The Red Sox can remove first baseman Sean Casey from their wish list because the Reds have dealt him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-hander Dave Williams.
Casey, who grew up in a Pittsburgh suburb, will be going back home. In making the move, the Reds dumped $8.5 million in salary for next season.
At first glance, the Sox would seem to have lost out on a fine opportunity - Casey is a lifetime .305 hitter - but they had conversations with the Reds and must have decided to move in a different direction. You'd have to figure that the Red Sox could have made the Reds a better offer than Williams, who finished the season with a losing 10-11 record, a 4.41 ERA, and struck out just 88 batters in 138 2/3 innings. Hardly the kind of return that a trade of Casey, a three-time All-Star, would seem to warrant.
So the Sox will turn their attention to Lyle Overbay, Adrian Gonzalez, or some other first baseman -- likely a left handed hitter.
But John Olerud will no longer be an option either. The Red Sox announced today that Olerud is retiring after 16 Major League seasons.
The 37-year-old was a two-time All-Star ('93 & '01) a three-time Gold Glove winner ('00, '02 and '03) and won the AL batting title in 1993 with a .363 average that helped Toronto win its second consecutive World Series title.
A .295 career hitter with 255 home runs and 1,230 RBI in 2,234 games, Olerud played for Toronto (1989-96), the New York Mets (1997-99), Seattle (2000-04) and the Yankees (2004) before coming to Boston last season.
After having surgery last November to repair torn ligaments in his foot, he signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on May 1 and went from extended spring training to a minor-league rehab. In 87 games of limited action, he batted .289 and played excellent defense for the Sox.
Widely regarded as a true class act, wherever Olerud played his teammates considered to be him one of the nicest guys in the game. His quiet, steady presence will surely be missed in the Sox clubhouse next season.