The Boston Globe reports that if Foulke, 34, picks up his option, he will get paid $3.75 million to pitch next season for Boston. If he doesn't, the club would pay him a $1.5 million buyout.
After recording the final out of the 2004 World Series, Foulke has battled a sore back along with injuries to both knees the last two seasons and is entering the final year of a four-year, $28 million dollar deal that included a mutual option for 2007.
Foulke was 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA and no saves in 44 games for Boston this year.
Working the phones: Epstein did not rule out the possibility of bringing slick-fielding Alex Gonzalez back, despite the fact that the shortstop has filed for free agency.
"Jed [Hoyer] had a conversation with Alex's agent earlier today and he's a free agent," Epstein said of his assistant GM's conversation with the agent for the shortstop. "He does have interest in testing the free agent waters and we would certainly have an interest in bringing Alex back at the right price. I'm sure there will be discussions ongoing but anytime a player hits free agency, he certainly has the right to sign with any club and we'll keep the dialogue ongoing and see if there's a mutual fit."
Coco on the mend: Coco Crisp continues to make progress following late-season surgery on his left thumb.
"Crisp is doing very well," Epstein said. "He met with the doctors a few weeks ago and had the cast removed. There's a follow-up appointment in December to get the pin removed from his finger, but all indications are right now that it's healing normally and is right on schedule."
Pack the sunscreen: Epstein will be leading his staff down to Naples, Fla., for next week's GM meetings. But it will hardly be all fun-in-the-sun.
"Usually you spend mornings going over roles and administration with the other GMs and the afternoons and evenings are used to meet with the other clubs, a few agents perhaps to lay foundation for future deals, trades or free-agent signings," Epstein said. "It's a lot of work, but it's usually conducted in somewhat of a relaxed atmosphere. It's good to always catch up with the other 29 GMs."
Epstein said the new collective bargaining agreement could mean more of a wait this winter for big deals.
"I think, if anything, the new collective bargaining agreement may push the calendar back a little bit where there are no limitations on signing your own players," Epstein said. "It might mean that more signings come later and more trades come later. That may or may not happen. At this point, it's too early to tell in general.
"Traditionally, the GM meetings serve as a foundation for deals that occur either in the week following the GM meetings or later in the winter. But it's unknown how the new CBA will affect the timetable."
For Epstein and his staff, next week is mostly about getting things in place for a productive offseason.
"I think a lot of teams are doing preparation work," he said. "There's been some discussion between clubs which seems to be very preliminary in nature and things will heat up as usual at the GM meetings this week."
This and that: The team also announced a restructuring of their player development and scouting operations for next season.
Gary DiSarcina has been hired as baseball operations consultant. In that role, the former Angels shortstop will assist Epstein and the baseball operations department in the areas of Major League transactions, professional and amateur player evaluation and Minor League instruction. The native of Billerica, Mass., had a career .258 batting average in 1,086 games with the California/Anaheim Angels from 1989-2000. He was a two-time team MVP and a 1995 American League All-Star.
Since retiring as an active player, he has operated the DiSarcina Baseball Academy in Billerica and served as an analyst on NESN's pregame and postgame Red Sox coverage. DiSarcina was also on the coaching staff for Team Italy in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
The Red Sox have expanded their advance scouting operation by promoting Todd Claus to the position of Major League Advance Scout. Claus, named Baseball America's 2006 Double-A Manager of the Year after guiding Portland to the Eastern League Championship, joins Dana Levangie in that role. The pair will split time handling the advance scouting duties and serving as coaching assistants to Terry Francona and the Major League staff.
Claus, who is currently managing West Oahu in the Hawaii Winter League, joined the Boston organization in 2004 as the skipper at Class A Sarasota before leading Portland to a pair of playoff appearances. Claus' replacement at Portland has not been determined.
"We're excited to have Todd and Dana serve as advance scouts," Epstein said. "We're going to do things a little bit differently this year. With both of those guys alternating, they're going to go out in the field, scout our opponent, and then stick around for the series, serving as an extra set of eyes and hands, making sure we implement the scouting report. They'll be available as an extra resource to the coaching staff during that period."
Boston also has hired four new staffers for the professional scouting department. Jaymie Bane joins the Red Sox from the Chicago White Sox, where he served as an area scout in Northern and Central Florida. Keith Champion comes to the Red Sox after 12 years with the Chicago Cubs, the last seven as special assistant to the general manager. Dave Klipstein comes on board from the Texas Rangers, where he served as central crosschecker in the amateur scouting department. Jesse Levis joins the Red Sox from the Milwaukee Brewers, where he served as an area scout in New England and the Mid-Atlantic Region.
With the restructuring of the Red Sox professional scouting department, returning scouts Galen Carr, David Howard, Gus Quattlebaum and Jerry Stephenson will concentrate on Major League coverage. In addition, Matt Mahoney, who spent 2006 as Boston's scouting and player development intern, has been hired as assistant professional scouting.
"Pro scouting is one area where you're always trying to improve," Epstein said. "There was a need for some changes. We kept those scouts who were doing a really good job and we brought in very talented scouts who hopefully will make us better as well. I think that's one area where there's so much competition that it's hard to be a great organization without excellent pro scouting. We're excited about some of our new hires and having Allard Baird's experience in managing those pro scouts should serve us very well."
The Red Sox also officially announced the promotion of Victor Rodriguez to Minor League hitting coordinator after three years as Latin American field coordinator. Rodriguez will be succeeded in that role by Jose Zapata, who will also serve as the Dominican Summer League team's manager after coming to Boston from the Florida Marlins. Pat Sandora joins the Red Sox organization as the Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator after working in the Rangers, Phillies, Brewers and Indians systems.