BOSTON (AP) – Still without a general manager, the Boston Red Sox will go to baseball’s winter meetings with the same GM-by-committee that acquired Josh Beckett last month.

“There should be a point man. I imagine it will be myself,” said adviser Bill Lajoie, who will travel to the meetings with three of Theo Epstein’s former lieutenants, Jed Hoyer, Craig Shipley and Ben Cherington. “We go day to day with our current system. It seems to be working very well. We’re pleased with the way things are going.”

The Red Sox have been without a GM since Epstein walked away from the job on Halloween.

But that hasn’t stopped the team from talking trade, landing Beckett, third baseman Mike Lowell and reliever Guillermo Mota from the Florida Marlins for prospects and discussing deals for outfielder Manny Ramirez.

More than a dozen teams have inquired about Ramirez. Talks have gotten serious with a handful of them, but Hoyer insisted that Boston isn’t willing to trade the only World Series MVP in franchise history unless the matchup is right.

“He’s still one of the top three or four hitters in baseball,” Hoyer said.

“They haven’t been able to meet the price that we would want for Manny. We’re certainly not going in with the expectation that we’re going to have to make a trade. Teams would have to step up and beat our expectations.”

Whoever’s calling the shots for the Red Sox, near the top of his agenda will be re-signing Johnny Damon. The free agent center fielder’s agent is asking for a seven-year contract worth $84 million, but the Red Sox aren’t likely to go that high or that long.

“Our priority really is to bring Johnny back,” Hoyer said.

“Of course, we’re looking at alternatives. But our goals is to have Johnny back in center field next year.”

In addition to talking with agents, Lajoie said Boston has scheduled meetings with 13 other teams.

In addition to shopping Ramirez, the Red Sox have said they would try to satisfy pitcher David Wells’ request to be traded closer to his California home.

“A 15-game (winner), left-handed pitcher, he knows he has value,” Lajoie said. “(Wells and Ramirez) will know if we make the proper effort to move them. I just have the feeling that as long as we make that effort, they will understand that and return. I don’t believe it will be a disruption.”


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