Solstice.

Since we last visited, Jarrod Saltalmacchia has played three more Dominican Winter League games – last night at first base, interestingly – going 4 for 11 with a home run, a double, and three walks (though 0 for 3 in gunning would-be basestealers down).  

He’s now sitting at .435/.594/1.043 in 23 Escogido at-bats.  Among his 10 hits are two doubles and four home runs, and he’s drawn nine walks while fanning only four times.  He’s 0 for 5 against lefthanders.

While Boston appears on the verge of signing 22-year-old Japanese righthander Junichi Tazawa, moving its top-end pitching prospects further down the depth chart (and presumably higher on the trade availability list), the club is also ramping up efforts to sign Jason Varitek.  With the Winter Meetings two weeks away, the Rangers-Red Sox talks could come to a head in Las Vegas.

If the Red Sox re-sign Varitek, don’t assume that that would eliminate their interest in adding a young catcher like Saltalamacchia.

Eric Ortiz of NESN suggests that if Boston signs Mark Teixeira and moves Kevin Youkilis to third base permanently, the club could try to move Mike Lowell to the Rangers along with a young pitcher for Saltalamacchia.  Lowell is owed $12 million in each of the next two seasons and has no-trade protection in his contract.  Love Lowell (right-handed power, solid defense, makeup), but a huge Boston infusion of cash into such a deal would be necessary, obviously.  If Texas is going to bust significantly out of budget this winter, it will be for pitching.

A local writer says Texas isn’t interested in San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff or Cincinnati’s Edwin Encarnacion as a third base solution.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says the Mets and Braves are not interested in Kevin Millwood or Vicente Padilla.

One local columnist thinks outfielder Greg Golson, whom Texas acquired from Philadelphia last week for John Mayberry Jr., “may soon be a piece in an upcoming trade for pitching help.”

Milwaukee gave Jason Bourgeois a minor league deal.  San Diego’s Grady Fuson hired Adam Bourassa, whom he drafted while with Texas (sixth round, 2003), to work as an area scout for the Padres.

Tuesday: news of Rick Adair’s imminent departure for Seattle and the final episode ever of “The Shield.”  

It was great – great – while it lasted.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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