BOSTON – Bobby Valentine would “be honored” to talk more with the Boston Red Sox about their vacant managerial position.

He said Friday that he already has spoken to General Manager Ben Cherington and “I’m looking forward to having conversations, if that’s what they want to do.”

The former manager of the New York Mets and Texas Rangers said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that “I hope that there’d be a plan to give me an opportunity to meet” with the owners. reported that Valentine has met with at least one owner and will meet with others. Majority owner John Henry did not return an email Friday seeking comment. Team president and part owner Larry Lucchino and Valentine, an ESPN analyst, participated on Nov. 3 in Hartford in a program put on by the World Affairs Council on the global rise in the popularity of baseball. At the time, both said they hadn’t discussed the job with each other.

“He’s a great man and a great manager and he has a colorful and successful history, so his name inevitably comes up in this day and age,” Lucchino said.

Valentine led the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000, when they lost to the New York Yankees. He was fired by the Mets after the 2002 season. He managed in Japan from 2004-09, winning the Japan Series in 2005 with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

“I have a great job, and I wouldn’t insult my employers by saying I’m interested in another job,” Valentine said at the Hartford event two weeks ago. “I have two more years on my contract with ESPN and I’m very thankful for that.”

The Red Sox are seeking a replacement for Terry Francona, who left Sept. 30, two days after a loss in the regular-season finale left them out of the playoffs. They’ve interviewed Philadelphia bench coach Pete Mackanin, Milwaukee hitting coach Dale Sveum, Cleveland first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Toronto first-base coach Torey Lovullo and Detroit third-base coach Gene Lamont.

Sveum was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

The energetic, experienced Valentine would be a departure from that largely unproven group. Lamont is the only one of the five with full-time major league managerial experience.

The addition of Valentine to the list of candidates increases the likelihood that the Red Sox won’t announce a manager before Thanksgiving.

The Red Sox added outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and left-handed pitcher Drake Britton to their 40-man roster.

Lin started the 2011 season with the Portland Sea Dogs before getting promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. He hit a combined .245 with 28 steals.

Middlebrooks hit .302 with 18 homers and 80 RBI for the Sea Dogs, earning a late-season promotion to Pawtucket.

Britton, 22, spent the entire season with Class A Salem, going 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA.

BASEBALL PLAYERS and owners have reached a tentative verbal agreement on a five-year labor contract and hope to have a signed deal by next week.

Negotiators reached an understanding when they met late Thursday at the InterContinental O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement still was being drafted.

Under the agreement, there will be a new restraint on the amount of money a team spends each year to sign selections from the amateur draft, with teams going over a threshold being penalized with a type of luxury tax.

In addition, there will be a separate restraint on the amount of money spent to sign international amateur free agents from nations such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba. There also will be a committee established to review the system for international signings, leaving open the possibility of a new system.

As part of the deal, players and owners are agreeing to add an extra wild-card round to the playoffs. The extra round will be one game, winner take all.

TWINS: Catcher Ryan Doumit agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract.

Doumit is a career .271 hitter who can also play first base and right field. He spent seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, finishing the 2011 season with a .303 average, eight homers and 30 RBI in 77 games. He missed two months with a severely sprained ankle.

TIGERS: Catcher Gerald Laird is returning to Detroit, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract.

DODGERS: The Dodgers and Matt Kemp finalized a $160 million, eight-year contract that matches the seventh-highest deal in baseball history.

Kemp, a favorite to win the NL MVP award next week, led the league in homers (39) and RBI (126), while finishing third in batting average at .324 and stealing 40 bases.