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A week after trading away center fielder Coco Crisp, the Red Sox' efforts to move shortstop Julio Lugo have stalled.

The team had some discussions earlier this month with the Detroit Tigers , who are in the market for a shortstop. The Red Sox and Tigers had discussed the general parameters of a deal in which the Sox would send Lugo to Detroit in exchange for one of two left-handed pitchers, either Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson.

Such a swap would have exchanged similar contracts, with all three players having two years left on their current deals. Lugo is due a total of $18 million, Willis has $22 million coming and Robertson will collect $17 million.

Industry sources report that momentum for such a swap has slowed. The possibility of a deal is now considered remote.

A more likely scenario would have the Red Sox bringing Lugo to spring training and having him compete for the starting shortstop position with Jed Lowrie, who took over the job in July when Lugo went down with a quadriceps injury.

If Lugo doesn't play well enough to regain the position, the Sox could either keep him in a utility role - he has played second base before and, briefly, in the outfield - while waiting to see if a market develops due to injuries or other factors.

A number of veteran free agent shortstops are on the current free agent market, including Rafael Furcal and two former Red Sox shortstops, Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera.

Deadline nears

By Monday, the Sox must make determinations on offering salary arbitration to their own free agents. Players then have until Dec. 7 to accept or decline the offer.

The Sox have eight eligible free agents: catchers Jason Varitek and David Ross, infielder Alex Cora, outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay, reliever Mike Timlin and starters Curt Schilling, Paul Byrd and Bartolo Colon. For now, the only player the Sox intend to offer arbitration to is Varitek.

Should Varitek accept, the sides would be bound to a one-year deal, to be determined by negotiation or an arbiter. Such an arrangement would be acceptable to the Sox, since although Varitek might win a small raise over his $10 million, the club would be tied to him for just one more year.

But because Varitek is searching for a long-term deal, either with the Sox or another team, he almost certainly won't accept the offer and will continue to solicit long-term deals.

By offering arbitration, the Sox would also guarantee themselves a first-round or sandwich-round pick in the 2009 draft should Varitek, a Type A free agent, sign elsewhere. He is the lone Type A among the club's free agents.


Author:Fox Sports
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Added: November 28, 2008

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