Red Sox would “love” to have Jason Bay back

At least, this according to

Speaking at an event to honor Red Sox principal owner John Henry, who received the Woodrow Wilson Award for corporate sponsorship, team president/CEO Larry Lucchino expressed his organization’s desire to re-sign Jason Bay.

“Very much so,” Lucchino said when asked if the Red Sox wanted the outfielder back. “We’d love to have him back. He’s in many ways the personification of a player we want here.”

The Red Sox’ exclusive period to negotiate with Bay runs out at midnight Thursday.

Bay will draw plenty of interest on the open market, but the Red Sox certainly have the cash to re-sign him. It just depends on whether or not a more lucrative offer comes along and Bay bites on it. (Translation: It just depends on whether or not Bay wants to go the way of CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira and play for the Yankees next season.)

What will be interesting is whether or not he heads back to the NL on his own accord. He has proven that he can produce in either league, but usually hitters want to play in the NL because of the weaker pitching. Any number of teams could use Bay’s services, but it’ll all depend on which team will open up its wallet and which ones he feels gives him an opportunity to win.

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Bay, Red Sox break off contract talks again

For the second time this year, the Red Sox have broken off contract talks with outfielder Jason Bay, who becomes a free agent after the season.

“It’s now clear that this round of talks won’t result in a deal, either,’’ Epstein said. “As a result, we’re going to table discussions again, which once again is a mutual decision, and pick them up most likely after the season.’’

That does not necessarily mean that Bay is eager to test the free agent market. While that would likely garner him bigger offers, especially with the Yankees in need of a left fielder for 2010 and beyond, Bay said he could resume talks with the Red Sox before filing for free agency. The sides, Bay said, have made progress since they first broke off talks in spring training.

“I’m not trying to set a precedent,’’ Bay said. “Just looking for something that’s fair. Whether that’s changed over the last three months, you guys can determine that.

Ultimately I think a deal between Bay and the BoSox will eventually get done. It might drag on into the winter, but if Epstein wants him bad enough, Bay will be back patrolling left field at Fenway again next season.

But if Bay flies the coup (either to the Bronx or otherwise), I wouldn’t discount the Sox taking a look at Matt Holliday, who becomes a free agent after this season. He hasn’t hit well this season, but he would be the next best available after Bay and he’ll still be relatively young.

Again though, I think Bay will wind up back in Boston. He has dramatically upgraded his defense at Fenway and while he probably isn’t as good as he was at the start of this season, he’s a quality bat and someone the Sox can plug in the middle of their lineup for the next couple seasons and not have to worry about filling that void.

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