INDIANAPOLIS -- The Rangers and Red Sox are exploring a potential deal that would send third baseman Mike Lowell to Texas, and discussions have moved past the inquiry stage and turned serious, a source close to the negotiations told CBSSports.com on Wednesday night.
Lowell would go to Texas for minor-league catcher Max Ramirez. The Red Sox would pick up the tab on either the entire $12 million salary due Lowell in 2010, or almost all of it.
"I can't say that it's going to happen," the source said. "But there are discussions."
The Rangers want to add a right-handed bat but are limited by owner Tom Hicks' financial trouble as to what they can do. There was speculation earlier this winter that they would go after free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye, but he's currently looking for a multi-year deal worth $8 to $9 million a season, and one Rangers' source said that's too far out of their range.
As for Lowell, though he will be 36 on opening day in 2010 and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip before the '09 season, he hit 17 homers and collected 75 RBI for the Red Sox last summer. The Rangers would move him around, spotting him at first base, third base and designated hitter in an effort to keep him fresh and his hip healthy.
The purpose of moving Lowell for the Red Sox would be to clear space in the lineup for the addition of another big addition. It is not a salary dump, because Boston would still be paying most of the freight for Lowell.
The replacement for Lowell could wind up being free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Boston is described as being "in the mix" for Beltre by a source close to the third baseman, who is looking for a multi-year contract. The Red Sox also could attempt to resurrect trade talks for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez -- or add a different first baseman -- and move Kevin Youkilis over to third.