Lowell to the Bronx not likely

Lowell to the Bronx not likely

NEW YORK -- The Yankees watched Mike Lowell's October success closely, but a push to steal the World Series MVP from the rival Red Sox may still be a long shot.

Even with Alex Rodriguez on his way back to play third base, Lowell had been a rumored Yankees target in recent days, with the idea that a four-year contract proposal might be enough to convince Lowell to spurn Boston and settle in the Bronx to play first base.

A report in The Record of Hackensack, N.J., discounted a Boston television station's claim that the Yankees were one of four teams to bid on Lowell. Citing two high-level Yankees executives, the report indicated the Yankees have not made a formal offer.

Additionally, the New York Daily News reported Saturday that any reports of a Yankees offer were "pure fantasy." In reality, Lowell has received a reported three-year contract offer worth between $35 and $45 million from the Red Sox. He is believed to covet a fourth year.

Lowell's representatives, Sam and Seth Levinson, have not returned telephone calls seeking comment, but Lowell is not letting the contractual situation muddy his offseason. On Friday, Lowell served as an honorary grand marshal in the Disney Dreams Come True parade at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.

Lowell, who will be 34 by Opening Day, is coming off an All-Star campaign in his second season with the Red Sox. In 154 games, he batted .324 with 21 home runs and 120 RBIs, helping Boston secure the American League pennant before batting .352 in the playoffs, including a home run in the fourth and deciding game of the World Series.

His career began with the Yankees, having been selected in the 20th round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft and playing eight games for New York in 1998.

But there have been concerns that Lowell's right-handed swing -- so well suited for Fenway Park's unique dimensions -- may not help him over the course of 81 home dates at Yankee Stadium. In 90 career at-bats in the Bronx, Lowell has hit just three home runs and 10 extra-base hits, while batting .278.

In addition, Lowell is a top-notch defensive third baseman who has never played first base. The Yankees already have a glut of potential Opening Day first basemen -- Jason Giambi is in the final year of a seven-year, $120 million contract, and the club also can entertain choices in Shelley Duncan, Andy Phillips and Wilson Betemit.

Hot Stove

Teams interested in Lowell could have been impacted by the Yankees' surprising turn of events with A-Rod's return. With Rodriguez no longer the top third baseman available on the market, Lowell takes on value. Potential options the Yankees might have otherwise considered, including trading for the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera, could also interest other clubs.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.