BOSTON -- Ben Cherington said he's maintained contact with the agents for both David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, both free agents.
"With David," said the Red Sox general manager, "in some ways it's a little bit more clear in terms of what his market could be. It's a little easier to have the conversations in the offseason and start to get into what we might be able to do. So we're starting to do that.
"I still don't know when there'll be a resolution, but there's been more dialogue because it's a little easier to frame what the market probably is."
Papelbon, meanwhile, has had some talks with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils have a four-year, 44 million offer on the table for current closer Ryan Madson, but the deal has yet to be approved by ownership, lending some to believe there's a hangup and the Phils could end up turning back to Papelbon or Heath Bell.
"With Pap, it's a little more difficult," said Cherington, "because there's obviously more options in terms of the National League and more known about what's out there.
"There's that bilateral risk. The risk for the player is that the team goes in another direction; the risk for team is that the player goes in another direction. Those things can happen fast sometimes. He doesn't owe us a call (if he's about to sign elsewhere). We don't expect that. We expect that we'll keep the door open and keep talking.
"If he gets what he wants and there's a deadline on it, he can take it (without the Sox getting a chance to match it)."
0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.
7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.
11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far.
16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions.
HOUSTON - Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.
After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.
Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.