The Boston Red Sox got the winter meetings off to a flying start yesterday by signing free-agent Mike Napoli to take over the first base chores for the team. The deal is reported to be a three-year contract for $39 million.
This seems to be the Sox plan this winter: pay a little bit more in average annual value to avoid adding extra years. Napoli had been seeking a fourth year, so it is a bit of a surprise that he signed with the Sox for three seasons. But maybe the increase in money made up for losing the fourth year.
While Napoli isn't the big splash the fans have been waiting for, he does fill multiple needs on the team at a position where the Sox have very little minor-league depth.
What else seems to be going on in Nashville?
Josh Hamilton seems to be involved in talks with multiple teams, including the Sox. This report from WEEI's Rob Bradford makes it sound as if the interest is somewhat serious, but this tweet from ESPN's Jayson Stark makes it sound like the Sox are simply keeping their toe in the water.
Realistically? The Sox are waiting for Hamilton's contract demands to drop in the amount of years. Just my speculation, but if the Sox could structure something around a three-year contract for roughly $90 million, Hamilton would become the game's highest paid player and still be in position to sign another long-term contract.
SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Sox are talking with Anibal Sanchez, and they view Kyle Lohse as a fallback option. If Sanchez sticks to his demands of 6 years and $90 million, I can't see the Sox going to that level.
How would you grade the Sox offseason so far?
The Red Sox had interest in the Mets' R.A. Dickey according to this report from ESPN's Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald until the Mets asked for Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Thanks, but no thanks. No way would the Sox trade those two prospects for a 38-year-old knuckleballer.
Susan Slusser from the San Francisco Chronicle says the Sox are one of six teams after starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
In the previous report about Hamilton, WEEI's Rob Bradford mentions that the Sox are comfortable going up to three years on Shane Victorino but are holding firm on two years with Cody Ross. Seems a little odd that the Sox would view the market that way.
Bradford also reports that the Sox are still talking to former Yankees switch-hitter Nick Swisher. Swisher fits the team in right field and in balancing their lineup. The Sox might be trying to increase the money in order to make this a three-year deal.
The Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera would be a great fix for the Sox shortstop position long-term. Alex Speier of WEEI mentions that Cabrera has a no-trade clause to the Sox, but it wouldn't stop a trade to Boston. With Terry Francona as The Tribe's skipper, I wonder if by trading Cabrera with a player like Shin-Soo Choo in a package for Clay Buchholz, one of the the Sox catchers and two prospects might get a deal done.
In this tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman, Giancarlo Stanton is still unhappy with the Marlins, and his agent won't say if he has requested a trade. This tweet from Heyman makes it sound like Stanton's feelings haven't changed since the megatrade with the Blue Jays happened.
If the Sox want to make a big splash at the winter meetings, Stanton is their guy—and the one guy that I would trade top prospects for. I believe the Sox should be all over Miami right now, something that I've made clear in the past.
If the Sox do anything today, we'll break it down for you when it happens.
Statistics used from Baseball Reference
Information used from MLB Traderumors