It appears a Kevin Youkilis trade is imminent, as ESPN's Buster Olney reports that two officials involved in negotiations with the Red Sox say a deal could happen "at any time".
According to Olney, the choice for the Sox is down to the White Sox and an unnamed National League team. The Red Sox have reportedly spoken about Youkilis with the White Sox, Dodgers, Indians, Braves and Diamondbacks, among other teams, though Arizona is said to be out of the running.
There is no word as to who the Sox would receive in return.
Youkilis is hitting .225 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI, along with a .311 on-base percentage and a .359 slugging percentage. He has sat out the last two games, as manager Bobby Valentine is edging away from the Adrian Gonzalez-in-right-field experiment and has used Gonzalez at first base with rookie Will Middlebrooks in Youkilis' spot at third base. Middlebrooks, in contrast to the struggling Youkilis (.174 in June), is hitting .319 with 8 homers, 31 RBI, a .358 OBP and a .558 slugging percentage.
UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.
BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.
A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal...
...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...
have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora.
A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said.
Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.
Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.
The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.
The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.
Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:
"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."
After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.