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Yanks, BoSox interested in Mike Gonzalez

NY Post:

Is there anything the Red Sox and Yankees won't fight over? Now it's Pirates lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez.

While the Red Sox are engaged in the high stakes Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations that have to be completed by midnight Thursday, they are trying to upgrade a bullpen that needs a closer since Jonathan Papelbon is being viewed as a starter.

The Yankees, who have tried countless ways to get a dependable arm in front of Mariano Rivera since Jeff Nelson's and Mike Stanton's first tour of The Bronx, believe Gonzalez could be the guy.

The Pirates are looking for an inexpensive big bat in return for Gonzalez, who was 24-for-24 in save chances last year until tendinitis ended his season Aug. 24. He is believed to be completely healthy.

Ideally, the Pirates would like Atlanta first baseman Adam La Roche, but the Braves have Bob Wickman to close and would likely spin Gonzalez.

Enter the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Braves, who have Scott Thorman to replace La Roche, were very interested in Scott Proctor at last summer's trade deadline and haven't changed their opinion. However, since they would be giving up a 32-homer, 90 RBI bat it's likely they would want more than Proctor. Like everyone, they are high on Melky Cabrera but would the Yankees trade Proctor and Cabrera for a 28-year-old reliever who has never pitched a meaningful game after May and has spent his entire four-year career in the NL?

The Red Sox, who acquired Gonzalez from the Pirates on July 22, 2003 and dealt him back nine days later, have dangled outfielder Coco Crisp, but it is probably going to take more than that.

As for Gonzalez, an NL talent evaluator said, "He is probably what Mike Stanton and Alan Embree used to be. He is a power guy, throws 91 to 92 mph. He is a top-shelf guy."

In 54 innings this past year Gonzalez gave up 42 hits, fanned 64 and walked 31. Lefties hit .163 (7-for-43) against him, while righties batted .227 (35-for-154). He is arbitration eligible after making $347,000 last year and the Pirates believe their closer can come from a cast of young arms.