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Arbitration-Fueled Trade Speculation

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The Boston Red Sox declined to offer arbitration to free agent Catcher Doug Mirabelli... could this tip off Theo Epstein's desire to pursue Jeff Mathis as part of a package for Manny Ramirez?

Imagine Mathis - the premium young Catching prospect in baseball - spending the final two years of the bloated Jason Varitek contract as a backup working his way into the Boston lineup and the hearts of the Fenway faithful.

Mathis' defensive versatility would help when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched for the Sox, spelling the veteran Varitek. The young catcher would be under Boston's control at a pittance of a salary for the next SIX seasons

The Angels could send Mathis, Juan Rivera and Orlando Cabrera to Boston for Manny. They could also add on Chone Figgins and get Mike Lowell in the deal. Boston gets immense salary relief and some big question marks removed. The Angels get the big bat they have coveted with players whose performance can be near-replicated with in-house solutions (Napoli for Mathis, Izturis for Cabrera, Anderson/Ramirez for Rivera, McPherson/Quinlan for 3B Figgins).