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Source: Veteran Brandon Inge has deal imminent

Veteran third baseman Brandon Inge, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder in mid-September, is on the verge of signing a Minor League deal with an invite to big-league camp, according to a baseball source.

The 35-year-old was choosing between a pair of teams, but his destination isn’t yet known.

Inge had a .218/.275/.383 line between Detroit and Oakland last season, with 12 home runs. Injuries held him to 82 games last season after he played 102 the year before. He became a leader on the A’s, but was forced to the disabled list on Aug. 14 with a sprained right shoulder. He was reinstated Sept. 1 before re-injuring the shoulder.

– Evan Drellich

Alderson confirms he is talking Dickey trade

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday he is not “buying billboards” to drum up interest in Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. But he is listening to offers. Interested teams “will come to us,” Alderson said.

According to ESPN, eight teams met with the Mets on Monday, including the Red Sox. The Mets reportedly sought two of Boston’s top prospects: power-hitting shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Another ESPN report had the Rangers and Royals as the best fit for a Dickey trade.

The New York Daily News reported that the Mets did not have their mind made up yet that they would trade Dickey. The knuckleballer is under contract for the 2013 season, and wants an extension.

— Evan Drellich

Red Sox reel in Napoli

The Red Sox landed one of their top targets of the winter, agreeing to terms on a three-year deal. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the deal is worth $39 million.

Napoli gives the Red Sox the type of power they need, and is a right-handed bat who can complement star lefty slugger David Ortiz.

While Napoli has primarily been a catcher in his career, there’s a strong chance he will get the bulk of his playing time in Boston at first base.

With Napoli on board, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington can now focus on other needs, such as finding an outfielder, a starting pitcher and possibly a shortstop.

Ian Browne

Surprising rumor surfaces involving Lester

While it should be noted that teams discuss hundreds of conceptual trades during the winter that never see the light of day, a a lot of them never even reach the rumor mill. However, one surprising one was reported on Monday night.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that the Red Sox and Royals discussed a potential blockbuster that would send Boston lefty Jon Lester to Kansas City for top Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford confirmed the report. Both writers said that no deal is close at this time.

It’s surprising, however, that the Red Sox would even discuss trading Lester, long a cornerstone of their rotation. But Lester is coming off the worst season of his career (9-14, 4.82 ERA) and is two years away from free agency.

Perhaps Boston just wanted to gauge his value. As for Myers, he is an intriguing soon-to-be 22-year-old prospect who hit .304 at Triple-A last season with 24 homers, 79 RBIs and a .932 OPS.

Ian Browne

Red Sox in contact with Bay

The Red Sox are in the market for at least one starting outfielder, if not two, and a familiar name is out there. Jason Bay was a popular run producer during the year-and-a-half he played in Boston, but then went to the Mets, where he has had three horrific, injury-plagued seasons. Some thought that Bay was a bad fit for the Mets right from the outset. Could coming back to Boston resurrect his career?

It is at least a possibility. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted the following: “The Red Sox are among the teams in contact with Jason Bay, as he considers his options for 2013. Looking for opportunity, familiarity.”

Fenway’s friendly dimensions in left field are a far better fit for Bay’s swing than CitiField ever was.

The Red Sox’s interest in Bay could depend on how things go with Cody Ross, who was a positive presence on the field and in the clubhosue for Boston in 2012. Ross is a free agent and said to be seeking a three-year deal. The Braves are among the teams who have shown early interest.

Ian Browne

Red Sox eyeing pitchers, including Marlins’ Johnson

With Jon Lester and Josh Beckett plagued by inconsistency for the entire season, general manager Ben Cherington continues to eye starting pitching above all else as he works the phones in the final week leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

One name Cherington can cross off his list is Anibal Sanchez, the former Boston farm-hand who was dealt to the Tigers Monday night.

According to ESPNBoston.com’s Joe McDonald, the Red Sox have also been in the hunt for another Florida starter — former righty ace Josh Johnson.

However, Johnson is having a season eerily similar to that of Beckett and Lester, going 5-7 with a 4.35 ERA.

