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Red Sox Free Agency 2011: Sox Still In Talks With Joe Saunders, Ryan Madson

According to ESPN analyst and MLB Network Radio host Jim Bowden, the Boston Red Sox have had continuous discussions with free agent starting pitcher Joe Saunders and free agent closer Ryan Madson

In an appearance on Bowden's radio show, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged that the team has been talking with Saunders and Madson and hopes to upgrade the team's pitching staff without breaking the bank to much.

"We've had conversations with the agents for both guys as well as several other free agent options. We'll continue dialogue," said Cherington. "We don't have as much room in our payroll as we've had in previous years, but we're trying to figure out ways to improve our pitching staff. Maybe we have to be a little more creative this winter in doing that than in some other winters, but we're not ruling out anything. We'll certainly continue dialogue with a handful of free agents and then obviously also the trade front." (via ESPN Boston)

Saunders, 30, was recently non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks to make room for the newly acquired Trevor Cahill. Last season with Arizona, Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA, his lowest career ERA ever recorded. Saunders does have experience pitching in the American League with the Angels.

Madson, 31, is considered the best reliever on the free agent market, but has surprisingly drawn little interest on the open market. Madson appeals to the Red Sox after they lost closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies. Madson performed very well in his first full year as a closer, as he saved 32 games in 34 opportunities with a 2.37 ERA.

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