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Saturday, November 9
Red Sox would need to compensate A's for Beane news services

The latest candidate for the Red Sox's general manager position: Billy Beane.

Discussions between the Red Sox and Beane are ongoing,'s Rob Neyer has learned, after the Athletics relented and finally gave permission for the Red Sox to speak with the Oakland general manager. But the teams would have to agree on a compensation package before Beane would be allowed to move to Boston.

Beane signed a three-year contract extension through 2008 last spring from owner Steve Schott, who had been reluctant to let Beane leave. According to media reports, Schott wouldn't even return phone calls from Red Sox owner John Henry for some time.

But that changed at some point last week, with Schott agreeing to at least explore the possibility of releasing Beane from his contract. If that happens, it's likely that the Red Sox will compensate the Athletics with a cash settlement and/or minor-league players, and in addition the Red Sox may agree to acquire one or more Athletics players with long-term guaranteed contracts, which would give the A's additional payroll flexibility.

A's president Michael Crowley confirmed that Beane has already spoken to the Red Sox.

"Anybody who has been in an organization as long as Billy, I'm sure his curiosity was piqued,'' Crowley told The Associated Press on Saturday night. "Boston is an attractive team with a lot of tradition.''

Beane was forced to be very creative to compete with a low payroll in Oakland. The opportunity to move from the team with the 25th highest payroll last year to baseball's second-biggest spender will be hard to turn down.

"We wanted to take the high road and give Billy the opportunity if he wanted to pursue that,'' Crowley said. "This is one of those instances that presents a real opportunity both professionally and financially, and he wanted to take a look at it.''

The A's would require some form of compensation to let him go, Crowley said without being specific.

If Beane leaves Oakland, it's likely that Paul DePodesta, the team's assistant GM since 1998, will take over as general manager. At 29, DePodesta would thus become the youngest general manager in major-league history (beating out Randy Smith, who was also 29 when he took over as GM of the Padres in 1993, by a few weeks).

The Red Sox have already interviewed Orioles adviser Mike Flanagan, Philadelphia assistant GM Mike Arbuckle, New York Mets assistant GM Jim Duquette, Cincinnati director of player personnel Leland Maddox, former Chicago White Sox general manager Ron Schueler, and Port's special assistant, Lee Thomas. Duquette is Dan Duquette's cousin.

But while the Red Sox may be getting closer to a new GM, any aspirations that Dusty Baker could come to Beantown as the new manager seemed to be dashed Saturday.

Responding to reports that the former Giants manager might head to Boston to free up current manager Grady Little for the Mariners' opening, the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox are for now sticking with Little.

"As far as I know, there's no truth to it whatsoever,'' said Red Sox assistant general manager Theo Epstein. ''We have a manager we like who won 93 games last year and is under contract for next year.''

After Seattle officially pulled out of the Baker hunt, Mariners GM Pat Gillick stirred the rumor mill be saying a mystery team was interested in Baker, a team whose manager Seattle would pursue if he was available.

Various newspapers suggested that team was the Red Sox, but Gillick told the Globe that ''there's no validity to that, at least to my knowledge.''

Little worked for Gillick when he managed Toronto's Single A team in 1985 when Gillick was GM of the Blue Jays.

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