Matt Garza is another pitcher Boston has looked long and hard at, though interest might have diminished a bit when the righty left his last start with tricep soreness and is expected to miss his next turn in the rotation.

Ian Browne

Bobby V’s first pre-game session as Red Sox manager

What went into the decision to keep Ellsbury in the leadoff spot?  “Jacoby? Obviously we talk about the lineup as a group. It seems like in this grouping he looks really good being there and I also thought it would be apropos for you guys to write about the number one and number two in the MVP voting facing each other on a first pitch here in Detroit this year. And he liked it too. Talking to him, he kind of relished the idea.”

How can Ellsbury have another year like last year? “By taking it one pitch at a time. Obviously today, at the end of today, he’s not going to have the stats that he had at the end of last year. And, you know, the trap everyone always falls into is answering all those questions. How are you going to do better this year than you did last year? You start thinking that you have to hit a home run every time and a triple the next time and two doubles and steal bases, drive in the runs, all at once, and that’s not how it happens.” Read more

Reports: Red Sox have made offers to Oswalt, Jackson

The two most alluring starting pitchers who still remain free agents have both received offers from the Red Sox, according to reports Wednesday.

Roy Oswalt’s received a “significant” offer according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, while Jim Bowden of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Sox have made an offer to Edwin Jackson, whom Bowden cited a source as saying they prefer over Oswalt.

Oswalt was limited by back problems last year, so Jackson could be viewed as a more “sure” thing, at least in terms of innings. Oswalt is also reportedly being selective with possible destinations, turning down an offer from the Tigers.

– Evan Drellich

Pedro unsure of Ortiz’s landing spot

BOSTON – David Ortiz’s prediction for Pedro Martinez’s free agency landing spot after the 2004 season was well off the mark: “He ain’t going to no Mets,” Ortiz said at the time.

Martinez, of course, signed with New York. Now, with Ortiz facing his own decision about his playing future, Martinez on Saturday didn’t offer a firm guess about where his former Red Sox teammate would end up.

“I have no idea, but baseball has a dark side, and that’s negotiations,” Martinez said Martinez at a HomeGoods store in Beford, Mass., where he was signing autographs to promote a holiday toy drive. “I think David is going to look for some good in his family, and I think the baseball people are going to try to look for what’s more convenient for the team and fill their pockets. And it’s sad to say it that way, but both of them have to look out for what David wants, what’s more convenient to them, and hopefully they will finish like I did, on good terms, and have a friendship relationship, and actually not to have any sour grapes after everything’s said and done.”

Pedro Martinez signs autographs at a HomeGoods in Bedford, Mass.

Martinez, 40, signed autographs for three and a half hours on Saturday, 90 minutes more than he signed up for. In exchange, fans donated two toys: one to support pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and another that went to underprivileged youth in the Dominican Republic through the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation. About 450 people came through in all.

Charity work has always been a hallmark of Martinez’s, and the decision to hold the drive was Martinez’s himself.

“Three weeks ago, he called me and said, ‘I’d really like to do a toy drive,’” said Scott Shuster, president of the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston. “It’s pretty remarkable just because he was that generous with his time.”

“I enjoyed it, because I enjoyed dealing with the people and the people here in New England, they love me and I love them,” Martinez said. “I figured Boston was a perfect place to come and do something like this and also help the kids, I love the kids.”

As respected a former player as there is, Martinez weighed on Boston’s hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager, saying he believes the new skipper will succeed.

“I think he’ll do OK,” Martinez said. “He’s experienced, he knows he has a lot of stars on that team and that he needs to keeps his composure. I think he’s going to be a role model as well, just like those players, and at the same time I think he’s going to be well respected by the players.”

Transparency and respect from his players, Martinez said, were the two things Valentine needs off the bat.

– Evan Drellich

Pedro Martinez to officially retire

Pedro Martinez said he’s planning to officially announce his retirement soon. The three-time Cy Young winner said the itch is still there to play, but he’s enjoying his home life too much.

Martinez on Saturday stayed an extra hour and a half at a Home Goods store in Bedford, Mass., to sign autographs for folks who brought toys for a holiday drive.

– Evan Drellich

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