The ball is squarely in the Red Sox's court after the Yankees' signing of Mark Teixeira. Boston remains in a standoff with agent Scott Boras regarding unsigned catcher Jason Varitek, and there's no other attractive free-agent option behind him. That could push Boston to step up its efforts to acquire Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Texas, at the cost of a young pitcher like Justin Masterson or Waubonsie Valley product Michael Bowden.
Reliever Akinori Otsuka, who sat out last season following elbow surgery, should be ready to pitch by opening day, and his two former major league clubs, the Rangers and Padres, are among those interested in signing him as a free agent.
I'd be interested in Otsuka, and while I imagine he'd prefer to play on the West Coast, the Rangers' desire to upgrade the bullpen, and their familiarity with Otsuka, could lead them to make a solid push. I suspect he'll require a major league deal, but if he comes back to close to where he was when he was with Texas, he'd be a solid signing. And the other thing to remember is that he'd still be arbitration eilgible after 2009, rather than a free agent, so if you sign Otsuka, you'd control him for two years, not just one, even if you just signed him to a one year deal.