red Sox can afford to move the necessary minor leaguers to bring back Masterson, Choo, or both.
An intriguing dynamic could develop if the Masterson talks intensify: He broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2008, when Terry Francona was the Boston manager and John Farrell the Boston pitching coach. Last month, Francona was hired to manage the Indians while Farrell became the new skipper in Boston. Both are said to admire Masterson. If Farrell pushes for the Red Sox to acquire him, Francona might try just as hard to keep him in Cleveland.
Choo, meanwhile, would add immediate punch to a Boston outfield that presently includes center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a collection of platoon players. The Red Sox would be more enthused about Choo if he had more than one year left before free agency, but their newfound payroll flexibility could make it more feasible to keep him after 2013.
Choo, like Ellsbury, is represented by influential agent Scott Boras. Ellsbury also is headed for free agency after the coming season.
— Jon Paul Morosi