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Napoli, Sweeney and Gomes—Oh My! Red Sox Busy Making Moves This Week

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Napoli, Sweeney and Gomes—Oh My! Red Sox Busy Making Moves This Week
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Mike Napoli joins the Red Sox for three years.

The Boston Red Sox have been busy little bees this past week, making moves and striking deals to help improve the team for 2013. Here’s a look at some of those transactions.

The Red Sox…

Signed First Baseman/Catcher Mike Napoli

After a breakout 2011, Mike Napoli waned significantly in 2012—but that didn’t stop the Red Sox from giving him a three-year, $39 million contract, pending a physical, on December 3, per Boston.com.

The 2012 All-Star hit .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI last year, a notable decline from 2011, when he hit .320 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI.

Still, he helps fill a power void that troubled the Red Sox all season long—they didn’t have a single player with 30 home runs, and they ranked toward the bottom of the pack in dingers.

Though he is no Adrian Gonzalez, who was the Red Sox starting first baseman for most of 2012, Napoli will likely be the team’s primary initial sacker next year.

The inconsistent 31-year-old has the ability to perform very well—as proven by his stellar 2011—but, unfortunately for the Red Sox, that is hardly a guarantee.

Signed Outfielder Jonny Gomes

Power-hitting outfielder Jonny Gomes brings a lot of bash to the plate—despite averaging only 327 at-bats a season since 2005, he has hit at least 20 home runs three times in that span, about one home run every 19.2 at-bats.

The Red Sox like that, apparently, as they signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract on December 1, according to UPI.com.

He hits for power, he has a good throwing arm; heck, he even has a little speed. What more could you ask for?

Well, out of Gomes, quite a bit. A higher batting average would be nice; better defense overall, too. Strike out less and walk more—that sort of thing.

Though he’s not the cure to the Red Sox’s woes, he is a means to jump-start their improvement. Despite his flaws, he provides exciting power for a team that often lacked it in 2012.

Non-Tendered Pitchers Scott Atchison and Rich Hill and Outfielder Ryan Sweeney

Boston said, “See you later,” at least temporarily, to three of 2012’s solid, but not oft-used, performers on November 30, reports Boston.com.

Atchison, a relief pitcher who spent time on the 60-day disabled list last year because of a right forearm injury, was 2-1 with a 1.58 ERA in 42 relief appearances. Hill, too, did very well when he wasn’t hurt—he made only 25 relief appearances, but went 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA. Sweeney hit .260 with 19 doubles in only 63 games.

As Boston looks to rebuild for 2013, they may choose not to re-sign these players, though reports indicate they are looking to offer the two pitchers minor league contracts.

Lost Pitcher David Carpenter to Waivers

Red Sox fans may not even know 27-year-old hurler David Carpenter was with the organization, and one can see why—he didn’t pitch a single game for the team and, heck, he was with the franchise for less than two months.

Acquired from the Blue Jays with new manager John Farrell in exchange for shortstop Mike Aviles on October 21, the right-hander was 0-2 with an 8.07 ERA in 33 relief appearances for the Houston Astros and Toronto last season.

This may be a case of addition by subtraction, as the Atlanta Braves acquired him off waivers on November 30, per Boston.com.

Traded Third Baseman Danny Valencia for Cash Considerations

Perhaps another case of addition by subtraction, Boston sent Danny Valencia to the Baltimore Orioles for cold, hard cash on November 28, reports The Baltimore Sun.

The 28-year-old began his major league career with loads of promise in 2010, hitting .311 in 85 games for the Minnesota Twins and finishing third in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

He suffered a sophomore slump in 2011, hitting only .246 in 154 games, and struggled even more in 2012, batting only .188 in 44 games split between the Twins and Red Sox.

He joined the Sox on August 5 of last year and hit a meager .143 in 10 games.

Traded Pitcher Sandy Rosario for a Player to be Named Later or Cash

To the Red Sox, Sandy Rosario was purely trade bait—they acquired him just a couple of months ago off waivers and sent him to the Oakland Athletics on November 28, according to The Washington Post.

He spent most of 2012 in the minor leagues. In four games with the Miami Marlins, his ERA was 18.00.

Traded Pitcher Zach Stewart for a Player to be Named Later

In another minor trade on November 28, the Red Sox dealt pitcher Zach Stewart to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later, per the Providence Journal.

The former third-round draft pick started two games for the Red Sox last season, losing both and posting a 22.24 ERA. He began the year with the White Sox and was sent to Boston in the Kevin Youkilis trade.

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