Sources: Red Sox not in on Joe Nathan; Still prioritizing right-handed relievers

Rob Bradford
July 29, 2013 - 2:50 pm

According to a major league source the Red Sox are not involved in talks for Texas closer Joe Nathan, who, per multiple reports, has been made available by the Rangers. The Sox are, however, prioritizing right-handed relief help, according to another industry source. Nathan is in the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Rangers, paying him $7 million this season. If the 38-year-old finishes 11 more games this season, he can void his $9 million team option for 2014. With setup man Joakim Soria serving as a potential replacement, the Rangers may be willing to part with Nathan due to a reluctance to offer the righty the qualifying offer (around $14 million) at season's end which would secure them a draft pick. Nathan entered Monday night with a 1.73 ERA and 32 saves. (Update: The Rangers reportedly are reluctant to make any major moves prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.) The Sox' quest for a right-handed relief pitcher stems from their bullpen's struggles against right-handed hitting. The Red Sox' relievers have the worst batting average against righty hitters (.264) of any bullpen in the American League. Three potential acquisitions came off the market Monday, with Houston closer Jose Veras (going to Detroit), Angels lefty Scott Downs (going to Atlanta) and White Sox set-up man Jesse Crain (going to Tampa Bay) all being dealt. According to a source, the Red Sox were not in on Veras. The Red Sox also continue to monitor the availability of Philadelphia infielder Michael Young, looking at the veteran to potentially man third base. As for potential starters (such as Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee), the asking price continues to be too high for the Red Sox, who are reluctant to take include the kind of top tier prospects that would needed to complete any such deal.