Links 12-17-2009: More Adrian talk, more on Lackey and Cameron, and more

Adrian Gonzalez thinks he will be traded to the Red Sox in the next ten days, claims Jorge Arangure of Ken Rosenthal says that the Sox are “working hard” to land the first baseman, but the talks don’t seem to be going anywhere as of now. He suggests that Jed Hoyer wants a package including Clay Buchholz and one of Casey Kelly or Ryan Westmoreland back in any deal, and that latter demand has been a sticking point for Theo Epstein. John Tomase says that the rumors are way overblown at this point, and I think I agree that this deal may not happen until July.

The details of John Lackey’s somewhat unusual front-loaded deal: he gets a $3.5M signing bonus and $18M in 2010, followed by $15.25M in each subsequent season. Supposedly there is a clause in there protecting the Sox if a preexisting elbow condition resurfaces and causes him to miss significant playing time. The Red Sox were pleasantly surprised to find that Lackey would welcome playing for Boston, and the negotiations went really well, basically finishing in one day. The future number 40 is looking forward to playing games that matter, and winning. Far from feeling threatened, Josh Beckett is excited about the team’s improvement, though I’m sure he’ll be looking for at least 5/95 to re-sign next offseason. Video of Epstein’s comments here and Francona here.

Mike Cameron was also introduced yesterday, and he will wear number 23 with the Sox. Epstein likes Cameron offensively, as he has shown good power despite playing in spacious ballparks in the past; teams usually acquire him for his range in CF, after all. A three-time Gold Glove centerfielder, he told the Sox that he would be willing to play left field or center; that willingness went a long way towards consummating this deal. Francona and Epstein said that they will talk with both Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury in the coming weeks to figure out the outfield situation; I think it’s moving towards Ellsbury going to left. The charismatic Cameron commented that he hasn’t been this happy and excited about baseball since he came up as a rookie.

If you’re still hoping for the Red Sox to add Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, you can pretty much stop holding your breath. Not only do Theo’s comments on Bay sound pretty final, but Alex Speier writes that the Red Sox are at an all-time high in terms of payroll, and adding more salary would put them into an unfamiliar 22.5% luxury tax zone where only the dreaded Yankees have ventured. Whatever else the Sox do this offseason will most likely be in the form of a trade.

Almost every team was on hand to watch international free agent Aroldis Chapman throw on Tuesday, including two GMs, and he was very impressive. Boston has supposedly has already extended an offer worth $15.5M on the table.

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