MLB Free Agents 2013: Boston Red Sox Still Aren't Contenders with Mike Napoli

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIDecember 3, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03: Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The first domino of the MLB Winter Meetings has fallen.

According to's baseball insider Jon Heyman, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign free agent catcher Mike Napoli to a three-year contract, worth $39 million:

Napoli has deal with red sox, 3 yrs, $39M

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012

The three-year term fits in well with the Red Sox new philosophy of not signing long-term, expensive contracts that could weigh them down financially, as well as on the field.

Signing Napoli, however, does not make the Boston Red Sox playoff contenders.

After finishing the 2012 season in the cellar of the AL East division, whilst trading away their star players in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Sox will need to do much more if they hope to return to the postseason in 2013.

The Red Sox still need multiple pitchers for their starting rotation, as well as at least one corner outfielder.

Guys like John Lackey, Felix Doubront and an unreliable Clay Buchholz just won't do.

In the outfield, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish won't cut it, either.

Right now, the Boston Red Sox just have too many holes in both their rotation and their starting lineup.

Adding Mike Napoli, who has hit at least 24 home runs in each of the last three seasons and was selected as an All-Star in 2012 is nice, but it simply isn't enough. Especially if Napoli ends up hitting under .240, which has been the case in two of the past three years.

While his career numbers at Fenway Park have been impressive, it is far from a guarantee that Napoli will produce at an All-Star-like clip for his three years in Boston.

Now, while it's important to recognize that this signing isn't enough on its own, credit should still be given to the Red Sox front-office team.

They are making an effort to rebuild this team, all while practicing more restraint when it comes to delving into the free agent market.

What's next for the Red Sox?

Well Jon Heyman provides us with a hint on that subject as well:

#redsox talking to swisher now. A possibility.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012