The rumors for both the free agency and the trade market are just getting started this offseason for the Boston Red Sox.
From the vacant first base position to two outfield spots, the Red Sox will look to fill every hole possible to make a push for postseason play in 2013.
Here are the latest free agent rumors swirling around and the chances that the Red Sox sign those players:
It is now official.
Mike Napoli is now being targeted heavily by the Red Sox.
According to reports on ESPN.com, the Red Sox are looking into Napoli's history and could see him as a fit to the everyday catching position. Yes, he could also be a possibility at first and DH, but catching is where he has thrived.
Sure, the Red Sox would have to move one of the other two catchers—Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway—but Napoli was built for Fenway Park.
Chances of signing Napoli:
Napoli has the kind of gritty attitude the Red Sox need at the catcher position. It also doesn't hurt that he kills the ball at Fenway.
Over his career, he has gone 19-for-62 with seven home runs in 72 plate appearances. Imagine playing almost 81 games a year at this ballpark?
Plus, he is only 31, so his prime years are just around the corner!
Torii Hunter is ex-teammates with David Ortiz and works out with Will Middlebrooks in the offseason. If that doesn't seem like a match made in heaven for the Red Sox, then I don't know what is.
The Dodgers aren't going to trade Andre Ethier, according to Ken Rosenthal:
#Dodgers not trading Ethier. Hunter would need to accept lesser role if he signed with team. He’s close with both Kemp and Crawford.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 10, 2012
This means Hunter would be a fourth outfielder making $10 million. That will not stand for the Dodgers and eventually the Red Sox will outbid for Hunter's services.
Chances of signing Hunter:
The Red Sox are one of few teams that have a connection with Hunter and once he declines the Dodgers' offer, his next choice will be joining Big Papi and Middlebrooks in Boston.
Sure, the New York Yankees are in on the mix, but the Red Sox can wow Hunter with a two-year contract worth $13 million per season if need be.
Anibal Sanchez pitched pretty well in his first stint with an AL team.
With a 4-6 record and a 3.74 ERA in 12 starts, the 28-year-old showed that he could hold his own.
However, his best starts came in the playoffs. He may have been 1-2 in his three games this postseason, but he only allowed four earned runs in his 20.1 innings to the tune of a 1.77 ERA. His best start came against the New York Yankees with seven innings of scoreless baseball. He allowed three hits and walked three while striking out seven.
Chances of signing Anibal Sanchez:
Sanchez is the second best pitcher on the market, but wants almost $90 million on a six-year contract. The Red Sox are better off looking at the trade market than signing this young pitcher.
If he would accept less money to be a No. 3 starter, then the Red Sox will sign him. Sanchez will likely go to another team that will pay him for the full $90 million.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox are exploring Jason Bay as a possibility for a minor league or major league invite deal.
The outfielder was recently released by the New York Mets and last played for the Red Sox in 2009, when he had the best season of his career with 36 home runs and 119 RBI.
His past three seasons with the Mets were plagued by injuries and Bay has not hit more than 12 homers or driven in higher than 57 runs in a season.
A new place to play for the 34-year-old could be an interesting storyline over the next several weeks.
Chance of signing Jason Bay:
Bay is a solid outfielder still whose swing is built for Fenway Park. Sure, he has been injured with the Mets, but a minor league deal worth about $3 million for one season may be exactly what the doctors ordered for Bay at the age of 34.
The Red Sox' bullpen needs to add some more pieces and Kyuji Fujikawa is an option who has drawn interest in recent weeks.
Kyuji Fujikawa, who was Hanshin Tigers closer is drawing interest from Red Sox. He's 32 years old.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) November 8, 2012
The closer for the Hanshin Tigers has pitched brilliantly over the past few seasons, and in 2012 he finished with a 1.32 ERA and 24 saves.
Since he is a free agent, the Red Sox would not have to post a bid for the reliever's services.
Chances of singing Kyuji Fujikawa:
With four other teams involved, it is going to be hard to really buy this reliever. Fujikawa will go to the team that offers him the most money and after shipping off a lot of their contracts, the Red Sox will not shell out a ton of money for a setup guy, since Andrew Bailey was acquired to close out games.
The Red Sox bullpen really needs help for the 2013 season and who better to help out than a former All-Star.
Joakim Soria is coming off his second Tommy John surgery since 2003, but still has been a dominant closer with the Kansas City Royals his first five years in the majors.
The Red Sox have checked in on the services of the free-agent closer:
If the Red Sox are willing to wait for the right-hander to come back from rehabbing his elbow, and if the Royals do no re-sign him, then this could mean the Red Sox will make a move towards signing him.
Chances of signing Joakim Soria:
Soria is coming off his second Tommy John surgery and the Royals are in heavy talks with the closer. He may still get save situations with the Royals, so he will accept less money to stay with his only ball club.
Sure, he may listen to offers, but he will likely stay in Kansas City.