ORLANDO -- Big deals. Small deals. In-between deals.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Tuesday he discussed all of the above, though he mentioned that all-day meetings discussing MLB topics related to the collective bargaining agreement scheduled to expire next November cut into the time spent visiting with clubs and agents.
Epstein said he had more meetings planned with teams and agents Tuesday night -- both Greg Genske, agent for Carl Crawford, and Scott Boras, agent for Jayson Werth, are in the house -- but said nothing is imminent.
Epstein said the talks he has had so far might lead to nothing “more than an exchange of ideas,’’ which is generally the case with such preliminary conversations. That’s why there was little reason to get excited about reports that the Sox had asked Arizona about outfielder Justin Upton. Kevin Towers, who was Epstein’s boss in San Diego and was just hired as Diamondbacks GM, said Tuesday that he is open to talking about anyone on his roster.
“I like the nucleus of our club,’’ Towers said, mentioning Upton as part of that nucleus. “We’re not rebuilding.’’
Epstein, who has identified rebuilding the bullpen as a priority, said there is a “good chance” the club would sign a reliever to a multiyear deal, something he has been reluctant to do in the past.
“I’m not opposed to the right multiyear deal for the right reliever,” Epstein said. “A reasonable deal that provides value to the club, and it’s a pitcher who whether with performance or stuff or command or health gives you some compelling reasons to say, this is a guy we can trust going forward.
“What we’re trying to avoid is the overreaction, the pitcher who has an up-and-down career, has one good year, and you lock yourselves into a three-year deal that … hamstrings you. That’s what you want to avoid.’’
Epstein talked Tuesday about the two potential relievers the Sox have picked up in the last few days -- left-hander Andrew Miller, acquired from the Marlins for lefty Dustin Richardson, and right-hander Taylor Buchholz, claimed on waivers from the Blue Jays.
“I haven’t talked to Buchholz yet, and spoke with Miller for just a few minutes on the phone,’’ he said. “Obviously they were both low-cost acquisitions that we’re trying to catch some upside. Buchholz had really impressive stuff and performance a couple of years ago [before undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery]. Miller’s case, the upside that made him a high first-round pick and a top prospect, we think still exists in there somewhere.
“With Miller, he’s out of options so he’s got to make the team out of spring training. We’re going to get to know him soon, probably over the next few weeks, get together and try to build a foundation physically, mentally, fundamentally to get on the same page. Build that foundation now so when we get to spring training he can go out there and perform.’’
With Buchholz, Epstein said, the team intends to make a physical assessment sometime in the next couple of weeks to determine how healthy he is in the aftermath of his surgery.