You might think the Red Sox have enough shortstops, now that they drafted Deven Marrero out of Arizona State with their first-overall pick of the 2012 draft. But, as you know, shortstops are generally terrible, and growing them at home rather than paying for a mediocre talent in a trade or over free agency is preferred. If you can stockpile lottery tickets at shortstop, then you're more likely to come away with at least one productive one. That might be why Boston is, according to Peter Abraham, close to signing Taiwanese shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo rated Lin #18 in his list of top international free agents; Lin is the lone Asian prospect, never mind Taiwanese, in the top 20. He sounds like a shortstop, based on the description given: he can hit, but not for power, is a quality baserunner, and fields his position well while showing off a strong arm.
There's plenty of room for the lefty hitter to grow, too, as he's all of 18 years old, and is just 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds. That puts him 10 pounds heavier than little old 18-year-old Jose Vinicio, but three inches shorter.
The Yankees tried to sign Lin in 2010 (as did other clubs), but he was too young to do so. While Lin, represented by Scott Boras, was reportedly offered $350,000 by New York, Boston is set to hand him a record-breaking deal. It won't be anything like the $30 million that Jorge Soler just received from the Cubs, but the rumored $2.05 million would still be tops for a Taiwanese positional import.
It's not surprising to see Boston spending on an international free agent they like, because, under the new collective bargaining agreement, international spending has been capped. That doesn't go into effect until next season, though, so the Red Sox are free to spend as much as they want this time out with no repercussions.